FAQs for OHS Reps

Here are a range of Frequently Asked Questions of relevance to elected health and safety representatives - if you need more advice on any of these issues, then Ask Renata.

A PIN: How to use it
UPDATE: March 2020 - COVID-19 VTHC have put together 2 pro forma PINs for use over the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace.  This one...
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A death at the workplace
The death of a work colleague from an accident or disease is a tragedy. One of the most important things a union can do is...
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Can a worker be dismissed for OHS reasons?
There is nothing in OHS legislation that covers the dismissal (or 'sacking') of an employee. Warnings and dismissals are covered under the Fair Work Act...
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Consultants
The Victorian Trades Hall Council has a regularly updated "Register of consultants" who provide a range of OHS services to workplaces AND have signed the...
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DWGs - How big is too big?
There's no real answer to this, as the size of a Designated Work Group (DWG) depends on a number of work-related and worksite specific factors....
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Discrimination and harassment
.. what are they? What do these terms mean? What is discrimination? Discrimination means treating someone differently, usually less favourably, because of some personal characteristic...
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Discrimination for OHS reasons
Section 76 of the OHS Act prohibits an employer from dismissing an employee, discriminating against an employee or treating an employee less favourably because that...
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Facilities and Time Off
What is an elected OHS Rep entitled to? The Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2004 states that the employer must 69(1)(d) permit health and safety...
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Fifteen things every unionist should know about OHS
This advice is reproduced from the AMWU's OHS Manual, and we think it's excellent advice. The twin goals of a union Health & Safety Program...
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Health and Safety Committees - what is their role?
All workplaces should have a joint health and safety committee, established under Section 72 of the 2004 OHS Act. A joint committee is a useful...
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I've been given a duty statement..
..as an OHS rep. Is that right?   The answer is 'no - absolutely not'!  This also applies if your employer has 'directed' you to undertake...
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Inspectors and PINs
Under the OHS Act, an elected rep has the right to issue a person with a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) if a person is contravening...
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Issuing a PIN - how long must I wait?
Under the 2004 OHS Act, a rep can issue a PIN to the employer at any time, but there is a requirement that he or...
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Multiple reps or deputies - which is better?
What is best? Having a rep and a deputy rep or having more than one rep per designated work group? There is no 'right' answer...
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Must my employer pass on the inspector's paperwork?
Or do I have to ask? Under Part 9 of the 2004 OHS Act, any inspector who enters a workplace must give a report of...
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My PIN is cancelled - what can I do?
If a rep issues a PIN, then it's clear the OHS problem is real and not resolved using the issue resolution as per the OHS...
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OHS Rep's term of office
Can the employer decide how long a rep holds his or her position? No, Section 55 of the 2004 OHS Act now provides a term...
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OHS Reps' Right to Training FAQS
When workers are elected as health and safety representatives or deputies for their designated work groups (DWGs), it is important that they be trained so...
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Presenteeism - what is it?
What is 'presenteeism'? 'Presenteeism' is the term given when sick workers come to work, work at levels that are less than optimal, and risk infecting...
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Privacy legislation
Does it affect my rights as an OHS rep? The simple answer is NO. The rights you have under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety...
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Renegotiating DWGs - who should be involved?
Is the decision of forming another DWG or not, or changing the current DWGs, best made in collaboration with employers, employees and existing OHS rep/s?...
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Should reps be paid to be reps?
Is it appropriate for employers to pay workers/staff in their role as OHS reps? Isn't being an elected rep more or less the same as...
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Volunteers in the workplace
- are they covered by OHS Legislation? Under Victoria's OHS legislation, volunteers are NOT employees* - in fact, under the 2007 OHS Regulations, the definition...
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What if inspectors don't visit my workplace?
There are thousands of workplaces in Victoria, and only about 300 inspectors, so while WorkSafe has blitzes and inspectors have the right to visit workplaces,...
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Workers and medical appointments
Does the employer have the right to attend a medical appointment with a worker? The short answer is NO. Unions are becoming increasingly concerned with...
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