SAFE@WORK – COVID-19 - Information for HSR’s and Deputies
This information is designed to give HSR’s, Delegates and Members, a brief outline of duties and rights in relation to this health and safety risk in the workplace.
For further information, support and advice contact CPSU.
Employers have a duty of care under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees and others at the workplace.
This includes providing and maintaining a work environment and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risk to health and safety.
Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) Rights and Consultation
Health and Safety Representatives (HSR’s) have a right to be consulted when the employer is developing and implementing measures to control risks, including the risk of COVID-19
Under the Act, Employers must consult with HSRs before introducing measures or developing plans and procedures - if there are no HSRs, then the employer must consult with workers.
Check what is in place
Have you received information from your employer or the broader Victorian Public Service (VPS) as to what is already in place? If so, make sure all workers in your designated working group (DWG) are aware of what is already in place. If people are not aware of current measures in place let your employer know so that they can improve their communication methods. Check with your DWG members regarding whether they have any concerns and what these are.
Develop an OHS plan
If you or your DWG are concerned that your employer is not doing enough, you can raise this with your employer. You do not need to wait for your employer to come to you.
Request a meeting with your management health and safety representative to discuss what measures need to be implemented, when and how, or call for an urgent extraordinary meeting of the health and safety committee.
Make sure you document any agreed actions and timeframes at the meeting and inform your DWG of the outcomes from the meeting. A workplace plan should include:
- What measures are being taken to limit exposure for workers
- Continuous updates on current situation and how those will be communicated
- Appropriate hygiene measures and controls
- Social distancing and isolation policy and procedure
- Work from home arrangement where practicable
- Effective reporting processes that support and encourage workers in reporting their concerns
- Any other relevant control measures or information specific to your workplace
WorkSafe Victoria: Exposure to coronavirus in workplaces
Victorian Trades Hall Council: www.ohsrep.org.au
Australian Council of Trade Unions: https://www.actu.org.au/coronavirus
Victorian Department of Health and Human Services: About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 675 398