The basis for a WHS Representative’s role
The national model for work, health & safety (WHS) legislation requires that where elected WHS Representatives are involved in communication, consultation, participation between employers and employees, problem solving & promotion of WHS.
The objective to encourage employee representatives to become engaged or involved in the strategic continual improvement process of:-
· Hazard identification
· Risk assessment
· Control which includes hazard elimination or risk reduction
Therefore it’s important to recognise that WHS Representatives play a pivotal role in the success of any short or longer term WHS improvements.
This and subsequent articles will progressively look at the responsibilities and roles of WHS Representatives.
The role of WHS Representatives (WHSR)
Hazard identification & risk assessment:-
The WHSR has a central role in facilitating & supporting the implementation of WHS in the workplace.
This can only occur if there is a common interpretation and understanding between employees and employers of hazard identification and risk assessment specific to the workplace.
Although many businesses and organisations have common hazards which provide opportunities for sharing knowledge, every business and organisation also have hazards specific or unique to their operations.
It is this uniqueness which requires WHS Representatives to be familiar with their work place and the interactions between infrastructure, methods or procedures and people. It is this quality that wherever possible requires the WHSR be elected from within their work group.