The Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 and related regulations commenced 1 January 2012. The Act has a clear objective of achieving the highest possible standards of occupational health and safety.
Note: There have been some transitional arrangements in place for specific industries which have occurred since March 2012 and which may continue over the next 12-18 months. This information will be progressively updated.
The Act includes basic principles to guide how health and safety issues should be managed. The first principle requires to achieve as far as is possible the elimination of avoidable risks and the control and mitigation of unavoidable risks to the health and safety of workers.
Two further principles promote the participation of employees and their representatives in occupational health and safety matters. They are:
That employees are entitled and should be encouraged to be represented in relation to health and safety issues. The form of that type of representation may vary from agenda items in staff, management and team meetings or the preferred representation through employee selected Health ans Safety Representatives and/or through workplace health and safety committees.
That there should be consultation and cooperation between employers and workers and associations of employers and workers to address risks to health and safety and measures that can be taken to identify, eliminate or reduce those risks.
The Act recognises and outlines the vital role Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Deputy HSRs (from 1 January 2012) play in representing the health and safety interests of workers. In all Australian jurisdictions it is widely acknowledged that HSRs can and do make a real difference in having health and safety matters addressed and therefore achieving better OHS outcomes.
To support these principles and to encourage more workers to be represented on OHS issues, the Act offers options of how workers can be represented by HSRs and Deputy HSRs, provide for the involvement of workers and their representatives in health and safety decisions, and outlines a process for the resolution of health and safety issues.
Unions NT has one work group who have also elected a HSR (Sue Earle) and Deputy HSR (Michael Haire.)
The Unions NT Health and Safety Representative Pocketbook Guide details the setting up of designated work groups, workers representation, the election of HSRs, their roles and functions, consultation on OHS matters and record keeping for the purposes of supporting HSRs to perform their functions for their work group members. The Pocketbook is available for your information at the following link. www.unionsnt.com.au and has recently been updated and published to reflect the new legislation which applies to NT industry from 1 Januuary 2012.