Support for health & safety reps


The New Zealand Institute of Safety Management (NZISM) has recently released resources to support the development of the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) community

The HSR Knowledge Wheel is a capability framework for HSRs, articulating the knowledge, skills, and attributes that HSRs can develop to set them up for success. The supporting Guidebook provides awareness in the subjects, so HSRs have a starting point to begin their learning journey.

This project was ignited by two key facts:

  1. No competency framework existed for Health & Safety Reps (HSRs) to outline what they needed to know to be effective in their roles (WorkSafe’s WEPR Discovery Project).
  2. 22% of the Health and Safety Profession started off as HSRs (NZISM Annual Member Survey 2021), yet there was no structured pathway from this first step into a potential new OHS career.

NZISM’s HSR project filled the void. They engaged the health and safety profession and HSRs from a wide range of industries to articulate a framework that could be used by:

  • Organizations to support HSR training and development.
  • Training providers to ensure HSR course content met the identified needs of HSRs.
  • H&S Practitioners and Professionals who often take on the role of training and coaching Reps.
  • HSRs for self-directed learning.

Over a series of eight sell-out workshops across the motu (and two online opportunities), they worked collaboratively to identify the knowledge, skills, and attributes required to set HSRs up for success. The output was then visualized as the HSR Knowledge Wheel.

While the HSR Knowledge Wheel was valuable to OHS professionals/HR Managers looking to develop their HSRs, NZISM Chief Executive Selena Armstrong realised it did not give HSRs much more than a list of the subjects they need to know about.

“We wanted to add more value than that, so we developed the supporting HSR Guidebook, which explains the terminology in the Knowledge Wheel and provides HSRs with a base awareness of the topics in the wheel”.

“It’s been an exciting journey and we are very grateful to everyone who has contributed in some way to this important mahi. This work has been developed by HSRs, for HSRs with support from the health and safety profession.”

The HSR Knowledge Wheel and HSR Guidebook can be downloaded at