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Health and Safety

Safety reps

Union safety reps have a dramatic, positive impact on safety at work – and the more training they get, the safer the workplace. Evidence shows that workplaces with union safety reps and joint union-management safety committees have major injury rates less than half of those without.

Safety reps’ rights and functions include a legal right to: Represent employees in discussions with the employer on health, safety or welfare and in discussions with HSE or other enforcing authorities; investigate hazards and dangerous occurrences; investigate complaints; carry out inspections of the workplace and inspect relevant documents; attend safety committees; be paid for time spent on carrying out their functions, and to undergo training.

Safety reps in union recognised workplaces have the legal right to paid time off for union approved safety training. HSE’s evaluation of the impact of safety reps training found the more training a safety rep underwent, the greater the positive impact at work.

The legal rights of safety Representatives can be found in the "Brown Book" which is the regulations, code of practice and guidance on safety representatives. The TUC has produced a version of this for training purposes which can be downloaded here [pdf].


HSC Consultation on improving worker involvement

Comprehensive information on Safety Reps’ rights, tools, training, links to safety reps pages, resources and topic based information.

Hazards safety reps training and time off briefing

Hazards union effect webpages

Safety reps profile – what makes them tick

Health and Safety Inspections: A TUC Guide

TUC New Unionism safety reps pages

HSE safety reps page

TUC Union reps website


Organising for Health and Safety: A TUC Resource for use in the workplace

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

2006 Safety Reps Survey
The TUC conducts a survey of safety representatives every two years. These are the results of the 2006 survey.
21 November 2006

Stress still the biggest problem in UK workplaces
Stress is still the biggest problem facing UK workplaces, with excessive workloads, job cuts and rapid change the most common triggers for rising stress levels amongst employees, according to new research published by the TUC today (Tuesday).
31 October 2006

Safety Reps receive their Certificates.
At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Northern TUC Health and Safety Forum, trade union health and safety representatives were presented with certificates to commemorate passing the level 3 certificate in Occupational Health and Safety
30 June 2006

HSC Consultation on improving worker involvement
The HSC is consulting on improving worker involvement in health and safety, including a number of changes to the current regulations
5 June 2006

TUC calls for new rights for reps
The TUC is urging the government to introduce new rights and enforce existing safety consultation laws to make best use of the lifesaving role of union safety reps.
PDF version available for download
19 May 2006

Speak up for better safety reps' rights!
The Health and Safety Executive has now published the dates of its regional 'discussion meetings', to road test opinion on new workers' consultation rights.
PDF version available for download
5 May 2006

Older documents - 11   >

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