What is HSR training? Put simply, HSR training refers to the legal regulator approved training to get health and safety representatives up to speed with the most current requirements for workplace health and safety in Australia.
If you’ve recently entered the workforce within a dangerous, higher-risk profession, it’s more than likely you’ll encounter a health and safety representative (HSR). However, an HSR can be present in any profession. The HSR or health and safety representative operates within a working group elected to represent all the health and safety interests of the group. HSRs need to be knowledgeable and dependable regarding any information regarding safety within a workplace.
HSRs play a significant role in any workplace, and the position carries powers, functions and responsibilities outlined in the Work Safety Act. But there are a few steps that need to be taken before one can become an HSR, so if you’re curious about precisely what is HSR Training, or questions about the role itself, Leading Safety Training is here to outline everything you need to know.
What Is the Role of the HSR?
The role of the health and safety representative is wide-ranging. In most instances, they are bound to the work health and safety standards set out nationally; however, these are not mandatory obligations for the HSR. The primary roles and functions of the health and safety representative are as follows:
- Represent the workers in their group for all work health and safety issues.
- Observe, monitor and review all measures taken by the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to comply with work health and safety laws applicable to the HSRs group members.
- Listen to, investigate and follow up complaints from workgroup members about work health and safety.
- Look out for risks to the work health and safety of your workgroup that may occur as part of business operations.
How Does One Become an HSR?
Any workgroup can elect an HSR. However, there are a few things that should be considered. The first step is training. What is HSR training, you ask? It comprises a five-day program that outlines, develops and assesses an individual’s ability within the HSR role. A typical course that SafeWork approves will look like the following:
Day 1– Interpreting the Work Health Safety legislative framework and how it applies to your workplace. Including identifying key parties involved within each organisation, what and where their obligations lie, and respective health and safety duties.
Day 2– Establishing representation in the workplace. This stage identifies the key parties or bodies involved in each workplace and how they are responsible for work health and safety, including the roles and requirements of HSRs and other broader health and safety committees.
Day 3– How to engage in effective consultation with workers and appropriate bodies. This stage will outline to the prospective HSR how to effectively manage any negotiation, communication, conflict resolution, and general contributions to minimising risks in the workplace.
Day 4– Monitoring PCBU’s management of work health and safety risks. One of the critical responsibilities of the HSR is to examine and raise unsafe work practices so the PCBU ensures they are up to standard. This stage will cover risk management procedures, including inspections and effective incident reporting and investigation.
Day 5– Guide to issuing Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs). These notices indicate that the HSR believes there has been a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act in the workplace.
Prior to attending this course, the HSR nominates for the position and asks the PCBU for an election. After delineating the workgroups that the elected HSR will represent, workers are notified of the election, and the prospective HSR can be elected into the role. If successful, the name of the HSR must be communicated to both SafeWork and the PCBU.
Is HSR Training Mandatory?
The relationship between the PCBU and the elected HSR must be reciprocal in any workplace. While PCBUs have an obligation to provide workers with a safe workplace, HSRs play an essential role in working with PCBUs to help to keep workplaces safe. As such, there are mutual obligations between parties. An elected HSR is entitled to attend a SafeWork approved training course. The PCBU must allow the HSR to participate in a training course within three months of requesting one. However, if there is no request lodged in NSW, there is no legal requirement for an HSR to attend training.
Whilst HSR training may not be mandatory, many legal bodies strongly recommend it for the sole purpose of guiding HSRs through effective health and safety management which is a benefit for any workplace.
What Can a Health and Safety Representative Do?
Once elected, an HSR has new rights to conduct the following within a workplace:
- Conduct an inspection of the workplace after providing notice to the PCBU.
- Immediate inspections may also occur if there is an incident or situation involving an immediate and grave risk to work health and safety.
- Attend interviews between members of the represented workgroup members and SafeWork inspectors or with the PCBU.
- Accompany a SafeWork inspector when reviewing a section of the workplace that the HSRs workgroup conducts work.
- Demand a workgroup member cease unsafe work or issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) to a PCBU.
Responsibilities of Others to HSRs
PCBUs have certain obligations to the HSR. This includes paid time off normal work duties to complete:
- An accredited HSR course.
- Workplace inspections.
- Interviews about the safety of a workgroup member with other workers, the PCBU or a SafeWork representative.
- Listings of all HSRs and Deputy HSRs (if applicable) for all workgroups.
- Consultations with the HSR about implementing any workplace changes that could impact the work health and safety of the employees.
Get the Most Effective HSR Training with Leading Safety Training
By now, you should have a fair idea of exactly what is HSR training. And whilst it may not be a mandatory course, it is highly recommended that the elected HSRs in any workplace commit to a representative training course like the extensive course offered at Leading Safety Training. Leading Safety’s 5 Day Health and Safety Representative Training is fully SafeWork NSW approved and promotes the development of a diligent representative. Over five days, the representative will come to an understanding of what are HSR functions and powers, the expectations of the role, and develop the crucial knowledge needed to succeed in the role. For bookings, give us a call on (02) 4382 3055 or contact us online.