Safe@Work: HSR Support Officer Project

Updated 22/04/2016

Whiteboard discussionHealth and Safety Representative Support Officer Project

CPSU has been successful in obtaining funding from WorkSafe Victoria to build the capability of Health & Safety Representatives in the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Sergio Pirisi has been appointed as the Health and Safety Representative Support Officer (HSRSO) and Sergio s role is to support the expansion of the HSR network and provide information about the HSR function, training and provide access to expert OH&S knowledge.

The aims of the project are to:
  1. Establish consultative mechanisms in the workplace in order to resolve OH&S issues
  2. Promote Employee Representation (part VII of the new OH & S Act)
  3. Establish HSR networks and increase knowledge on OH&S issues,
  4. Provide access to expertise on resolving issues in the workplace,
  5. Increase HSR s skills in addressing specific hazards within their workplace,
Initially, Sergio conducted a survey targeting all DHS CPSU members and all DHS HSR s in CPSU covered workplaces. Details of all current DHS Designated Work Groups and HSR s were provided to CPSU to enable some communication with non CPSU member HSR s.

All DHS CPSU members including those in HSR roles have been advised of this project via ‚Äö?Ñ??Olive Leaf‚Äö?Ñ?? and encouraged to contact Sergio via phone or email to discuss his role and the assistance and expertise he can provide.

A similar communiqu?¬© to all DHS staff will occur in the near future via ‚Äö?Ñ??Spotlight‚Äö?Ñ??.

The DHS Employee Wellbeing Unit is working collaboratively with Sergio to support and assist his efforts, and EWU will allocate funds in 2008/09 for HSR development as part of this activity.

Health & Safety Representative Survey Results

Despite there being under representation in some DHS Business Units, the response rate was good and significant data resulted in interesting findings.

Overall DHS HSR s are a real asset to the Department, have a genuine interest in safety and care about their colleagues regardless of the many challenges they face while performing their role.

Another survey will be sent out around November this year, followed by a final one in August 2009.

This will enable me to identify the progress made before the end of this project.

  • 50% of respondents cannot identify their DWG
  • 59% of respondents are not sure if they were elected by employees of their DWG's
  • 58% of respondents identified not having enough time to perform the HSR role as the main barrier for employees becoming elected HSR s
  • 30% of respondents have identified not having enough support as the second main barrier for employees becoming elected HSR s
  • Some HSR s still not clear about their roles and responsibilities, primarily due to some lack of management support and by not been able to attend refresher training sessions
  • Some HSR s find it hard to gain any feedback from Work Health Units after they lodge and internal injury reporting form (DINMA)
  • HSR s use local OHS resources from the CPSU/VTHC, WorkSafe websites and DHS intranet
  • HSR s value union support and presence in the workplace
  • HSR s need more time, resources and support to carry out the role


Some insight into DHS s consultative structures as per the legislative requirements of part VII of the OHS Act was also provided from the survey. There seems to be a vague understanding of consultative processes in some areas of DHS.

There is a clear indication that a lot of work has to be done to involve HSR s more effectively in resolving OHS issues at the workplace.

I am in the process of sending a Capability Questionnaire to HSR s in order to further assist them in developing their skills and knowledge

Further workplace visits and meetings with HSR s and management will encourage further discussions about survey findings and will develop required strategies for improving HSR capabilities and increase and retain the number of trained HSR s at DHS.

Great need from management to support the HSR role and follow through on their recommendations and OHS reports.

OHS to continue to be an increasing priority in DHS.

All HSR s ask to participate in OHS Committees regularly in accordance with the Act.

A full quarterly report was submitted to WorkSafe and the Survey Analysis was presented and discussed with DHS managers and other relevant internal stakeholders at the April HSWCC meeting held at 50 Lonsdale St.

There was a sense of appreciation and support and I look forward working with all of you in the following months in order to make safety a priority at DHS.

The Youth Justice HSR Forum held on the 4 April was a success and it included HSR award presentations, a certificate for all HSR s and a keynote address presentation from John Merritt Executive Director for WorkSafe.

CPSU welcomes these types of initiatives and Sergio looks forward to participate in more HSR forums to be organised in other areas of DHS.

If you have any further questions or want to clarify any OHS issues do not hesitate to contact your Health and Safety Representative Support Officer by email or on 9639 1822.

Please follow the link below for some important training news for HSR s and Deputy HSR s

TRAINING NEWS .............................

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CPSU Victorian Branch Secretary

Monday, May 12, 2008

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