22 Part 7 (Section 73) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) requires employers and health and safety representatives to attempt to resolve health and safety issues at the workplace in accordance with either:
- the agreed procedure in place at the workplace; or
- the procedure as set out in this part of the Regulations (if there is no agreed procedure).
23 Parties to the resolution of issues
1. The employer must notify employees, any reps and any OHS committee:
- whether the employer will participate personally in the resolution of the issue OR nominate an employer representative; and
- the name and position of the employer rep.
2. If an issue arises before an employer rep has been notified, and the employer is not available, then the senior manager at that part of the workplace will be the employer rep for the purposes of attempting to resolve the issue. This is particularly important where 'the employer' may not be in the state, or even in the country.
3 & 4. Employees must be represented by their OHS reps. Where there are no OHS reps, they can be represented by other employees nominated for this purpose.
5. At any stage in the resolution an issue, any 'party' can seek the assistance of unions ("employee organisations") or employer organisations.
24 Procedure for reporting issues
1. An employee wanting to raise a health and safety issue must report the issue to their elected OHS rep.
2. If there is no rep, then the issue must be reported to the employer or the management rep.
3. An employee can take all reasonable steps to report an issue, including leaving their part of the workplace.
4. An employee can also report an issue to the employer or to any other person, in addition to their elected rep.
25 Procedure for resolving issues
1. The parties, being the employer or the employer rep and the elected OHS rep or nominated employee (if no rep) must meet to resolve the issue as soon as reasonably possible after it is reported.
2. In order to resolve the issue as quickly and effectively as possible, the parties must consider:
- the number and location of employees affected
- whether appropriate temporary measures are possible or desirable
- the time needed to permanently resolve the issue
- who, on behalf of the employer, will be responsible for performing and overseeing any action agreed
3. On the request of any party, details of the issue and resolution must be set out in writing by the employer.
4. As soon as possible the employer must ensure that details of any written or oral agreement be brought to the attention of the employees and the health and safety committee.
5. Any of the parties may also forwarded details to unions or the employer organisations.
Part 8 of the OHS Act goes on to state that, if the issue is not resolved, any of the parties to the process can call a WorkSafe inspector and require the inspector to visit the workplace. If an issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the elected OHS rep, then the rep also has the option of issuing a Provisional Improvement Notice.
The full text of the regulations can be viewed and downloaded from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website - click on Victorian Law Today, then on Statutory Rules, and then on "O" to find the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.
Last amended June 2017