Health and safety representatives

Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) contribute to improving the safety of the offshore workforce by representing their fellow workers, understanding their health and safety concerns and assisting them to participate in decisions that affect them. Working in collaboration with their facility operator, fellow crew members and employer, a HSR helps to prevent incidents on a facility and make safety a top priority for Australia's offshore petroleum industry.

A useful tool in assisting HSRs to understand their role as it relates to the legislation is the HSR Handbook. This latest edition of the handbook has been revised and updated to provide concise and easy-to-read guidance that is of value to both new and experienced HSRs. See the latest edition here: HSR Handbook: A guide for health and safety representatives in Australia's offshore petroleum industry.

When an offshore worker is chosen by their designated offshore work group(s) to represent them as a HSR, they will be required to attend a NOPSEMA accredited HSR training course.

Clause 30 of Schedule 3 to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) states that "A health and safety representative for a designated work group must undertake a course of training relating to occupational health and safety that is accredited by NOPSEMA for the purposes of this clause."

The employer of the HSR must permit the representative to take such time off work, without loss of remuneration or other entitlements, as is necessary to undertake the training.

Accredited training providers

Training providers not listed may not be accredited and are, therefore, unable to provide training that would comply with the OPGGS Act.

Contact information:

Work Health & Safety Foundation (WHS Foundation)

Phone: (08) 9333 9999

Unity Training Services

Phone: (08) 9227 7809

Tafe Gippsland

Phone: 1300 133 717
Web: NOPSEMA Offshore Oil & Gas - Health and Safety Representative - TAFE Gippsland

Under Schedule 3, Clauses 34-38 and 44, HSRs can:

  • Inspect the workplace of members of the Designated Work Group (DWG), if there has been a recent accident or dangerous occurrence, or if there is an immediate threat of an accident or dangerous occurrence.

  • Inspect the workplace of members of the DWG at any other time, provided the operator has been given reasonable notice of the inspection.

  • Submit a request to NOPSEMA or a NOPSEMA inspector that an inspection be conducted at the workplace.

  • Accompany a NOPSEMA inspector during an OHS inspection at the workplace.

  • Represent members of the DWG in health and safety consultations with the operators or their employers, if there is no health and safety committee.

  • Examine the records of a health and safety committee, if there is one.

  • Investigate health and safety complaints by DWG members.

  • Attend any interview concerning health and safety at work between a DWG member and a NOPSEMA inspector or the operator or employer, with the consent of the DWG member.

  • Access information held by the operator or employer that relates to risks to the health and safety of any DWG member (except where an employer claims legal professional privilege).

  • Issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN).

  • Request NOPSEMA or a NOPSEMA inspector conduct an OHS inspection into a matter that is the subject of a PIN, if the notice has not been complied with within the specified period, and if an inspection has not been requested by the operator, employer or other person responsible.

  • Initiate emergency ‘stop-work’ procedures, where there is an immediate threat to the health and safety of any person and if the supervisor is unavailable.

  • Request NOPSEMA or a NOPSEMA inspector conduct an OHS inspection, if the HSR and the supervisor cannot agree on an appropriate course of action to remove a threat to health and safety.

  • Appeal to the Fair Work Commission against an inspector’s decision to vary or cancel a PIN.

  • Ask NOPSEMA to institute proceedings for offences against the legislation if proceedings have not been commenced within six months of an alleged breach.

  • Receive assistance from a consultant or provide a consultant with information if the operator or NOPSEMA has agreed in writing.

  • Request consent from an operator that a consultant accompany the HSR in an interview between a DWG member and a NOPSEMA inspector or operator.

The Powers of Health & Safety Representatives guidance note seeks to explain the powers of HSRs under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and how HSRs may exercise these powers. It also seeks to assist facility operators and employers meet their legal obligations for HSRs.

Training providers seeking accreditation

The accreditation process comprises three main elements:

  • a review of the developed training material

  • a review of the training provider's organisation and personnel structure

  • an onsite visit of the training premises.

The main elements necessary for accreditation are:

  • training course material conforms to the endorsed Course outline

  • confirmation of Registered Training Organisation (RTO) status

  • experience in OHS and training HSRs

  • knowledge of the Offshore Petroleum Industry

If the initial accreditation process is successful, there are follow up surveillance audits to provide ongoing verification.

Refresher training for HSRs

Training providers who are accredited to deliver the full course of HSR training are also eligible to seek accreditation for delivery of the annual refresher training course. The accreditation process is the same as that for the full course of training, while training material should follow the Health and Safety Representatives refresher training curriculum guideline


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