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Principal Contractor obligation to consult with eligible unions regarding the number of health and safety representatives on major construction projects


Under section 50A of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT), a principal contractor must, before work on the major construction project commences, consult with each eligible union for the project in relation to:

  • the number and composition of work groups to be represented by health and safety representatives; and
  • the number of health and safety representatives and deputy health and safety representatives.

The major construction project is a project involving construction work with a contract price that is more than $ 5 million. Eligible union means a union that is eligible to represent the industrial interest of the workers carrying out work in connection with the project. The workers include the principal contractor’s employees, subcontractors and any labour hire workers.

The principal contractor must provide written notice to each eligible union by using an approved form – Notice of requirement to consult. The union must respond to the principal contractor within 14 days of receiving the notice if they want to participate in the consultation. If the union fails to respond to the notice, it is deemed that the principal contractor has met its obligation to consult.

Members are reminded that penalties may apply if the principal contractor does not comply with the requirement to consult.

To access the approved form – Notice of Requirement to Consult click here.

To find a list of eligible unions and their contact details click here.

If you have any questions relating to your work health and safety responsibilities as principal contractor, please contact our Workplace Relations and Legal Team on (02) 6175 5900.