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The role of your health and safety representative

Workplace health and safety representative

In New Zealand, safety representatives play an important role in promoting and ensuring workplace health and safety. They act as a liaison between workers and management to identify and address safety concerns, monitor compliance with safety regulations, and promote a safe working environment. Here are some key points about safety representatives in New Zealand:

Legal Framework: Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA), workers have the right to participate in health and safety matters, and safety representatives are one way to exercise that right.

Role and Responsibilities: Safety representatives are elected or appointed by workers in a workplace, and their primary responsibility is to represent workers' interests in health and safety matters. Some of their key responsibilities include:

  • Investigating workplace hazards and incidents.

  • Consulting with workers and management on health and safety issues.

  • Assisting with the development and review of health and safety

  • policies and procedures.

  • Attending health and safety training.

  • Participating in workplace inspections and audits.

  • Advocating for improvements in workplace health and safety practices.

Election or Appointment: The process of electing or appointing safety representatives can vary depending on the workplace. In some cases, representatives are elected by the workers themselves, while in others, they may be appointed by a trade union or agreed upon by both workers and management. Votes can be conducted by a show of hands, or by a ballot system if this is requested by one of your team.

Powers and Rights: Safety representatives have certain powers and rights to carry out their role effectively. They can enter and inspect workplaces, investigate incidents, consult with workers and management, and receive information relevant to health and safety. They also have the right to be consulted on any proposed changes to work practices or procedures that may affect health and safety.

Training and Support: To fulfill their role effectively, safety representatives are entitled to training and support. This may include training on health and safety laws, hazard identification, risk assessment, incident investigation, and communication skills. Workers' representatives can also seek advice from agencies such as WorkSafe New Zealand, which is the government agency responsible for workplace health and safety.

It's important to note that the specific details and requirements regarding safety representatives can vary depending on the industry, workplace size, and collective agreements. If you have any questions relating to your business, or would like some guidance, feel free to reach out, and one of our team would love to point you in the right


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