ASK RENATA

I have a meeting scheduled with my employer and have requested that my dHSR also attend, relying on my power to ‘seek the assistance of any person’ My employer is refusing to allow the dHSR to attend. Any advice?

Congratulations on correctly identifying that under section 58(1)(f), an HSR has the power to seek assistance from any person whenever necessary. This assistance can come from within the workplace, such as another HSR, a deputy HSR (dHSR), or an employee, or externally from someone with sufficient knowledge of occupational health and safety.

This power enables HSRs to access support in carrying out various tasks, including workplace inspections, injury and incident investigations, seeking technical advice on hazards, and effectively representing Designated Work Group members during negotiations or when completing a Provisional Improvement Notice.

Subject to the condition mentioned above regarding 'sufficient knowledge' for external persons, the HSR is empowered to choose the person who will provide assistance. In certain situations, more than one person's assistance may be necessary.

Refer to page 37 of WorkSafe's Employee Representation Guide further details. Additionally, our OHS reps and deputies webpage provides useful information.

Regarding your employer's refusal, we recommend citing the aforementioned provisions of the Act in writing to your employer. If this approach proves unsuccessful, complete a record of consultation form, and attach a screenshot of their rejection, granting them 24 hours to reconsider their stance.

If necessary, consider issuing a PIN, seeking assistance from your union, or requesting intervention from a WorkSafe Inspector. Our Resolution of issues webpage offers valuable guidance.

It's worth noting that section 69(1)(e) of our Act requires employers to ‘provide such assistance to HSRs as is necessary to exercise their powers’ (paraphrased), and under section 70, employers have obligations to persons assisting HSRs.

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