If you want to be able to use the functions and powers available to HSRs under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA), such as Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs) or cease unsafe work, you need to be trained.
What is a Health and Safety Representative?
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015(external link) (HSWA) and the Health and Safety at Work (Worker Engagement, Participation and Representation) Regulations 2016(external link) (the Regulations), to be a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) you must be a worker who has been formally elected by the members of your work group to represent them on health and safety matters. The election process must follow the steps required by law.
For further information, see:
- HSR election process
- Health and safety representatives under HSWA
- Requirements for Health and Safety Representatives and Health and Safety Committees
A trained HSR has special powers
After an HSR has been elected they can carry out HSR functions. However, only an HSR who has successfully completed initial training can issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) or direct unsafe work to cease. If you want to have these special powers you must attend the training described below.
I am a new or untrained HSR – how do I get trained?
The Regulations say that an HSR must complete initial training to be considered a trained HSR.
Completing initial training means achieving New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) unit standard 29315: Describe the role and functions of the Health and Safety Representative in a New Zealand workplace.(external link)
Only training that leads to the achievement of NZQA unit standard 29315 meets the requirements for initial training. Only training providers with approval from NZQA can teach this unit standard.
When you are choosing a training opportunity, consult with your PCBU about the timing, location and cost of training.
Once you have achieved this unit standard, you will be considered trained and able to issue a PIN or order unsafe work to cease.
Your PCBU must comply with legal requirements relating to your rights to request and attend health and safety training.
Once you have completed initial training, you may exercise all the HSR powers under the Act. You can later attend additional training, using your annual HSR training entitlement.
This entitlement allows you to attend training about workplace health and safety, or an aspect of workplace health and safety, that comes under the occupational health and safety subfield of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, or that you and your PCBU agree is relevant to the HSR role.
Do I need to have training?
Only HSRs who have successfully completed initial training can issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) or tell workers to cease unsafe work.
Training introduces HSRs to HSWA and other legal concepts. It also covers other knowledge and skills HSRs need so that they can represent workers effectively.
Trained HSRs know about health and safety. They are aware of the rights and responsibilities of everyone in the workplace.
An HSR who has not attended training can still carry out HSR functions. However, they cannot issue a PIN or direct unsafe work to cease.
I’m an HSR – what's my entitlement for paid training leave?
HSWA requires the PCBU to allow each HSR up to two days' paid leave a year to attend health and safety training.
The total number of days' paid leave that a PCBU is required to allow for health and safety training is capped by HSWA. It is based on the number of workers in the business at a specified date in the year.
Who pays for training?
The PCBU must pay training fees and reasonable costs associated with attending training (for example, any travel costs).
I have been elected as an HSR and was trained under the previous law – what do I need to do?
If you were trained under the previous Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and want to be considered trained under HSWA, you will need to update your training by achieving NZQA unit standard 29315.
Once you have met the initial training requirement (achieved the unit standard) you will be eligible to attend additional training using your annual HSR training entitlement.