A work group usually consists of workers who perform similar types of work and have similar health and safety conditions within the workplace. They represent the interests of workers and ensure that health and safety representatives (HSRs) are accessible to work group members.
There are specific laws about work groups. Here we summarise those laws and give you some practical advice.
Creating a work group
If a worker requests that one or more HSRs be elected for the workplace, you must make arrangements to establish one or more work groups.
Within 14 days of this request, you must begin negotiating with the workers and HSRs. Associations and union can assist in forming work groups. Some matters to consider include:
- the number of work groups and HSRs
- the hazards and risks
- how workers are employed – eg full-time, casual, contractor.
Should negotiations fail, ask us for help to resolve the matter.
Multiple work groups
Multiple work groups may be agreed with workers carrying out work for two or more persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) at one or more workplaces.
Examples of multiple work groups may include:
- a principal contractor and numerous sub contractors working together on a construction site
- labour hire staff and the employees at a manufacturing site
- joint venture businesses
- a principal operator engaging workers from PCBUs such as airports, entertainment venues and hospitals.
The work group arrangement must be agreed to by the workers.
The aim is to identify the most workable arrangement for the workplace/s.
Work groups across multiple businesses
Work groups can be formed where there are multiple businesses on one or more sites.
Formation of multiple work groups should be by negotiation and agreement that focuses on:
- the business or undertaking to which the work groups will apply
- the workplace location/s of work groups
- the number and composition of work groups
- the number of HSRs and deputy HSRs.