Employee Engagement, Participation and Representation in Health and Safety Policy
Responsibility for policy: Health, Safety and Wellness Manager
Approving authority: Vice-Chancellor
Last reviewed: December 2016
Next review date: December 2021
- This policy applies to all staff of the University of Waikato.
- The purpose of this policy is to
- promote continuous improvement in health and safety through cooperation and collaboration between the University, its employees and their representatives
- establish an agreed system for effective employee engagement in matters relating to health and safety at work through direct participation or representation
- set out the process for the election of Health and Safety Representatives and define their functions and powers
- specify the functions of the various health and safety forums.
- The following documents set out further information relevant to this policy:
- In this policy:
approved training course means in the first instance NZQA unit standard 29315: Describe the role and functions of the Health and Safety Representative in a New Zealand workplace and subsequently other agreed training relevant to the Health and Safety Representative role
staff member means “worker” as defined by the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, including employees of the University, employees of a controlled entity of the University, Council members, independent contractors or consultants engaged by or working at the University, volunteers and any other person providing services to or at the University.
Agreed system for employee participation
- The University's system, agreed with relevant unions, for employee participation in health and safety has been established to enable staff to actively participate in health and safety matters in the workplace; the elements of the agreed system are:
- Designated Work Groups, Health and Safety Representatives and Management Representatives
- health and safety forums and committees
- health and safety training
- local informal workplace health and safety activities.
- The activities of the Health and Safety Representatives, Management Representatives, the Health and Safety Forum and other workplace health and safety forums are complementary to the activities and accountabilities of line managers.
Designated Work Groups and representatives
- The determination of Designated Work Groups (see Appendix 1 of this policy) takes into consideration the number of staff, the type of workplace and the nature of the work in those workplaces.
- Each Designated Work Group has one or more elected Health and Safety Representatives and a Management Representative; the Management Representative is an appropriate senior manager.
Functions of Management Representatives
- Management Representatives must consult with the Health and Safety Representative/s in their Designated Work Group with respect to health and safety matters in the following circumstances:
- when identifying work hazards
- when making decisions about risk minimisation
- when assessing the adequacy of facilities
- when changing a system of work, planning a new project, or purchasing new equipment or materials
- when restructuring the work group
- when developing procedures for work health and safety
- when resolving a work health and safety issue.
Election of Health and Safety Representatives
- The position of Health and Safety Representative is for a term of three years; Health and Safety Representatives have the right to stand for re-election.
- Elections for Designated Work Group Health and Safety Representatives are held every three years or, in the event of a vacancy, as required.
- If an elected Health and Safety Representative leaves their Designated Work Group or otherwise vacates the role an election will take place in in the next election period in accordance with clause 15 of this policy.
- Health and Safety Representatives must be elected by the members of the relevant Designated Work Group through secret ballot.
- Persons who accept nomination for election to the role of Health and Safety Representative must work sufficiently regularly and for a sufficient duration to enable them to carry out the functions of the position effectively, be willing to take on the position, and attend training.
- The election process is set out below:
- nominations for vacant positions will be sought from all staff in the relevant Designated Work Group during election periods in February or July
- if there is only one nominee for a Designated Work Group then that person is automatically elected for a three-year term
- if there are no nominees for a vacancy, the position will remain vacant until such time as there is a nomination or until the next election period
- if more than one nomination is received then an election is held by secret ballot
- nomination and election forms are available in iWaikato.
- A list of current Health and Safety Representatives is set out in Appendix 1 of this policy.
Functions of elected Health and Safety Representatives
- The role of Health and Safety Representatives is to engage with and support staff within their Designated Work Group on matters relating to health and safety in the workplace; such actions include:
- representing members of the Designated Work Group with respect to health and safety matters
- investigating complaints about health and safety issues in consultation with the Management Representative and affected persons
- investigating hazards in the workplace and making recommendations for their management
- monitoring measures taken to manage health and safety hazards
- providing feedback to the Health, Safety and Wellness Manager about health and safety compliance
- if trained at an appropriate level, and in consultation with the Management Representative, issuing provisional improvement notices to line managers and directing staff to cease work that would expose them to serious risk arising from an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard
- actively participating in the Health and Safety Representative Forum, other health and safety forums and health and safety activities
- if consent is given by the affected persons to do so, supporting injured staff members in relation to their rehabilitation and return to work.
- Health and Safety Representatives are allowed reasonable time, facilities and resources to attend meetings and to carry out their designated functions.
Training of elected Health and Safety Representatives
- Health and Safety Representatives are expected to attend an approved training course within six months of election.
- Health and Safety Representatives are entitled to two days paid leave per year each to attend an approved training course.
The Health and Safety Representative Forum
- The purpose of the Health and Safety Representative Forum is to:
- review and recommend changes to health and safety policies and guidelines
- provide educational and networking opportunities
- elect two representatives to Health and Safety Advisory Committee annually.
- The procedure for holding meetings and the conduct of business is to be determined by the Health and Safety Representatives.
Health and Safety Advisory Committee
- The University Health and Safety Advisory Committee, an advisory committee to the Vice-Chancellor, monitors the effectiveness of the Health and Safety Framework and makes recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor regarding workplace health and safety; the constitution of the committee includes provision for two members elected by and from the Health and Safety Representatives of the University.
Designated Work Group Health and Safety committees
- Designated Work Group health and safety committees may be established if required by members of that group.
- The procedures for these committees will be determined by the members.
Responsibility for monitoring compliance
- The Health, Safety and Wellness Manager is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy and reporting any breaches to the Vice-Chancellor.
- Breaches of this policy may result in disciplinary action under the Staff Code of Conduct.
Appendix 1 - Designated work groups and representatives
Designated Work Group
Health & Safety Representative
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Faculty of Computing & Mathematical Sciences
Faculty of Science & Engineering
Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education
Te Piringa Faculty of Law
Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies
Waikato Management School
Marketing and Communications
Financial Services and Human Resource Management
Information Technology Services
Student Services Division
Office of the Vice-Chancellor