Workplace Health & Safety

The health and safety of students and staff is everybody's business.

The health and safety of students and staff is everybody’s business. All staff should be aware of their rights and responsibilities in this regard. The AEU also strongly encourages all workplaces to have health and safety committees and a trained, elected health and safety rep.

Election of a Workplace Health and Safety Representative

With the advent of the new Workplace Health and Safety Act 2013 some things have changed on how election processes are run. To get the process started for electing Health and Safety Reps (HSR’s) a ‘worker’ makes a request to the PCBU (Person Conducting the Business or Undertaking) and negotiations must start within 14 days to determine the number of Work Groups, HSR’s and Deputy HSR’s. How an election is conducted is decided by the Work Group and all members of the Work Group should be notified. All members of a Work Group are eligible to vote and no ballot is required unless there is more than one candidate nominating.

An elected HSR can and should request HSR training from an approved trainer such as Unions Tas HSR. Deputy HSR’s have a term of three years.

For more information on the new WHS Act and Codes of Practice go to

Unions Save Lives

Unions save lives. Organised workplaces are safer workplaces.

Unions know that workplace health and safety is the one of the biggest issues for all workers. We also know that prevention is the key.

Our focus is on making sure governments set strict health and safety laws and standards, that employers meet their obligations and that employees, and health and safety reps, understand their rights and how best to organise around health and safety at work.

Instead of raising the Federal standards to the highest levels from each State’s existing laws, the Report’s recommendations, if adopted, could strike down up to 30 years of progress.

Unions are very concerned that if the governments accept all the recommendations – ALL Australian workers will be worse off. And it’s no wonder when you consider these figures:

  • Every year it is estimated that 8,000 Australians die from a work-related injury or illness – more than four times the annual road toll.
  • In the next year, around one in every fifteen Australian workers will suffer a work-related injury or disease with 200,000 people affected seriously enough to take five or more days off work.
  • Every 2-3 minutes someone will be injured seriously enough to lodge a workers’ compensation claim.
  • The Australian economy suffers to the tune of nearly $60 billion, or 5.9% of GDP a year. Half this cost is borne by workers and their families and the remaining half by the community.

These figures highlight the enormous cost of unsafe and unhealthy workplaces to the Australian economy but more disturbing is the number of families affected every year. A strong OHS Model Law is especially important when employers have said that they put profits before safety.

“It is often suggested that OHS should be the top priority. While this is a worthy ideal every organisation should strive for, the reality is that making a profit will always be the highest priority of a business.” Australian Industry Group, Workplace Health and Safety, Autumn 2008

Don’t risk 2nd rate safety.