How do I establish a Health and Safety Committee in my workplace?
A Health and Safety Representative and/or five or more workers may request that a Health and Safety Committee (HSC) be established. After this request a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) MUST establish the HSC within 2 months (Section 75 (1) - Work Health and Safety Act 2012). A PCBU may of its own initiative set up a HSC (Section 75 (2) - Work Health and Safety Act 2012). SafeWork SA, JobSafe SA and The Australian Workers' Union can assist with this process if necessary.
How often must the Health and Safety Committee meet?
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (Section 78) the Health and Safety Committee MUST meet at least once every three months or at any reasonable time at the request of at least half of the Committee Members.
What is the proportion of workers to management on the Committee?
At least half of the members of the Committee MUST be workers who are NOT nominated by the PCBU (Section 76 (4) - Work Health and Safety Act 2012).
What is the term of office for Committee members?
Similarly to a HSR, Committee members are elected for a period of three years.
Do the HSR's have to be on the HSC?
No, but the HSR's must be invited to become a Committee member if he/she consents. (Section 76 (2) - Work Health and Safety Act 2012).
What if there is a problem with establishing the HSC? Can advise be given?
Yes. If there is a problem in getting the Committee going any party may ask the Regulator (SafeWork SA) to appoint an Inspector to decide the matter (Section 76 (5) - Work Health and Safety Act 2012).
Is there training available for WHS Committee members?
Yes. JobSafe SA run Health and Safety Committee courses designed to assist Committee members to develop both the knowledge and skills to ensure the Committee operates effectively. Content includes:
· WHS Legislation
· Strategic Planning Skills for Committees
· The role and Functions of an WHS Committee
· Negotiating in Committees
· Committee Skills
SafeWork SA - www.safework.sa.gov.au
Legislation SA -www.legislation.sa.gov.au
Work Health and Safety Act 2012