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The role of a Health and Safety Representative

A Health and Safety Representative (HSR) play an important part in the legislative framework for OHS in the Australian maritime industry.

Division 2 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 (OHS(MI) Act) outlines the process for the selection of HSRs, their role and their responsibilities.

HSR powers and responsibilities

The primary role of a HSR is to represent the employees in their designated work group (DWG) with their operator on matters of health and safety of those employees. In order to do this, the legislation provides the HSR with certain powers, which include:

  • inspecting a workplace
  • accompanying an investigator during an investigation
  • representing the members of their DWG in health and safety consultations with the operator
  • investigating health and safety complaints
  • initiating emergency stop-work procedures, and
  • issuing a provisional improvement notice (PIN)

The form for a PIN can be found (as form 1) in the Schedule to the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Regulations 1995. The notes to this form provide some guidance on its use.

These powers may only be exercised for the purpose of promoting and ensuring health and safety at work for the employees in their DWG.

For further guidance on the role powers and responsibilities of HSRs, refer to Health and Safety Representatives Handbook – A guide for HSRs in the Australian maritime industry.

HSR training

The OHS(MI) Act requires a HSR to undertake a course of training related to OHS that is accredited by the Seacare Authority. In order to assist HSRs to understand their training requirements, the Seacare Authority has compiled the following resources: