Workers are entitled to: 

  • elect a health and safety representative (HSR) if they wish to be represented by one 
  • request the formation of a health and safety committee 
  • cease unsafe work in certain circumstances 
  • have health and safety issues at the workplace resolved in accordance with an agreed issue resolution procedure, and 
  • not be discriminated against for raising health and safety issues. 

Health and safety representatives (HSR) 

Your workers can ask you to facilitate the election of one or more HSRs for the workplace.  

An HSR is elected by a work group (e.g. all workers in the office part of a manufacturing complex, or all people on the night shift) to represent the health and safety interests of the work group. An HSR must be a member of the work group they represent. There can be as many HSRs and deputy HSRs as needed after consultation, negotiation and agreement between you and the workers.  

You must keep a current list of all HSRs and deputy HSRs for the workplace and display a copy. A list must also be provided to the WHS regulator. 

Workers’ right to stop work

In some circumstances, workers, or their HSRs have the right to refuse to carry out or stop unsafe work. They have this right if there is a reasonable concern that the worker will be exposed to a serious risk to their health and safety from an immediate or imminent hazard. This could include exposure to the COVID-19 virus.   

In most circumstances, the HSR will need to consult with you before they direct workers to stop work.  

If a worker stops work because it is unsafe, they need to tell you as soon as possible. The worker must then be available to carry out suitable alternative work, including doing other tasks that they are trained or able to do, or performing their work from another location, such as working from home. 

Discrimination

You cannot discriminate against or disadvantage workers for raising work health and safety concerns in the workplace.  

You also cannot discriminate against or disadvantage HSRs in the workplace for performing their HSR role.  

You should encourage your workers to raise any concerns they have about work health and safety in your workplace, including in relation to the COVID-19 virus.

Workers are entitled to: 

  • elect a health and safety representative (HSR) if they wish to be represented by one 
  • request the formation of a health and safety committee 
  • cease unsafe work in certain circumstances 
  • have health and safety issues at the workplace resolved in accordance with an agreed issue resolution procedure, and 
  • not be discriminated against for raising health and safety issues. 

Health and safety representatives (HSR) 

Your workers can ask you to facilitate the election of one or more HSRs for the workplace.  

An HSR is elected by a work group (e.g. all workers in the office part of a manufacturing complex, or all people on the night shift) to represent the health and safety interests of the work group. An HSR must be a member of the work group they represent. There can be as many HSRs and deputy HSRs as needed after consultation, negotiation and agreement between you and the workers.  

You must keep a current list of all HSRs and deputy HSRs for the workplace and display a copy. A list must also be provided to the WHS regulator. 

Workers’ right to stop work

In some circumstances, workers, or their HSRs have the right to refuse to carry out or stop unsafe work. They have this right if there is a reasonable concern that the worker will be exposed to a serious risk to their health and safety from an immediate or imminent hazard. This could include exposure to the COVID-19 virus.   

In most circumstances, the HSR will need to consult with you before they direct workers to stop work.  

If a worker stops work because it is unsafe, they need to tell you as soon as possible. The worker must then be available to carry out suitable alternative work, including doing other tasks that they are trained or able to do, or performing their work from another location, such as working from home. 

Discrimination

You cannot discriminate against or disadvantage workers for raising work health and safety concerns in the workplace.  

You also cannot discriminate against or disadvantage HSRs in the workplace for performing their HSR role.  

You should encourage your workers to raise any concerns they have about work health and safety in your workplace, including in relation to the COVID-19 virus.

You are entitled to: 

  • elect a health and safety representative (HSR) if you wish to be represented by one 
  • request the formation of a health and safety committee 
  • cease unsafe work in certain circumstances 
  • have health and safety issues at the workplace resolved in accordance with an agreed issue resolution procedure, and 
  • not be discriminated against for raising health and safety issues. 

Health and safety representatives (HSR) 

You can ask your employer to facilitate the election of one or more HSRs for the workplace.  

An HSR is elected by a work group (e.g. all workers in the office part of a manufacturing complex, or all people on the night shift) to represent the health and safety interests of the work group. An HSR must be a member of the work group they represent). There can be as many HSRs and deputy HSRs as needed after consultation, negotiation and agreement between workers and the PCBU.  

Your employer must keep a current list of all HSRs and deputy HSRs for the workplace and display a copy. A list must also be provided to the WHS regulator. 

Right to stop work

In some circumstances, workers, or their HSRs have the right to refuse to carry out or stop unsafe work. They have this right if there is a reasonable concern that the worker will be exposed to a serious risk to their health and safety from an immediate or imminent hazard. This could include exposure to the COVID-19 virus.   

If you stop work because it is unsafe, you need to tell your employer as soon as possible. You must also then be available to carry out suitable alternative work, including doing other tasks that you are trained or able to do, or performing your work from another location, such as working from home. 

In most circumstances, your HSR will need to consult with your employer before they direct you to, and you can, stop work.  

Right not to be discriminated against

You should raise any concerns you have about work health and safety (WHS) in your workplace with your employer – including in relation to the COVID-19 virus. Your employer can not discriminate against or disadvantage you for raising work health and safety concerns in the workplace.  

Your employer also cannot discriminate against or disadvantage HSRs in the workplace for performing their HSR role.  

Who can help?

If you feel you have been discriminated against for raising a WHS issue, or because of your role as an HSR, please contact your WHS regulator or the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94. 

If you are a member of a trade union or employee association, they may also be able to help you.

If you feel you have been discriminated against on other grounds, you may prefer to raise your concerns with the Australian Human Rights Commission on 1300 656 419 or your relevant state or territory anti-discrimination body. 

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