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Geofabrics Australasia Pty Ltd – Ormeau, Queensland

Health and safety representative success story: Manufacturing industry

A special thank you to the staff of Geofabrics Australasia who kindly shared their success story to encourage other workplaces to adopt genuine, proactive, transparent workplace consultation processes.

I'm Mark Price. I work for geo fabrics. I've been here about four years. Most of that time, I've been a HSR. I wanted to become a HSR to improve my awareness on, on safety and to help others to get involved into safety at geo fabrics. Uh, my role is to help resolve issues and any matters that the, the fells might not be confident, the take to management, just to help out and to get an understanding of safety around the, the workplace.

My name's David Halan and I'm the site and manufacturing manager for geo fabric, south Queensland manufacturing. Our HSR consultation structure began in 2018 with a request from employees to have HSR. At that point, the business began the journey of learning what the legislation required in order to organize how many HSR we needed. We consulted with the work groups that were naturally already here and were able to come up with a number that suited both the work groups and our rotating shift pattern. The election process began by notifying the site that an election for HSR was taking place. We were able to provide ballot box ballot papers and help in the general running of the elections while allowing them to have arm control of who was being nominated and who could be elected

My name's Sean, on the leading hand for the fabrication department and, uh, geo fabrics, HSR are a great benefit to our organization as they're a great contact point for other workers who may be less inclined to wanna raise concerns with management due to the training and extra courses they do, which are paid for by the company. They become a wealth of knowledge on legislation and safe practices, which can be incorporated into the day to day running of the departments.

I'm able to support the HSR function by providing time resources to those people in that position over time, we've also been able to develop a better rapport with them so that it's not just HSR is coming to us with problems, but we are able to go to them without potential problems and get their involvement and get them as a conduit through to the workers to understand the problems.

Uh, communication is very important. I tend to get around and ask all the areas in geo fabrics, if there is any dramas problems happening that they may want to raise at the next safety committee. But if there is an issue, I do encourage my work colleagues to come and see me and I'll document it and definitely raise it the next safety committee, or if it is serious, I'll go and see, see management and try and get something done as soon as

Possible. My name's Kowell, I've been with geo fabrics for a little over two years. My role in the company's production supervisor, and I'm also a member of the safety committee, or we find that the safety committee is really important to us at geo fabrics. Um, we encourage consultation for our HSR. We've got two HSR, um, on the committee we use utilize the HSR as a, a go between from the workforce they've. So they've got somebody that they can easily approach and raise any issues with HSR and will report any concerns or issues to the safety committee. And the safety committee evaluates our and acts on and, um, implement any decisions.

Having them represent workers in a safety committee meeting is a great benefit to the company. As a whole is a CEO down to a new employee, are all on the same page when it comes to safety onsite.

I see the benefits of HSR in the workplace as being a good tool in communicating between all levels of the organization. The HSR are able to talk to both management and workers about the issues that are occurring and be able to facilitate a practical solution to the problems we have having HSR is a good demonstration of our commitment to the workplace health and

Safety. Yeah, well, it's actually going home knowing that you've, you've actually achieved something you've you've, you've made the place a little bit safer and, and improved the, the health and wellbeing of everyone within the workplace. I enjoy, uh, resolving issues that are, uh, that are raised improving the safety culture at geo fabrics and trying to just keep everyone's awareness heightened, and everyone going goes home safe,

A person conducting a business, or undertaking has a legal duty to ensure that elected health and safety reps or HSR complete the regulator approved training required of the role within three months of being elected in Queensland. This is an initial five day course followed by a one day refresher, at least every three years. The employer's legal duty extends to allowing the HSR to attend the training in work, time, paying the training fees and any other reasonable costs associated with attending the training and providing paid work time to attend the training under the legislation, a HSR can perform the following functions relevant to their work group, inspect the workplace or part of a workplace accompanied inspector during an inspection of the workplace, be present at a health and safety related interview of a worker with that worker's consent receive information about the health and safety of their work group request assistance from any person and request the establishment of a health and safety committee under certain circumstances, elected and trained HSR also have specific powers to direct unsafe work, to stop and issue a provisional improvement notice otherwise known as a pin consultation with the employer is required before enacting either of these powers.

Usually these powers are often seen as a last resort to manage serious and imminent risk or a breach of legislation as a person conducting a business or undertaking the legislation states you must consult with HSR regarding health and safety issues, prepare and maintain a list of HSR. Provide a copy of the list to the regulator, display a copy of the list in the workplace and display a pin. As soon as practical after its issue, penalties do apply for failure to comply with these requirements.

If you need more help with HSR or workplace consultation in general, refer to the work health and safety consultation, cooperation and coordination code of practice for smaller businesses, you can also refer to the safety fundamentals toolkit on the work safe Queensland website. HSR direct is a free telephone advisory service available to elected HSR who have specific safety inquiries. HSR direct can be contacted through workplace health and safety Queensland on 1, 306 double 3, 4 1 9. The Queensland council of unions also provides HSR support service who can be If you are an employer needing assistance with setting up effective workplace consultation systems in your workplace, workplace health and safety Queensland offers the injury prevention and management IPAM program IPAM is a free advisory service provided to Queensland businesses who need assistance with their health, safety, and injury management systems. You can register for the IPAM program on the work safe Queensland website, which is work, or email direct to workplace assistance. OD gov AU.