Health and Safety Representative Conference: practical and popular
THE annual Unions Tas/WorkSafe Tasmania Health and Safety Representative Conference was on recently. Attending were 130 Southern Health and Safety Representatives, including 11 CPSU Members and Delegates.
Workshops included topics such as
• workplace diversity and how it affects Workplace Health and Safety (WHS)
• Increasing worker participation around psychosocial hazards
• Behaviour based systems for managing WHS
• Consultation doesn’t happen by accident – a report to SafeWork SA on successful consultation about WHS
• A new program developed by WorkSafe called “Better Work Tasmanian – Working together to create Healthier, Safer Workplaces. For details click here. www.worksafe.tas.gov.au/betterwork
Reps could attend a number of practical workshops such as:
• Developing the skills to organise workers around the prevention of workplace bullying
• What are the indicators of Behaviour Based System in your workplace
• What is the meaning of consultation and how can it be achieved.
Tasmania Health Organisation South Health and Safety Rep (HSR) Leanne Adams, who’s a Senior Technical Officer in the cryogenics laboratory, attended the conference as well as other WorkSafe Tasmania seminars.
Areas like mental health and bullying were of particular interest to Leanne.
The sessions really brought home how big of an issues mental health and bullying are in the workplace. “They are often neglected,” Leanne said. “Also, the reporting around these issues isn’t very user friendly.
“I’ve attended the HSR conference for the last few years. As the years go on, there’s more and more of a focus on mental health – there’s obviously a need for this training.”
As a HSR for about five years now, Leanne says it’s often a challenging but crucial role.
“I’m in the role because I really believe and want to contribute to a healthy workplace.
“Often one of the biggest issues is managers saying they can’t put something in place because they can’t afford it. My first response to that is “can you afford not to?” Often the real cost of the injury or illness far greater than fixing or preventing a problem in the first place.
“The workplace bullying workshop was very well attended, which show that it’s out there in workplaces and often isn’t being dealt with correctly.
After the attending the conference and WorkSafe and Beyond Blue sessions, Leanne is keen on setting up a system Relationships Australia uses for bullying, which incorporates a buddy system.
In her area at the Royal Hobart Hospital there are six HSRs.
The CPSU’s Angela Ames attended and ran a session at the conference. “I had the pleasure of spending the day sitting at a table with three active CPSU Members, all who take an active role in the Health and Safety of their workplace,” Angela said.
“During these sessions it was great to see CPSU Delegates taking centre stage when talking about what they are doing in their workplace to prevent workplace bullying.”