Health and safety representatives

A health and safety representative is an employee who has been elected to represent the views of employees on health and safety issues in the workplace in accordance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

They may not necessarily be PSA members although the PSA encourages members to stand for the position, expects that delegates will develop and maintain strong links with them and has a network of health and safety representatives.

The representative is required to:

  • foster positive health and safety management practices in the workplace;
  • identify and bring to the employer's attention hazards in the workplace, and discuss with the employer ways that hazards may be dealt with;
  • consult with inspectors on health and safety issues;
  • promote health and safety interests of employees, especially employees who have been harmed at work and who need assistance with rehabilitation;
  • carry out any functions referred to in a code of practice.

The Health and Safety in Employment Act applies to every workplace, employee and employer. The Act is based on principles of partnership and consultation.

  • Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Employees are encouraged to participate in decisions on health and safety.
  • Elected and trained health and safety representatives are key to a safe workplace.
  • Unions have the right to represent members on health and safety issues.

An Employee Participation system is negotiated between union and employer (a requirement for employers with more than 30 employees).

Free training for elected representatives is provided by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU).
It is the responsibility of the elected health and safety representatives and management, working together, to identify all hazards and then to manage them (i.e. eliminate, isolate or minimise the danger the hazard represents).

Delegates work with elected heath and safety representatives to enhance the health and safety of members in the workplace. To this end, delegates will

  • know who the health and safety representatives are;
  • have a copy of Employee Participation Agreement;
  • hold planned meetings with the health and safety representatives on site;
  • encourage health and safety representatives to attend workplace and enterprise delegate committees.