Designated Work Groups (DWG) and Health & Safety Reps (HSR)


The directions governing the establishment of Designated Work Groups (DWGs) and election of Health and Safety Representative (HSRs) are 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 HSRs who can act as a representative of staff within that DWG on matters that may impact upon their health and/or safety.

What is a DWG?

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.  Prior to completing this form, and if you require clarification on the processes involved with forming a DWG and the subsequent appointment of HSRs, we advise that you contact OH&S and we will direct you to the appropriate Consultant to answer your questions.

NOTE:   Once a DWG has been formed, OH&S will send staff members in the DWG, a link to the "Health & Safety Representative Nomination Form", so that staff can nominate for the role of HSR or Deputy HSR, if they wish to do so.

Role of a Health and Safety Representative

Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and their deputies represent staff within a Designated Work Group (DWG). 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 conjunction with HSRs, click through for more information.

Health and Safety Representative vacancies

After the formation of a DWG
  • If there are vacancies in an established DWG, any member of the DWG, may at any time request a call for nominations by completing the HSR Vacancy Form.  This will not fill the vacancy, but will start the nomination process .
When someone resigns their position as a HSR or Deputy HSR
  • Any member of the DWG can complete the HSR Vacancy Form to start the nomination process to fill the vacant position.
What happens after the "HSR Vacancy Form" has been submitted
  • Once the form has been submitted, OH&S will manage the process of informing members in the DWG of the vacancy, and will call for nominations.  If required, OH&S will coordinate the election process.
To check if there is a vacancy in your DWG
  • To check if your DWG has any vacancies for a HSR or Deputy HSR, please check the listing in the table below.

Training needs for HSRs

  • Please refer to the online "Guide to OHS Training" for information on the relevant training required for HSRs.

Listing of Health & Safety Representatives