We received an email from our ’leadership team’ telling us not to raise OHS issues directly with our HSR, but to raise them with our team leader first, who will then decide if the HSR should be involved. Does that sound right?
In short, ‘no.’
HSRs play an important role, as established under our OHS Act, in representing DWG members and bringing issues to the attention of their employer.
The purpose of HSR powers is to:
- represent members of the DWG concerning health or safety
- monitor measures taken by the employer or employers in compliance with the OHS Act and OHS Regulations
- enquire into anything that poses, or may pose, a risk to the health or safety of members of the DWG at the workplace or workplaces
- attempt to resolve (in accordance with section 73 of the OHS Act) any issue concerning the health or safety of their DWG member
Under Regulation 24 - (r.24) Procedure for reporting issues – if a safety issue arises at a workplace and an employee wishes to raise it for resolution, the employee must report the issue to the HSR, if there is one, or to the employer, if there is no HSR (our paraphrasing). Additionally, under section 35 of our OHS Act, the employer has a duty to consult with the relevant HSR when a hazard is identified.
Either way, via section 35 of the Act, or Regulation 24, there is no way an issue or hazard arising in a DWG should not be brought to the attention of the relevant HSR. All hazards or incidents should involve consultation with the relevant HSR.
It would appear your employer’s Safety Issue Resolution Procedure conflicts with statutory requirements under both our OHS Act and OHS Regulations.
We strongly encourage you and your workmates to contact your Union who have experienced OHS Officers able to provide expertise and support.