RMIT community

Everyone has a role to play in maintaining a safe work and learning environment at RMIT.

Here you can find out more about Health, Safety and Wellbeing training programs, and the responsibilities we all have as members of the RMIT community.

This section is informed by the RMIT Community Global System Element.

Responsibilities and accountabilities

Training competency and awareness

Quick links

Training needs analysis (Coming soon)

Induction (Coming soon)

Training records form (Coming soon)

Consultation and communication

Health & Safety Committees, HSRs & DWGs

Health and Safety Committees, HSRs and DWGs Global Process

Global Guidance Material

RMIT University recognises the important role health and safety representatives (HSRs) play in representing the health and safety interests of employees, as set out under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act). HSRs have been an important feature of occupational health and safety (OHS) in Victoria since 1985 and it is widely acknowledged that HSRs can make a real difference in having health and safety issues addressed and help achieve better health and safety outcomes.

What is an HSR?

A HSR is an employee who has been elected by the members of their Designated Work Group (DWG) to represent them, providing a way for their views and concerns about health and safety to be heard by their employer.

Who is your HSR?

For information on HSRs, First Aiders, Laser and Radiation Safety Officers, please see the RMIT HSW Organisation Listing below.

RMIT HSW Organisation Listing (Google Drive)

Designated work groups

A Designated Work Group (DWG) is an agreed or determined grouping of employees who share similar workplace health and safety interests and conditions. DWGs have been established across the University to support its geographic and operational requirements.

What you need to do

The law requires employers to consult with employees on OHS matters affecting them, and where a HSR exists, consultation must involve the HSR (with or without the employees being involved directly). An employer telling the HSR what will happen after a decision is made is not consultation.

The matters an employer must consult on are:

  • identifying and assessing hazards or risks to health and safety in the workplace
  • making decisions to control risks to health and safety in the workplace
  • changes proposed to be implemented that may affect the health and safety of employees
  • policies and procedures proposed to be introduced
  • making decisions about facilities for the welfare of employees

Therefore in consulting with a HSR an employer must:

  • Share information with the HSR about the OHS matter
    • This information should be provided in a timely way so that the HSR has adequate time to consider the matter.
  • Give the HSR a reasonable opportunity to express their views about the matter
    • HSRs should be encouraged to ask questions, raise concerns, propose options, make recommendations and be part of the problem-solving process.
  • Take the HSR's views into account
    • The views, suggestions and concerns of the HSR must be taken into account by the employer before a final decision is made.
  • Meet with the HSR to consult about the matter
    • The employer can invite the HSR to meet with them to consult about the matter, or the HSR can request a meeting with the employer.

Health and Safety Rep training

Health and Safety Reps can undertake the 5-day training course at the Victorian Trades Hall.

The general duties of a health and safety representative at RMIT include:

  • To represent fellow staff to ensure a health and safe workplace.
  • To negotiate with management in the resolution of occupational health and safety issues.
  • To monitor the implementation of published OHS Policies and Procedures.
  • To keep a record of all incidents/ accidents and near misses and ensure that the RMIT Incident Report From is completed in such events.

From January 2004, a new academic structure was introduced making it necessary to review the University’s health and safety designated work group (DWG) structure. Under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, DWGs are groups of employees at the workplace, with one member of the group elected to represent them in relation to health and safety issues. This structure forms the foundation for health and safety consultation within the legislation.

The Act legislates how DWGs must be formed and a consultation process across RMIT in early 2004 has been undertaken in line with these requirements. The next stage of the process is to ensure that where required, health and safety representatives for each DWG are elected. The Act states that:

  • Section 44 - ‘The particulars of the designated work groups are to be determined by negotiation, in accordance with section 44, between the employer and employees.’
  • Section 55(2) ‘A person shall ceases to hold office as a health and safety representative upon’ – (e) ‘the designated work group in respect of which the person was elected being varied under section 45’.

Therefore at RMIT where there has been a significant change in the composition of a DWG, an election for a health and safety representative is required.

Specified on the new DWG structure is whether there was a major change in the composition of the DWG and therefore whether there need to be a health and safety representative election for the DWG.

For further information please contact your Senior Advisor, Health and Safety in Human Resources ext 50600.

HSW Organisation Listing

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