When you’re confronted with a health or safety issue at work, you don’t have to deal with it alone.
Providing a healthy and safe workplace is the responsibility of your employer, but when an issue arises, it can be hard to know where to turn for help.
PSA/CPSU NSW Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Officer Suzanne Mathers said there are protections in place to ensure workers feel safe reporting possible dangers to colleagues.
“The WHS Act 2011 has protections for workers who raise health and safety issues,” she said. “These protections, which are found in sections 104-109 of the Act, prohibit discriminatory, coercive or misleading conduct.”
Ms Mathers said workers need to ask themselves three things when confronted with a WHS issue in the workplace:
- Have you reported the issue?
- Do you have access to your workplace WHS reporting system?
- Do you have a union Delegate or health and safety representative (HSR) you can talk to?
“You have the right, protected by law, to elect your own HSRs, who take up issues on behalf of their workmates,” she said. “And you have the right to request a health and safety committee that will meet to discuss issues brought up by workers.
“You also have the right to request that a representative represent you at WHS negotiations and meeting with employers, and you have the right to refuse work that you think could expose you to serious risk of harm.”