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How to unlock the health and safety representative

Andrea Fox and Johanna Sutherland from the Office of Industrial Relations discuss the legislative changes that are coming in Queensland, how we work with health and safety representatives (HSRs), as well as dispelling some common misconceptions about the role.

Andrea Fox: Hi, everyone. I'm Andrea Fox. I'm the Executive Director for Work Health and Safety Policy in the Office of Industrial Relations in Queensland.

I'd like to begin today by respectfully acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet today. We also pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

I'll tell you a little bit about my role, which is I maintain the policy and legislation for work, health and safety and electrical safety in Queensland. So that means we look after the acts, the regulations and the industry sector standing committees.

Today in this forum I'm joined by my colleague Jo.

Johanna Sutherland: Hi, I'm Johanna Sutherland. I'm the Director of Licensing and Advisory Services with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. And I've got a range of responsibilities in my role. Some of them include the development and rollout of health and safety representative training and the auditing of the quality of that training and providing support services to health and safety representatives like the HSR Direct line.

Andrea Fox: Thanks, Jo. Oh, we're going to do our best not to use acronyms today, but there might be a few that slip in. So I'll just very quickly notice them in case that happens. OIR is the Office of Industrial Relations. That's us, the regulator where we come from, the Work Health and Safety Queensland regulator. But I'll try not to use that acronym. And another common acronym that comes out of our mouths is PCBU. Jo?

Johanna Sutherland: Yes, person conducting a business or undertaking. We'll try and refer to that as an employer, but we are used to saying PCBU, that is for sure.

Andrea Fox: Today's all about health and safety representatives. This is an acronym you can use: HSRs. I guess the best place to start for people who might be watching this and don't have a lot to do with HSRs so far is Jo, what is an HSR?

Johanna Sutherland: So a HSR is a worker who's elected by their peers and they play a central role in the consultation ecosystem in a workplace. Their role is to identify health and safety issues that are raised by themselves or their workers. They negotiate and engage with the employer about those health and safety issues, and they have a range of powers under the Act that enable them to perform specific tasks in discussing health and safety issues.

Andrea Fox: And one of the things that I guess why we have so much interest in HSRs is that the Work Health and Safety Act is different to a lot of other safety acts in that a core principle of it is the need to consult with workers. You can't perform your duties in running a workplace without consultation with workers and HSRs are one of those ways that we make sure consultation with workers is happening effectively.

Johanna Sutherland: Absolutely. And that whole consultation space means that there's a range of different players that need to interact effectively together to make it work. And HSRs are one of them and health and safety representatives work really effectively with employers and workers and create safety culture. And that's what we as a regulator want to see in workplaces is not just an understanding of safety, but a culture that really supports effective health and safety practices.

Andrea Fox: And I know that we'll get into a little bit more shortly, Jo, but I know one of the issues, I guess, for people with HSRs is that they they're inevitably raising things they're concerned about. You don't always want to hear about it. But I say to people all the time that HSRs are a really valuable way of knowing what's bubbling around.

It's a touchstone, if you like, to know what's brewing, what's coming, and those kinds of work, health and safety concerns, if unaddressed in the worst instances, lead to really serious injuries or worse, which would be horrific for any workplace. But they lead to other things as well. People leave workplaces where there's unaddressed risks.

Johanna Sutherland: Absolutely. And where they don't feel valued and heard. And that's the important thing, is understanding that, you know, employers have so much to look after when they're running a business and the ability to have workers and worker representatives available to you who can give you that intel is priceless really. So yeah, we can't advocate enough for them.

Andrea Fox: Shall we talk a bit about the legal requirements for HSRs, because our Act not only provides for the role, but actually has some stipulations that you'll need to meet in having an HSR role in your workplace. The first one is around the work group formation, the HSR represents a particular work group. They don't represent the whole organisation necessarily. It depends on the size of your organisation, but they represent a work group.

So your workers and yourself as an employer will negotiate what that work group looks like. But remember to think about your HSR being effective in this role. If you're having an HSR who's trying to cover multiple shifts on the roster, if you've got an HSR who's trying to cover workplaces over a big span of area, lots of different occupational groups, it can be very difficult for that HSR to genuinely know what's happening and be able to represent, represent the other workers. So that's one thing I'd really like to note.

The second one is that HSRs don't come about informally. They have to come about through an election, and that's because that role has to be a representative role. It's not by accident that that is in the title of it. So, the election process Jo?

Johanna Sutherland: Yeah, it's not a complex process. So when we talk about elections, it's easy to think that's going to be a really overwhelming thing to do. But it's not, you know, it's emails out, it's getting people to nominate and then asking the workers either in a face to face forum like a meeting or via email, Who do you think is going to be the best person to represent you and your health and safety issues in the workplace?

Andrea Fox: The other element I'd like to talk about is training. Training is mandatory for your HSR and the more you learn about what you do with an HSR, the more you'll understand why that training is so important. So the initial training course that you have to attend, it's a five day course.

Another requirement to be aware of is that when you attend that training is an HSR, you have the right to be paid for that time as per your normal work. Your course will also be paid for and any reasonable costs associated with it. And your boss has to make you available for that time to be able to go and get to that training.

So, other responsibilities that the boss has to you as an HSR in order for you to perform the role. One of them is that they need to make sure that you've got some resources in order to do your role. Are you going to need a phone? Do you need access to a desk? Are there particular training courses that you might need to do in order to learn more about the risks that your work group's exposed to? Your boss would have to pay for that course for you to go and do that. They also need to make sure you've got time in your work week to actually, to actually fulfill the role of being an HSR and get those types of tasks done.

And, if one of our inspectors comes to your workplace, then your boss also needs to make sure that you're available to go and talk to the inspector and accompany them if it's something about your work group or your workspace that they're looking at there in terms of risks.

Jo, let's talk about, those are the responsibilities that are in the Act to make sure the HSR role exists and functions. But let's talk about a bit more about what the HSR does according to the legislation, because it's a really powerful role.

Johanna Sutherland: Exactly. And quite an exciting role for people to be involved in in the workplace. So health and safety reps represent the workers either in their work group or in the entire business if it's a smaller business and there's no work groups.

One of those things is inspecting the workplace or any part of the workplace in which a worker in their work group, or if they're representing the entire workplace, any part of that workplace, to ensure that the risk controls in place are sufficient and are managing risk effectively.

They can, as Andrea alluded to earlier, accompany an inspector when the inspector comes on site during an inspection of the workplace, and they can also be present at an interview between workers, groups of workers or an inspector or an employer, with the consent of the other workers that are there. So they're a key role in providing that support to workers as they are interviewed in relation to any matter relating to health and safety in that workplace.

They can also request the establishment of a health and safety committee, which is an excellent thing to have in the workplace anyway. So it's a key way that HSRs can really push forward with building that consultation framework within their workplace.

They can also receive information relating to health and safety of other workers within the work group from the PCBU. So they need to be informed about any information that can help them more effectively understand the health and safety risks in that workplace.

And they can also request the assistance of people to help them, and particularly union representatives at time fulfill a really important role to HSRs when they're undertaking their role.

Andrea Fox: And not just union representatives. You might at times need a technical expert there as well. So you might be calling an engineer. You might be calling an occupational hygienist if you're worried about dust in the air. You might be talking to people who are able to translate elements for others, for providing translation services and so.

Johanna Sutherland: Absolutely.

Andrea Fox: The bit that people talk about a lot, both from employers' perspective and HSRs is the provisional improvement notice.

Johanna Sutherland: Indeed, indeed. So HSRs have two pretty clear powers that they have in order to fulfill their role and these powers are used when the negotiation and the consultation process is not being as effective as it should be.

And the first of those is the ability to write a provisional improvement notice. An improvement notice is a flagging for the employer that there's an issue that needs to be resolved and it gives a clear direction to the employer about what they need to do to address a particular risk in the workplace. Now, a provisional improvement notice is a very serious notice, but what we find is it gives the HSR the ability to negotiate to a point and then say it's time now, we need to take this very seriously, particularly if there's some sort of imminent risk to workers in the workplace.

The second thing that they're able to do is to direct workers to cease work. So they can issue a direction of cease work. And that is in situations where there is immediate or imminent risk to workers while they're carrying out their role.

Andrea Fox: So you can see HSRs are a very powerful role. And we as a regulator are very interested in HSRs being used more to their optimal levels and seeing a bigger uptake of HSRs.

Last year, you might know, there was a review of our Work Health and Safety Act. It was undertaken by a panel of three independent reviewers and among, they listened to submissions from a wide range of people, us, the department, the regulator. We were one of the people making submissions, but so were employers and so were worker representatives, so were WHS experts out there.

Among the themes that they drew in terms of conclusions after that review was that the HSR role needs more protection and it needs more boosting to ensure that what exists as a really good role in the Act, actually gets to function as it's intended.

So a bunch of recommendations that came out of that review are going to be about legislative amendments for HSRs, and that's why we like to talk about next year is probably the year of HSRs.

I'm going to run through some of those highlights now in terms of legislative changes coming. One of them is that we'd like to see a greater uptake in HSRs out in workplaces, inspectors can't be on every workplace all the time. HSRs are our best link, as I said, to that kind of health safety culture that Jo was talking about. So a recommendation that's come out is just simply that employers will talk to their workforce and let them know, they'll have an obligation to let them know that such a function exists and they are entitled to take it up if they would like to look at that.

A second function we're looking at is streamlining processes for negotiation and dispute resolution around work groups. As I mentioned before, there are different angles that have to be negotiated in forming work groups. But what we don't want to do is see people who are enthusiastic about starting this process and see them get lost in a dispute. So, there's going to be a streamlined process for that, that negotiation will be able to be resolved a lot quicker if you're not able to resolve it on a workplace.

A third recommendation is that the HSRs are going to be formally informed of when inspectors are on site because one of the things we'd really like to see is that when inspectors come on site, they get to know who the HSR is. They get to talk to them and get to hear about, what does this work group look at? What's everybody done on site to manage particular risks? Which risks are they aware of? What things are at the time kind of being worked through? We'd like to see a lot more of that connection happening between us as a regulator and people on workplaces.

Another recommendation that comes out of this review is that it will clarify, HSRs are intended to be able to pick their trainer. There is at times confusion around this because it does happen in negotiation with your employer. But an HSR should actually be picking the trainer for this. It's a worker representative role. So we want workers to feel they got the best trainer that they could for giving them that training to become a good representative.

There's lots of skills involved in being a worker representative. Things like being able to listen to workers, things like being able to engender trust with them, having the confidence to go out and advocate for people, to raise things, to face sometimes difficult negotiations, to be able to stay calm through those processes, to be resilient in the face of what will often be conflict around these sorts of things. So, an HSR is supposed to be able to choose their own trainer for that.

Another element is that we're reducing the time frame for when you get an HSR and when you need to get that training happen to them. Because as Jo was talking about, the HSR has these really powerful roles and responsibilities. They need to be trained to do it. So what we don't want to have is an HSR elected onsite who drifts for months without actually getting that training so that they lose steam on their role or find themselves making mistakes with their role and then don't feel that they're successful in it. And we've also reduced the timeframe for refresher training.

There's a couple of recommendations that help HSRs be able to do their role better. Cease work directions will be able to be given to an employer by an HSR. That means that the two of you as the employer and the HSR are much more connected about what's happening on a workplace where risks have really become of great concern to your workforce and how you're going to go about resolving it.

We've reduced the time for compliance with provisional improvement notices where that's happening, we've reduced the time for review of that. Again, all these things about making sure that things keep moving, that we don't find things drift and stall and lose momentum and energy.

We've also going to be seeing an improvement or a strengthening in the legislation around discriminatory conduct. This element really saddens me about HSRs, but we do hear situations where somebody takes on the role of HSR and starts actively working in the role, doing their bit. It does take a bit of energy and a bit of gumption from an HSR and then we find they start to use their role and then find themselves getting put on less shifts or they feel like they weren't in the running for a promotion. They're no longer seen as kind of one of the team players.

So an important part of this Act is if we're asking workers to really stick their necks out and advocate for things around safety with us collectively as a community, we need to protect them. So discriminatory conduct is a big part of it.

Johanna Sutherland: And I think that leads on to some of the challenges that HSRs have in doing their role. I mean, we touched on the fact that it's a big role. It's an important role in the workplace. But there are a lot of challenges that come from being a HSR, and we tap in through a range of different ways to understand what's happening out there. And some of the things that we've become aware of are a reluctance of workers to be HSRs, which Andrea's already touched on.

We're really trying to promote HSRs, obviously, we're here talking about them today and we want to really be able to highlight the benefits that come out of this. It's not only an opportunity in the workplace at the time, but it also is a future opportunity and gives the ability to do training and things that can really send you on a greater career path in the health and safety space, if that is something that you're interested in.

Some of the other things that we see is, and this is unfortunate, is a lack of support for HSRs and Andrea touched on some of the things that we're trying to do as a regulator to bolster that. But the reality is a HSR can only be effective if they're supported by the employer and by a broader consultation group or mechanism within that workplace. So, as you'll see from all of the recommendations that have just, Andrea has just gone through, they're all focused on promoting the HSR and creating an environment where employees and HSRs will work together to achieve good safety outcomes in the workplace. So employer attitudes to HSRs is wrapped up in that.

Ineffectual election processes. Unfortunately, we have a lot of employer selected HSRs. And that's hard because even if that person is sent to training, they're not actually a HSR. A HSR is only able to be a valid HSR if there is a documented election process that shows that their workers chose them. So that's a really important thing.

Andrea Fox: Don't miss that step.

Johanna Sutherland: No, please don't. And as I said earlier, it's not hard. You know, literally write some names, stick them in a hat. As long as the names come from the workers, that's the key thing, is they're the ones that nominate the people they want to represent them.

So, and then the one that I think Andrea has touched on several times, which is the determination of work groups. That's a real challenge. You know, when we look at different types of industry, healthcare, construction, where there's multiple players and quite diverse roles, it's really important that the formation of those work groups is effective, that we don't get bogged down in the negotiation around it and that the HSRs are set up to be able to actually genuinely help their work group.

Andrea Fox: There's a few common misconceptions or myths about HSRs that we see floating around. One of them and I've had this personally raised with me by employers is yes, it's great. We also think that there should be some health and safety representation amongst the workers. In fact, we've got this thing set up called a WHS advisor or a chief or a champion or something like that. They can't be your HSR because as we've been talking about in this, or they're not a substitute for the HSR I should say.

As we've been talking about, this role, it's enshrined in the legislation. It has a lot of rights and responsibilities associated with it. It's really positioned to make a real difference to health and safety outcomes. And critical to that is that this role actually represents their work group, that the workers are the ones who chose this person and who have a good enough relationship with them to feel comfortable raising their concerns and risks with this person. If that person is not the HSR, then you're not getting the value out of an HSR and neither are the workers.

Johanna Sutherland: Yeah.

Andrea Fox: So there is no substitute for it. You can't have. You can? Yeah. You can have these other roles in your workplace and they can do functions but they're not an HSR.

Johanna Sutherland: And they're important too. I mean, we look, even in our, in the regulations, we've got health and safety officers, and you can have safety advisors and a range of those things. And when we talked earlier about that safety consultation ecosystem, these are all really important players, but a really key voice is the voice of the worker. Because if all of the voices are coming from the employer, there's some really key messages that are not getting heard.

And as we talked about earlier, they will know things that you don't know. They will identify things that you're not aware of. Little minutia within processes that could be unsafe or could be dealt with better from a risk control perspective. So take the opportunity to use that knowledge that they have because it is absolute gold dust for businesses.

Andrea Fox: This is an excellent point. So another concern we hear sometimes from employers is we've tried the HSRs at our workplace, but we've got a dud. This HSR's got a real attitude problem. To which I would say, I pick up on that point that Jo was just talking about, you're going to be coming from different perspectives at times. You're going to have different focuses at times. You're going to have different priorities at times. It's natural that the HSR role and yourself will have moments of tension. There will be difficult conversations. That is what we experience ourselves in management positions in the regulator as well with HSRs. That tension's natural. That's not something to be afraid of.

And as Jo said, those difficult conversations are an excellent way to find out about not just risks you weren't aware of, but do things happen differently when you're not on site? When you're working somewhere else, do some other things happen? Have there been problems where your customers are behaving in ways that are really inappropriate with your staff and forming some kind of risk for your staff?

You want to know about those things before they blow up into something that ends up in a commission or ends up in somebody really injured or ends up with somebody harassed. So the fact that your HSR raises difficult conversations and it becomes difficult at times, I would see that is actually a sign that probably you've got something that can work quite productively here. It takes everybody leaning in with skills about how to work through conflict negotiation effectively. But the fact that an HSR isn't always making your life easy is probably a good sign.

And then I guess the flip side of that problem is we hear the myth of, around HSRs, it's great, we've got an HSR. I work really well with Jo, so I've made Jo the HSR, the workers like her as well. She has the interest and the time. So just to remember again.

Johanna Sutherland: The election.

Andrea Fox: She may end up being the HSR. But she has to go through an election process. The workers have to decide it, not you.

So a common question I guess that HSRs will have Jo is, I'm an HSR now. I'm working in this workplace. I'm working through things. Things are going okay. When things are not going okay or when I'm not always sure of what's happening, that I need to do in my role, when's the appropriate time to call in a regulator?

Johanna Sutherland: Absolutely. And that's when we talk about sort of safety concerns versus safety issues. So when there's the normal tension going on in the workplace and normal conversations, that's talking about concerns. When it becomes an issue is when we can't get past that negotiation stage to resolution.

And the regs set out some clear standards. In an ideal environment, that workplace will have their own processes for issue resolution. And you guys will engage with the health and safety committee or a range of other people within the workplace to move through that issue resolution. If the workplace doesn't have one, there is a default issue resolution procedure in the regulations and that would be what would be used in that situation.

And what's important to remember is that there's a range of parties to an issue. So the employer, workers, HSRs, maybe some safety advisors and any of those people can have a representative come and assist them in that issue resolution process. And that's really key. You know, there's a range of skills that people have and they bring those skills to that resolution process and that makes it hopefully effective. So you try that.

If that issue resolution process is unsuccessful, so you don't get an outcome that everyone's happy with, then the next step would be to contact the regulator and request for an inspector to come out, attend the workplace and assist in the resolution of that issue. And our inspectors are very good at doing that. It's part of what they do every day. That request doesn't stop the HSR from issuing a provisional improvement notice, directing cease work activity. They continue to do what they need to do. They don't have to stop and wait for that inspector or that inspector's decision.

Likewise, if the inspector comes in and it's something they can't make a decision on, you know, there are some issues, particularly in the psychosocial space, that are really challenging to unpack. So it might be that the inspector can't come to a resolution in a period of time that meets the needs of the business. So if they haven't been able to come to a resolution within 24 hours, the matter can then be referred to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and they will…

Andrea Fox: So I'll just note one element of what Jo is talking about here, which is really important, is that what you'll see come out of that review of the WHS Act is that, there's another acronym I should have spoken about at the beginning, Work Health and Safety Act, is a complete streamlining of this process. So where you're getting bogged down in complex issue resolution, if it is something like psychosocial hazards or bullying or such, you'll be able to go directly to the commission for those sorts of things and get an answer from people with expertise, quickly.

So one of the things we're really interested in, is as much as possible, moments of tension and conflict will come up in the work health and safety space. But what we want to do is make it easier for everyone to keep things moving, to get decisions, outcomes, things settled, people feeling safe again and back working. So a lot of what you'll see come out of that review. Stay tuned for that. Maybe we'll have another panel on that one. Is the streamlining of issue resolution.

Johanna Sutherland: Yeah. And that has come about obviously acknowledging that inspectors are fabulous, but there are those issues that they simply can't resolve within the workplace quickly like that. And so it needs to go to a broader authority.

So some other questions.

Andrea Fox: I guess is, when do I write a PIN as an HSR? A provisional improvement notice is all about improvement. So, there's two things you really need to be sure of when you're an HSR using a PIN or wanting to use your PIN powers.

The first one is, you need to have a reasonable belief that somebody has breached our Act or is continuing to breach, is likely to continue to breach our Act. So that's number one. So you want something improved, you want something changed, you want to be compliant with safety.

And the second thing is you have to have consulted with people and tried to resolve that. If through that consultation, when you've raised it, alerted them to this problem and talked to them about improving that, if that then is not going anywhere, you've got the two ingredients for a PIN and it's an excellent tool for that, for that stage.

If you're concerned at all when you're writing a PIN and you're getting worried about it, one of the things I would say is, you can just also make a complaint to us as a regulator and say, I'd actually like someone else to come in and handle this now, an inspector. So please keep that in mind as well. And that's not antagonism towards an employer. That's simply saying, we need a regulator in here now, there's work, health and safety concerns that we're not getting resolved. Let's get somebody in.

Johanna Sutherland: Yeah, and writing a PIN can be quite a confronting thing to do. And we know when you're looking at legislation and how do I write this, how do I write that? So sometimes it's also just, I did my training a fair while ago. I can't quite remember the ins and outs of writing this PIN. I'm going to go straight to the regulator and see if they can assist.

Andrea Fox: Yeah. Now, Jo, we touched on a little bit before, but another common question I guess you might have as an HSR around training is, is it appropriate for me to go to my union's training course for this?

Johanna Sutherland: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, as we touched on before, there is a range of different unique things about different workplaces, construction, industrial, healthcare. Union RTOs develop training, and that's part of my role is looking at training and training quality. They're able to deliver the training specific to workers in that particular industry. They're heavily invested in positive outcomes, and they're also very, very good at skilling HSRs to negotiate effectively.

And that's the tough stuff. You know, you've got an issue. It's like any workplace issue that you want to raise, you know, you know what it is. How do you put it out there? How do you not offend? How do you start from a really consultative perspective? Those sorts of things are really, really important to gather as skills through the training.

Andrea Fox: Part of the work in getting HSRs operating more effectively definitely comes down to us as a department, as a regulator, the Office of Industrial Relations. So I would like to bring to your attention something that you'll see shortly in our space, which is we've been developing a strategy which is designed to support better worker consultation, particularly including HSRs, and that it runs for three years for us as a regulator. So it's guiding us and our focus in this area.

And there's three things that we will really be giving very strong attention to that are described in the strategy. And the first one is we're a regulator, enforcing compliance and investigating serious contraventions under these parts of the Act that talk about worker consultation and HSRs.

The second one is being able to educate employers more on their legal obligations. These things are not nice to have. They're required by our legislation.

And the third one is doing even more work in the space of deterring discriminatory, coercive and misleading conduct towards HSRs. As I was saying before, it's heartbreaking to hear people put themselves up for these roles, start doing them, and then find themselves being mistreated because of it.

The strategy is going to focus on a number of additional actions for us. Did you want to describe some of those Jo?

Johanna Sutherland: Sure. So there is a huge focus on supporting HSRs to understand their legal rights, powers and the functions that they can use. We are very, very keen to look at other opportunities for providing professional development to HSRs.

That initial training is fabulous. It's five days, but you're a HSR for three years and we really want to give opportunities for you to tap in, particularly on the hazard areas that are most relevant to your work environment. So that's key to this strategy.

Part of that involves also reviewing the training content that we currently have, making sure it is fit for the needs of HSRs and is dynamic. Five days is a long time to be in training. Health and safety legislation can be tough to get through at times, so we want it to be as interesting and as engaging as we can. So that is a big part of the strategy as well.

And key, I think, to the entire strategy is building trusted relationships between HSRs and employers, really advocating for how effective that relationship can be in achieving really good safety outcomes in workplaces.

Andrea Fox: Agreed, agreed.

Johanna Sutherland: So OIR supports HSRs in a range of different ways. One of them is through the HSR Direct line, which is a line that's developed specifically for elected HSRs to access and you'll speak, if you call that line, you'll speak to trained advisors that can give you advice broadly on anything to do with our legislation, regulations, Act, codes of practice.

So if it's, you know, is this risk control sufficient, that sort of stuff, they can talk about that, but they can also give you advice on your powers as a HSR and our other contact points can provide the same advice for employers as well. If you want to know as an employer, what do I have to do to run an election? Our general lines which you can access through our website, will also put you on to advisors that can provide that advice to employers.

Andrea Fox: Thanks Jo. One of the other things that we provide as a regulator for HSRs, is we fund an HSR support service that's run out of the Queensland Council of Unions and they offer confidential support to worker representatives, to HSRs, but they'll also offer it to employers if you want to contact them to talk about more about understanding how the HSR role works and whether you're meeting all the obligations that you need to do. They have a website and a Facebook discussion group as well that your HSR can join and do a bit of peer support, talk to other HSRs about how they're resolving things and what elements are coming out.

Johanna Sutherland: And when we talk about employers as well, we have a HSR notification portal which is available on our, in our online services section of the WorkSafe website. That is a really super easy way for employers to notify us of HSRs. One of the employer obligations is that you tell us when you elect a HSR or a deputy HSR and the portal is a really easy way for you to do that. And it also gives HSRs the ability to receive information from us as the regulator, but also from the support service, which is a great tool for them.

So we really hope that we've been able to really highlight the importance of health and safety representatives in workplaces in Queensland.

Andrea Fox: And how important HSRs are to us as the regulator. We can't be in every workplace all the time, so HSRs are a critical part of delivering safety.

Johanna Sutherland: All of the information that we talked about today and a whole pile more is available on our website, the WorkSafe website. So there's resources there for HSRs, employers, a whole pile of different information around key hazard areas that we've got at the moment.

Andrea Fox: Silica, psychosocial hazards. Yeah.

Johanna Sutherland: So please take advantage of the information that's available on that website.

Andrea Fox: Thank you for your time today and tuning in to listen. If you're a worker and you're interested in the HSR role, I congratulate you on that. That's a very generous thing to do for your workplace and for the community. We all care about work, work, health and safety.

If you're an HSR in this role, then I hope it's going well for you, I encourage you to lean into those resources that we were talking about today. I don't want you to be doing this feeling alone.

And finally, if you're an employer, thank you for listening to this and taking the time with this. Not only is this a legal obligation for you to ensure that health and safety is achieved in your workplace, but it's a moral one as well. We all want to see people leave the workplace safely at the end of the day and go back to the people they love.

Johanna Sutherland: Absolutely. So thanks everyone. And remember, work safe, home safe.