Your Health and Safety team needs you

Your Health and Safety Team Needs YOU    

I would like to take this opportunity to invite YOU to become a member of our Unison Health and Safety team. It matters not if you have no previous experience in this area because Unison will provide you with the formal training that can get you started as well as the mentorship and support from our more experienced safety representatives.

Every workplace is entitled to have Safety Representatives and these volunteers are elected / re-elected on an annual basis, in our case every December. They are the elected Unison contact for that workplace in respect of any matters relating to health and safety. The workplace Safety rep’ has no responsibilities and no authority; they are in essence the moral watchdog. They are a sounding board for concerns and worries involving safety issues, the reference point for local managers and staff, available to consult with over possible and actual hazards, risks or accidents. The Safety Rep’s are entitled to undertake a fiveday certificated Health & Safety Course. Dates of these courses are announced regularly and are held at several different locations around our region.

But what does a Safety Rep’ do? What is expected of them?

Where trade unions are recognised within a business the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977 (SRSC Regs for short) will apply and Safety Reps must be consulted with by the employer on every occasion when significant changes that could affect the work force are being considered, including changes to the function, fixtures & fittings and furniture as well as work practices and equipment. Safety Reps are entitled under the SRSC regs to carry out H&S inspections of all premises owned and or used by the employer on a quarterly basis, or more often if they have been informed by employees of issues, concerns or incidents in the premises.

Safety Reps are entitled under the SRSC regs to have time off from their core duties, with pay, to enable them to:

Undertake their basic training course and refresher training courses
Attend H&S seminars, conferences and meetings where H&S matters are discussed
Meet with employees to discuss concerns relating to health, safety & welfare
Carry out H&S inspections of work places including time for travel and report writing.
Participate in working groups to investigate & review health, safety and welfare issues.
Identifying possible Health and Safety risks to managers and staff
Liaising with managers about changes to work practices or introduction of new equipment.
Offering advice and guidance to managers and staff on Health and Safety issues
Promoting staff awareness about aspects Health and Safety

Safety Rep’s are supported by their Health & Safety County Lead and the Branch Health & Safety Officer.

If YOU are interested in becoming a Safety Rep’ please contact a Unison Rep’ or myself.

Welcome on Board. YOU could make a difference to safety in YOUR workplace.


Jeff Pittman

Unison Health & Safety Officer

19 March 2021