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Free health and safety representative training

Health and safety at work law is changing from 4 April 2016. And it’s important that you know how the changes affect you and your business.

To help businesses prepare for the changes, the government is offering free transition training for existing health and safety representatives (HSRs). Safety’n Action Ltd is providing this training in collaboration with WorkSafe and MBIE, with 15,000 places available.

This transition training is:

  • free for HSRs who have already completed approved training under the current Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
  • open for registration now (external link) through training provider Safety ‘n Action Ltd
  • available from February to June 2016
  • available as an online course or as a half-day face-to-face course.

HSRs are an effective way of supporting worker participation in health and safety. The new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 strengthens the role of HSRs and provides them with new functions and powers.

This government-funded transition training is a bridging course to help trained HSRs understand the changes to their role and prepare them for the new H&S law.  

The transition training course is shorter than normal HSR training, and takes about four hours to complete. There are 12,000 places for the online course and 3,000 for face-to-face training. Face-to-face training will be held throughout the country at locations worked out to match the locations  of those registering.

If you haven’t yet been trained as an HSR, then you won’t qualify for this particular training. You can either train to be an HSR under the current law to qualify for the free transition training, or you can wait till 4 April 2016 and train as an HSR then.

Register for the HSR transition training course (external link) , or contact Safety ‘n Action by emailing or phoning 0800 222 388.

Do I need a health and safety rep?

Not necessarily. Under the new H&S law, all businesses have a duty to consult, engage and provide ways for workers to easily participate in health and safety. How you do this will depend on the needs of your business and workers, the size of your business, and the type of health and safety risks your business creates.

HSRs are one way to support and encourage worker participation. Under the new H&S law, low-risk businesses won’t have to agree to a worker request to have an HSR or a health and safety committee. However, low-risk businesses can still choose to have an HSR or committee if they want to.

Any business classed as high-risk (as defined by the Act) will need to have an HSR or committee if asked to by a worker.

The new regulations will outline in detail exactly which high-risk business sectors will be subject to this requirement.

WorkSafe (external link)  also has useful information about the new H&S law, and updates its website regularly.

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