Speaker: Mike Craig, HSR Support Officer, WorkSafe Victoria
Health and Safety Representatives – Partners in safety
We have been very pleased to welcome WorkSafe Victoria as a Corporate Member this year and now to have one of their HSR Support Officers, Mike Craig, present to us. The feeling was clearly mutual, because Mike sent a thank you note to the organisers and attendees saying "[There was] some lovely feedback from the participants and some great questions from the audience at the end. Please pass along my thanks to all and sundry."
It is clearly a topic of great interest to our membership, as there was a big turnout for this presentation. It was particulalry timely for some of those present, because they had either just conducted HSR training in their workplace or were about to do so. In fact, it was great to see some HSRs from Melbourne Polytechnic in the audience.
Mike sees HSRs as WorkSafe's eyes and ears on the ground, and so it is a three-way partnership between HSRs, the employer and the regulator. He outlined the powers of HSRs, both what they can do and what they can't do. It is important to point out that they are not a replacement for a safety professional. He made the analogy with First Aiders, who are not required to do more than they are trained to do, but are a first port of call prior to the arrival of paramedics.
One of Mike's key messages about his role as an HSR support officer is that his main purpose is to support consultation in workplaces. Indeed, with consultation and representation being principles of health and safety protection under the Act, HSRs and Health & Safety Committees are vital links in the safety chain.
Mike also mentioned a range of supports available to HSRs from WorkSafe, including a monthly newsletter to which he encourages HSRs subscribe.
Mike's talk stimulated quite a bit of discussion, which is included in the video recording.
Financial members may be interested to read a report from Professor David Caple's presentation in August 2012 What additional support can WorkSafe provide for Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs)? (log in first) to gain an historical perspective and see what progress has been made since David's review.
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