Workplace Health & Safety - Safety is Union Business

Australia’s timber, wood products manufacturing, textile, clothing, footwear, furnishing and paper manufacturing sites are safer because workers have and will continue to stand up for their right to be safe at work and go home at the end of their shift.

Research confirms that workplaces with strong union membership are safer. It's logical. Workers who are prepared to have a go, be an elected Health & Safety Representatives (HSR), who form safety committees and refuse to accept unsafe working conditions improve the industry for everyone.  

The struggle against excessive hours, employers cutting costs and shoddy safety continues every day.


The CFMEU Manufacturing Division is committed to protecting and maintaining the health & safety of all our members.  We have a strong network of elected HSRs who deal with day-to-day safety issues on sites. They are supported by our Organisers and Safety specialists, who are always available with information and for incidents or problems.  The CFMEU also works with employers and governments to develop better safety practices for our industry sectors.

Our Training Unit provides approved training for our elected HSRs and can assist in accessing training and being released for attendance if necessary.  HSRs have rights with regard to choosing their training provider.  Please contact us if you require support and assistance with this.

HSR Initial OHS training course

  • Under the OHS Act 2004 (section 67), all elected HSRs and deputy HSRs are entitled to undertake WorkSafe Victoria-approved HSR initial OHS training and choose their course in consultation with their employer. CFMEU Manufacturing is approved by WorkSafe to deliver the HSR Initial OHS Training Course. 


HSR Refresher OHS training course

  • Under the OHS Act 2004 (section 67) employers must, if requested, allow an elected HSR or DHSR time off work with pay to attend an HSR refresher OHS training course at least once in each year the HSR or DHSR holds office after completing the initial course of training. Section 67 also allows HSRs to choose the course they attend, in consultation with their employer.

If you do not have elected HSRs on site, please contact your Organiser or Training Unit to make this happen ASAP.

The best way to improve workplace safety is to ensure all workers are union members. A strong union presence means workers have more rights and confidence to stand up. You also need to elect union delegates who are committed to the rank & file. These delegates need to be trained by the Union to ensure they understand their rights and are better equipped.  Your Organiser can assist with this.

Our Union’s Safety Specialists have decades of industry experience and expertise. They coordinate the workplace health & safety work of the Union and assist Organisers who visit sites and audit safety. All Union Organisers receive safety training.   If you are concerned about health & safety please do not hesitate to contact our Safety Specialists or your Organiser for advice and assistance.


Authorised by Michael O'Connor, National Secretary,165 Bouverie Street Carlton 3053