1. Who are you? Where do you work?
My name is Brodene Wardley, and I worked on the Hamilton Mineral Sands Project in the Western Districts until 3 weeks ago (mid November) as a Crane Operator and Rep. I am now heading up to Moomba in South Australia for a few weeks where I will be operating a crane . Then as for next year, I will open that door when it gets here.
2. When did you become a safety rep? What made you take on this role?
I becamea safety rep early last year (2005): the site was new and the need for a rep was prevalent. I put my hand up and was voted in. If my next employment has room for a rep then the possibility of doing it again will always be there.
3. What training have you received?
I received the 5-day training course held in Melbourne by the CFMEU in August 2005. I found the course very informative and the teacher always was able to answer questions in laymens terms.
4. Where do you get your support?
Support comes from many areas, the other reps on the site, the union and of course WorkSafe.
The major issues we had to face on the site were working at height, which at times became a nightmare but with guidance and training both for the members and management we were able to gain a higher standard in height awareness.
Then there is the confined spaces, I feel that this will always be a contentious issue on any site unless guidelines can be set more clearly.
6. Why be a safety rep?
Being a safety rep helped me personally to gain more knowledge of hazards within the construction industry but more obviously to ensure a safer working environment for all the workforce regardless of trade.
7. What are your most satisfying accomplishments as a safety rep?
Knowing that while being a rep I have dealt with issues to the best of my ability and listened to my members needs and that during the construction phase of the project we had no major/serious LTI's and that is a big plus on any site.
8. What was your worst experience?
Everyone's a rep!! What I mean by this is that no one seems to want to do the job, but when someone does there are always people who willcriticise the way in which that person is handling the job. It is not an easy role to take on and I have found a few whingers … but the offer of the seat soon sorts them out and yes we do have to learn to take some criticism but not the cynicism that is at times portrayed.
9. What advice would you give to other safety reps?
Listen to your DWG
Always do your job to the best of your ability
Urge your workmates to work safely and to look out for each other
Gain as much information about any issue before consultation, do your homework
Hold regular toolbox meetings to allow issues to be disgussed
10. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Things are becoming tougher within all industries across Australia, The need for more reps to stand up is definitely there.
I did stand up, even though the butterflies in my gut kept wanting me to sit down. I had no idea what I was getting into other than I felt strongly enough about safety and saw the need for a safer working environment within the construction industry which is one of the most dangerous industries in the world. If I can do it, so can you!!
Marg Howard: 2011 OHS Rep of the Year
Read more about Marg Howard, HSR at Nestle Uncle Tobys and member of the NUW....read more
Glen Barber: 2010 OHS Rep of the Year
What makes Glen a great rep? What advice does he have for others?...read more
Derek Jones: 2008 OHS Rep of the Year (co-winner)
Derek Jones is one of the joint winners of the 2008 OHS Rep of the Year. We spoke with him about winning the award and some of the important lessons he has learned over his six years as an occupational health and safety rep...read more
Tarek Soueid: 2007 OHS Rep of the Year
Tarek Soueid was awarded the Health and Safety Representative of the Year for 2007....read more
Vale Bernie Banton, a true Australian hero
The tireless anti-asbestos campaigner, Bernie Banton, passed away peacefully in his sleep at 1am Tuesday November 27th, 2007. ...read more
Vale Tony Medina
A dedicated union member and organiser, Tony lost his fight with mesothelioma...read more
Pat Preston - OHS Manager CFMEU
Pat Preston, the 2005 recipient of the Award for Outstanding Leadership and Contribution to Health and Safety, is well known throughout Victoria’s construction industry as the previous Manager of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union’s OHS & Environmental Unit. ...read more
Professor Harry Glasbeek - Corporate Crime Fighter
Professor Harry Glasbeek has been described as ‘one of several almost unsung heroes of the Canadian occupational health and safety movement’....read more
Peter Gordon: Fighting for asbestos victims' rights
Peter Gordon is a Senior Partner with the well-known labour law firm Slater & Gordon, who has for over 20 years sought justice and compensation for thousands of workers exposed to the deadly fibre, asbestos. He spoke with SafetyNet about 2 asbestos-related matters that are currently engaging his attention....read more
Owen Tudor - Unions and OHS
Owen Tudor, then the director of the Occupational Health and Safety Unit at the UK Trade Union Congress was in Australia in May 2003. Owen spoke at a number of OHS related forums, including the ceremony at VTHC for International Workers Memorial Day, at the ACTU and at WorkSafe Victoria. SafetyNet asked Owen a few questions on OHS generally, and the role of reps and unions in particular....read more
"Have a Look Mate"
A previous HSR on the docks, now a WorkSafe inspector, writes about his experiences......read more