Employee Safety Representatives = Union business

Just like a delegate or shop steward, the role of the Employee Safety Representative (ESR) represents workers. Unlike delegates and shop stewards, not all ESR’s are union members.

In fact, many workplaces don’t have an ESR. A state WorkCover Authority estimates that only about 20% of workplaces have ESR’s. Yet the ESR is a legislated and powerful role in the workplace as a worker representative.

In Tasmania, Employee Safety Representative rights and powers include:

  • Being supplied with all information relating to health and safety in the workplace by the employer;
  • The right to be consulted about health and safety;
  • Inspecting the workplace;
  • If a rep believes that there is a situation that is an immediate risk, s/he can order a stop work;
  • If the situation is not of immediate concern, issue written notice to the employer requiring that some action be taken;
  • And the right to paid training at a course of the Employee Safety Representatives choice.

For more detail on the role and powers of Employee Safety Representatives go to Sections 27 to 32 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 and Regulations 34 to 37 of the Regulations 1998.