A safe and healthy workplace is vital to all employees. But in the school environment, staff members are often exposed to hazards that could affect their physical and psychological state.
To help reduce these risks, the IEUwa places high importance on the role of the Occupational Safety and Health Representatives at each workplace.
Your Union offers practical support and advice to OSH Representatives in relation to:
Elected Safety and Health Representatives play a valuable role in improving consultation between employers and employees over Occupational Safety and Health issues. This in turn leads to a healthier, safer and more productive workplace.
Election of the Occupational Safety and Health Representative and Committees:
Your Union recommends you elect both a Representative and a Committee at your workplace to enable staff to work together to resolve issues. Elected members have legislated protections from intimidation and harrassment in performing their roles.
The Safety and Health Representative is empowered to identify events, incidents and 'systems of work' as well as the physical conditions of the workplace which are likely to endanger any employee working there.
Both teaching and non-teaching staff members can elect a Safety and Health Representative at your school. A notification for election form must first be submitted to the employer, who within 21 days of receiving the request must invite employees to appoint delegates who will participate in consultations about the election. Once the election has taken place, the person holding it should then notify the employer in writing of the outcome.
Separate roles of Representatives and Committees
Safety and Health Representatives and Safety and Health Committees have separate but complementary roles at the workplace. Where both are set up, one of the functions of the Safety and Health Representative is to refer unresolved Safety and Health issues and/or matters of policy or procedures to the Safety and Health Committee so they can be discussed in a forum.
Setting up Representatives and Committees
Safety and Health Representatives and Safety and Health Committees must be set up where an employee gives notice to the employer or, in the case of Safety and Health Committees, when the WorkSafe Western Australia Commissioner, State Mining Engineer or a regulation requires them to be established. They may also be set up when an employer chooses to do so.
Benefits of Representatives and Committees
The overall benefit of Safety and Health Representatives and Safety and Health Committees is that they may provide proactive, systematic ways for dealing with issues, rather than a reactive approach dealing with them as they arise.
More information and forms are available - click here.
Training for Safety and Health Representatives and Committees
A Safety and Health Representative has a right to choose the accredited introductory training course they wish to attend and must be provided with the appropriate time off.
The IEU recommends Representatives attend the training course provided by Unity Training Services. For more information or to enrol in a course, visit the Unity Training Services website.
After completion of the introductory training course safety and health representatives may formally request the training provider to be assessed against competency units from the Certificate III in Occupational Health and Safety.
WorkSafe is committed to educating all WA employers and employees about workplace safety. It is also their duty to ensure the laws, policies and regulations governing OSH in WA are correctly adhered to.
The WorkSafe website provides useful information about Occupational Safety and Health standards in a range of different industries, including education. For all the latest OSH information, visit WorkSafe's website.
The purpose of the OSH legislation is to ensure that employees are protected from occupational disease, illness and injury.
Safety and Health in Western Australian workplaces is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the OSH Act) and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulation 1996. It is also supported by codes of practice and guidance notes.
The Act provides for the promotion, co-ordination, administration and enforcement of Occupational Safety and Health in WA. It places particular emphasis on the prevention of accidents and injury in the workplace and assigns certain responsibilities to employers and employees.