For everyone Using PINS to win

  • By Seir Holley
  • This article was published more than 8 months ago.
  • 16 Aug 2023

A Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) is an important tool available to Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs). It enables HSRs to send a formal notice to the employer or employer representative advising them that there is a health or safety problem.

It is used where consultation between the HSR and the employer rep does not resolve the problem. HSRs must consult with the employer before issuing a PIN. Consultation is a legal requirement under the OHS Act 2004 (Vic). It enables everyone involved to discuss their concerns and is an essential part of managing health and safety. 

The Department of Education’s (DE) OHS Consultation and Communication Policy requires principals to prepare and plan for consultation, and monitor and review the consultation and communication arrangements to ensure they continue to be effective. Principals must consult with HSRs when identifying or assessing hazards or risks and making decisions on how to control them – for example, in response to eduSafe Plus reports. 

Usually, when consultation takes place, issues are resolved with no need to issue a PIN.

In schools and in regions for principals, where consultation and communication processes are established, there are improved health and safety outcomes for all school staff. Usually, when consultation takes place, issues are resolved with no need to issue a PIN.

If an HSR does not consult before issuing a PIN, the PIN will not meet the requirements of the OHS Act. According to WorkSafe, consultation is considered to have taken place if information has been provided demonstrating that the HSR believes on reasonable grounds that a person is contravening a provision of the OHS Act or OHS regulations and how the HSR believes the contravention or matters causing it can be remedied.

The HSR must allow the employer the opportunity to address the alleged contravention before issuing a PIN. The PIN recipient must either comply with it within the specified timeframe or opt to dispute the PIN within seven days.

An AEU member HSR recently issued a PIN due to a lack of information being provided by the principal and a lack of consultation in response to identified hazards.

The HSR contacted the AEU and was supported through the process, ensuring that attempts were made to resolve matters beforehand. When it became clear that the information would not be provided to a level that enabled the HSR to undertake their duties, a PIN was issued and the department became involved.

The result was that the HSR now has access to information relating to health and safety hazards, and the school was supported by DE to establish an OHS Committee that meets regularly. The school now has positive systems in place to consult around health and safety matters and a clear process for sharing information.

If you are an HSR considering issuing a PIN, we encourage you to first contact the AEU for support.

Members can also access webinars on our website, such as ‘The Purpose of PINS’, where you can learn how to use the PIN process to resolve an OH&S issue; and ‘Everything you want to know about PINs’, which discusses PINs and how they can be used in schools and workplaces.

Click to find all you need to know about PINs.

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