Health and safety committees provide a way for managers and workers to meet regularly and discuss work health and safety issues. An effective committee, consisting of both management representatives and workers will assist the PCBU in developing and operating a safety management system.
Functions of a Health and Safety Committee:
The Health and Safety Committee has a variety of functions including:
- to facilitate co-operation between the person conducting a business or undertaking and workers in instigating, developing and carrying out measures designed to ensure the workers’ health and safety at work; and
- to assist in developing standards, rules and procedures relating to health and safety that are to be followed or complied with at the workplace; and
- any other functions prescribed by the regulations or agreed between the person conducting the business or undertaking and the committee.
The committee is there to assist the PCBU in identifying and addressing health and safety issues, but is purely advisory and is not accountable for matters, which are the responsibility of the PCBU. Committee members should ensure that the information contained within the meetings (except confidential/ personal details) are easily accessible for other workers to access and that items raised by workers are addressed at safety meetings.
Establishing a Health and Safety Committee:
A Health and Safety Representative, a prescribed number of workers (5 or more), or required by Regulations or by the initiative of the PCBU to form a health and safety committee. After this request a PCBU then has 2 months to start the process.
It is recommended that at least half the members of the Committee be non-managerial workers. A committee will not operate effectively without equal representation from both sectors. The structure of the committee should reflect the composition of the workforce it represents. Consideration should be given to different occupational groups, women and employees from non-English speaking backgrounds.
Within the worker section of the committee, it is encouraged that Health and Safety Representatives be members as they are more experienced in speaking up for other workers. Any other worker with an interest in Work Health and Safety can also ask to be included.
A Health and Safety Committee must hold a meeting at least once every three months.
Health and Safety Committee Training
Do you have a Health and Safety Committee in your workplace? How effective is it? JobSafe SA runs Health and Safety Committee courses designed to assist Committee members to develop both the knowledge and the skills to ensure the Committee operates effectively. Content includes:
- WHS Legislation & Regulations
- Strategic Planning Skills for Committees
- The role and Function of an HS Committee
- Negotiating in Committees
- Committee Skills
For further information about Committee training or any other Work Health and Safety Training contact email@example.com or phone (08) 8360 1920.
Work Health and Safety Act 2012
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012