Welcome to REP-CENTRAL


So, you’ve been elected a Health and Safety Rep.

Or maybe you’re just thinking about becoming one? Being an HSR is an important role and can make a real difference to your workmates and your organisation. It can also offer you new career possibilities if you choose to take the first step on the journey.

Brent's story

Brent Armitage is a great example of how becoming an HSR can lead you into a successful new career.

Upon returning to New Zealand after a stint overseas, Brent joined Air New Zealand as a baggage handler. He was "voluntold" by his work-family to represent them an HSR - and he hasn't looked back since.

In 2019, Brent was recognised as HSR of the Year at the national Safeguard Awards.

He shares his journey with NZISM CEO, Selena Armstrong.

Supporting you now and in the future

We understand that finding information to support you as a Health & Safety Rep (HSR) can be time-consuming. Information is out there but you have to hunt it down, bouncing from site to site as you go. To help you, we have developed REP-CENTRAL. REP-CENTRAL is a central hub from which you can access information, videos, and development tools to help you get comfortable and grow into your new role.

"What DO I need to know as a priority?"

Don't worry. You certainly don't need to know everything immediately.

The start point is that your work colleagues believe you have "got what it takes". But what is IT? Put simply, it's "The courage to speak up, build trust and engage". If you take a look at our HSR Knowledge Wheel, you'll see this is what's at the core.

The Knowledge Wheel is designed by HSRs, for HSRs, supported by the H&S profession.

It was developed out of a series of nationwide workshops involving current HSRs and practicing NZISM members. We are deeply grateful to those HSRs who told us they felt there was a lack of clarity around the knowledge needed to be an effective HSR, and who helped us provide that clarity.

"What can I learn as I go?"

You will need to develop an understanding of six critical areas of health and safety, These are in the dark blue circle of the Knowledge Wheel. You will also benefit from developing a basic awareness of the topics in the outer grey circle of the Knowledge Wheel.

Downloading the HSR Guidebook is the perfect place to start.

The HSR Guidebook is more than just a tool for HSRs.

It also gives OHS professionals a framework upon which to base the training of their HSRs. If you are an employer or HR manager, it enables you to better direct your training budgets. And if you are an external training provider, it is an excellent reference point from which you can undertake course development.

Download the HSR Guidebook

Make life easier for yourself by downloading the HSR Guidebook:

  1. It will be handy even if you're not connected to the internet.
  2. You can make use of the digital navigation, making it easier to dip in and out for quick reference.

We will retain your details so we can let you know about any future resources, events or opportunities for HSRs.

Download the HSR Guidebook

Health & Safety Rep of the Year Award

Each year, at the New Zealand Workplace Health & Safety Awards ("Safeguard Awards") organisations around the motu celebrate the achievements of their Health & Safety teams and practitioners. You can find out more about the awards here.

Since 2017, one of the key individual categories has been Health & Safety Representative (Sponsor: Vero Liability). This category is open to elected HSRs whose efforts to influence and persuade have led to demonstrable positive changes in their organisation’s approach to health, safety and wellbeing.

2023 HSR Winner

Peter Pomale - Link Alliance

A telehandler operator and a Mates in Construction connector, Peter is a trusted go-to person for anyone with personal or work issues. He led the development of the five Link Alliance safety principles that form the basis of worker induction and daily standards.

He advocates for those who don’t usually get involved in health and safety discussions, particularly those who are shy or who don’t have English as a first language. He knows everyone on site and advocates for them all. He mentors and coaches other reps, and organised for the different site teams to meet socially outside work to build more connections and strengthen relationships. He insisted the Health & Safety survey be translated into the most commonly spoken languages. One-third of the responses were in languages other than English.

2022 HSR Winner

Bevan Thomson - Silver Fern Farms

Bevan was an A-grade butcher and boner at the Takapau plant when Covid hit. He volunteered to go into a support role, explaining the necessary health measures and putting everyone at ease. Following a hand crush injury in his department an external machinery reviewer was brought in. Bevan demonstrated every machine in the department and its risks, and encouraged others to speak up. He is a facilitator for rural mental health organisation 'GoodYarns' and has run sessions with more than 200 workmates.

Bevan represents the plant at the company’s annual Runanga, where safety reps from each plant are brought together to meet the executive and board. At Runanga 2021 he was chosen as the inaugural winner of the Manaaki Award. He also organises fundraising motorcycle rides to support mental health and military veterans’ charities.

2021 HSR Winner

Uli Thie - Massey University

Uli is a technical demonstrator in the 3D design workshop where he helps train hundreds of students each year on the use of more than 60 machines. He successfully lobbied to create a new role of graduate technical demonstrator to give a student perspective, resulting in visual design changes to accommodate neurodiverse students.

During lockdown students were forced to complete projects at home, so he learned how to make safety videos and how to disseminate them via social media. Uli inspires and influences at all levels of the university, including on the national Health & Safety Steering Group. The Health & Safety team value his perspective so highly they ask him to help interview candidates for Health & Safety roles. In a trial to improve the HSR experience he has pushed to increase their autonomy and to shift their focus onto improving work.

2020 HSR Winner

Chris Gorringe - Dept of Corrections

At the new Auckland Prison there were a number of assaults on staff by groups of high-risk prisoners who were able to take control of yards or day rooms due to design faults with doors.

Chris championed the staff view that an engineering design change was required, and after months of delays issued a Provisional Improvement Notice to get door restrictors fitted. He was part of a working group which agreed on a new door design which eventually saw 60 doors replaced. He has also been involved in the new build project at Waikeria prison, and in planning the development of a training pathway for HSRs.

2019 HSR Winner

Brent Armitage - Air New Zealand

Brent worked on the domestic ramp at Auckland Airport, an environment in which workers face nine out of the airline’s ten critical risks. He helped reorganise the safety committee so it focused on solving issues rather than just creating more lists of them.

He helped change the health and safety culture of ramp operations. He is skilled in giving and receiving feedback and is committed to continuous learning. He is the rep on a working group developing a peer assistance network, and he is the first rep to present to the airline’s Board and lead them on a ramp walkaround.

2018 HSR Winner

Joanne Thompson - Coca-Cola Amatil NZ

A member of the manufacturing team, Joanne identified poor and inconsistent markings in the plant to keep forklifts and pedestrians separate, and proposed a solution involving barriers and better communications. She was also heavily involved in the success of a safety induction video developed for new starters and contractors.

2017 HSR Winner

Brett Swanson - NZ AA

Brett is a true influencer and was a key player in a major project to re-assess all tasks for their hazards and their risk level. He developed new designs for service vehicles to improve ergonomics, safety and lighting for the roadside staff who assist members.

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Our thanks to Brent Sutton of Safety Associates for supporting the development of this page.