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Election of Health and Safety Representative Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Procedure describes how Health and Safety Representatives are elected in individual work areas.


(2) This Procedure requires actions by the following:

  1. Head of Department;
  2. Head of Office;
  3. Returning Officer; and
  4. Staff member.
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Section 2 - Policy

(3) Nil.

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Section 3 - Procedures

(4) Elections for Health and Safety Representatives are to be conducted in a manner which ensures all eligible employees have the opportunity to nominate and vote.

(5) Health and Safety Representatives serve a three (3) year term of office.

Head of Department / Head of Office

Request Election

(6) Determine a Need for an Election

  1. Contact the Workplace Health and Safety Unit for advice and assistance if your work area identifies a need for an election. This would be due to one of the following circumstances:
    1. a member of a Health and Safety Committee or an Health and Safety Representatives resigns;
    2. the composition of a work area materially changes; or
    3. at least two-thirds of a work area request a new vote.

(7) Nominate a Returning Officer

  1. Nominate an employee in your work area to be the Returning Officer. The Manager, Workplace Health and Safety or their delegate may also act as the Returning Officer.

(8) Establish Rules for a Tied Ballot

  1. Select an appropriate mechanism for deciding the outcome should an election result in a tie in advance of holding an election. Options include:
    1. drawing a candidate’s name out of a box; or
    2. electing both candidates.

Returning Officer

Conduct Election

(9) Conduct the election and ensure that the ballot is run in a democratic manner.

(10) Note that a Returning Officer cannot nominate for any position being elected, but may vote in the election.

(11) Invite nominations

  1. Request nominations by displaying notices in areas where staff are likely to see them. The notices must state:
    1. the purpose of the election (e.g. "to elect a Health and Safety Representative or a member of a Health and Safety Committee");
    2. the day and time nominations close;
    3. how to access a Nomination Form;
    4. how or where nominations can be lodged (e.g. to the Returning Officer);
    5. the day, time and place the election is to be held;
    6. the name of the work area (e.g. Department of Psychology, Student Services); and
    7. the name of the Returning Officer and their contact details.

(12) You should ensure that employees from non-English speaking backgrounds understand the election process.

(13) Review nominations

  1. At the close of the nomination period, examine the nominations received. Confirm eligibility of the nominees (i.e. that only members of the work area have nominated).
  2. In the event that only one nomination is received, declare that person elected unopposed.
  3. Where more than one nomination is received, hold a formal ballot.

(14) Hold a ballot

  1. Prepare ballot papers which list the names of all candidates in alphabetical order by last name.
  2. Following the close of the polls, count the ballots in the presence of two (2) witnesses. Ensure that the total number of ballots does not exceed the total number of staff in the work area.

(15) Declare the successful candidate

  1. Declare the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes elected. Post a notice to this effect in the work area.

Staff member

Determine Eligibility

(16) You are eligible to be an Health and Safety Representative if you:

  1. are already elected as a Health and Safety Committee member or Health and Safety Representative;
  2. are in the relevant work area; or
  3. are not the Returning Officer.

Vote in an Election

(17) On the advertised day of the election, if you are eligible to vote you will receive:

  1. a ballot paper; and
  2. an envelope marked “Ballot Paper”.

(18) You will be given the opportunity to vote in private. A ballot box will be located in a central area and ballots will close at 4:30 pm on the day of the ballot.

(19) If you will be away on the day of the election, you may exercise a postal vote by sending your ballot paper to the Returning Officer to hold until the day of the poll. Your ballot paper must be received by 4:30 pm on the day of the election.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(20) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(21) Commonly defined terms are available in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purposes of this Procedure:

  1. Health and Safety Representative means a staff member who represents a work area and has knowledge, expertise and the motivation to improve health and safety.
  2. Work Area means a group of staff members which performs similar types of work and has similar health and safety concerns and conditions.