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This page contains frequently asked questions about health and safety committees (HSC).
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must establish an HSC within two months after being asked to do so by either a health and safety representative (HSR) or five or more workers at the workplace.
A PCBU can also choose to establish an HSC to improve consultation at the workplace.
The PCBU and workers must agree on how the HSC will be formed, and who will be in the HSC. The consultation process and agreement should be documented.
The HSC must include:
Before the HSC is formed, the PCBU and workers should also agree on:
Sample templates of an HSC constitution, agenda and minutes can be downloaded from Safe Work Australia’s website.
HSCs are an important part of work health and safety consultation. They give PCBUs and workers a forum to regularly discuss and make recommendations on health and safety issues.
The functions of the HSC are to:
The committee should also be involved in considering and making recommendations on changes (or intended changes) that may affect the health and safety of workers. The committee is an advisory group and it remains the PCBU’s responsibility to make decisions about health and safety issues.
Day-to-day health and safety issues do not need to be dealt with by the HSC and should be resolved promptly by the PCBU or health and safety officer.
The HSC should meet at least every three months. The HSC can also meet at any reasonable time if at least half the committee members request a meeting.
The HSC members may decide to meet more than once every three months. When deciding how often the HSC should meet, members should consider the:
Reasonable time should be allowed during each meeting to ensure discussion of all business.
PCBUs and workers should work to resolve any issues relating to the establishment of safety and health committees.
If the PCBU and workers cannot agree on how to form the HSC, anyone affected may ask the regulator to appoint an inspector to make a decision.
The PCBU must ensure:
A PCBU must not discriminate against a worker for being or proposing to be an HSC member, or for any action they take as an HSC member.
Consultation is a legal requirement and an essential part of managing health and safety risks.
If an HSC is not established, the PCBU must ensure there are other consultation arrangements in place. For more information on consultation in the workplace, please refer to the Work health and safety consultation, cooperation and coordination: Code of practice.