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Health and Safety Representative Support Officers (HSRSOs)

The OHS Act 2004 recognises the important role that Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) play in representing the health and safety interests of employees. Indeed, HSRs have been an important feature of OHS in Victoria since 1985 and it is widely acknowledged that HSRs can make a real difference in having OHS issues addressed and can help achieve better health and safety outcomes.

The OHS Act 2004 provides HSRs with powers, protections and entitlements to assist with their role.

WorkSafe states firmly in their policy position paper on HSRs that HSRs should be encouraged, supported and protected. WorkSafe further believes that there should be more HSRs and that the establishment of designated work groups and the election of HSRs should be encouraged.

This is in line with the objects of the OHS Act 2004.

As WorkSafe continues to work in a proactive and innovative manner in supporting HSRs it is important to acknowledge the work of HSRSOs (and how easily that rolls off the tongue)!

WorkSafe currently employs two HSRSOs who have both previously been HSRs in industry and can advise and assist HSRs by:
  • clarifying the interpretation and use of Part 7 (Representation of Employees) of the OHS Act;
  • meeting with HSR's onsite or offsite;
  • accompanying an inspector (where appropriate); and
  • helping employers to understand their obligations to HSR's.

Although the HSRSOs are not appointed inspectors and cannot make determinations they are likely to be welcomed by HSRs as a useful resource that can supplement the learnings from both the HSR Initial OHS and Refresher training courses.

The HSRSO's also produce a regular HSR Newsletter. This can be subscribed to by filling in your details via the link to WorkSafe's subscriptions page
https://comms.worksafe.vic.gov.au/link/id/zzzz5c198c95b472b847/page.html?prompt=1&

What may also be of interest to HSRs and managers who work with HSRs is the fact that the back catalogue of HSR Newsletters can be accessed via
https://comms.worksafe.vic.gov.au/hsr-archive

HSRSO's are available via phone, email and face-to-face where necessary. You can contact an HSR Support Officer by emailing HSRSO@worksafe.vic.gov.au

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