Health & Safety Reps (HSR) and Designated Work Groups (DWG)
Designated Work Groups
The directions governing the establishment of designated work groups (DWGs) and election of Health and Safety Representative (HSRs) is contained in the Victorian OHS Act 2004. Part 7 of the Act includes provisions for staff to establish a DWG around one or more workplaces. The purpose of a DWG is to facilitate the election of Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) who can act as a representative of staff within that DWG on matters that may impact upon their health and/or safety.
A DWG is a grouping of staff who share:
- The type of role or the nature of the work they perform;
- Areas in which each type of work is performed;
- The nature of any hazards present; or
- Shift working arrangements.
For Monash University this typically translates to:
- Business (organisational) units, e.g. academic/administrative;
- Buildings, e.g. 30 Research Way (Building 40).
To request, amend or close a DWG you can use the Formation, Amendment or Closure of DWG form.
NOTE: Once a DWG has been formed, OH&S will send members of the DWG a link to the "Health & Safety Representative Nomination Form". This form is NOT the same as a "HSR Vacancy form".
Health and Safety Representatives
Role of a Health and Safety Representative
Health and safety representatives and their deputies represent staff within a designated work group. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) gives them a range of rights when the health and safety of staff in their area may be affected.
They have the right to be consulted on:
- proposed changes in the workplace or to materials, equipment or procedures
- risk assessment of materials, equipment or procedures
- development of OHS policy and procedures
- investigation of OHS hazards and incidents
- training, instruction and information on OHS.
They also have the right to:
- direct work to stop when there is an immediate threat to health and safety
- inspect any part of the workplace after giving reasonable notice to the head of the unit or controlled entity
- attend workplace audits and inspections
- access information on workplace hazards and health and safety of staff in their area, except for medically confidential information
- use facilities and resources needed to perform their role
- issue a Professional Improvement Notice (PIN) after other issue resolution procedures have failed
- take paid leave for health and safety training.
Areas may also have Safety Officers (appointed by management) who operate in tandem with HSRs, click through for more information.
Vacancy for Health and Safety Representative
Once your DWG has been in operation and there is a vacancy for either HSRs and/or deputy HSRs, any member of the DWG may at any time request a call for nominations for the role of HSR and/or deputy HSR by completing the HSR Vacancy form.
Once notified, OH&S will manage the process of seeking nominations for any vacancies and, if necessary, managing the subsequent election process.