Health and Safety (H&S) reps

In this section

In This Section

SoR safety representatives play a vital role in raising health and safety standards in the workplace. Where an employer recognises the SoR, members of the SoR can nominate or elect a safety representative to work on behalf of members in improving health and safety within a department.

Once appointed the safety representative becomes accredited and can attend SoR and TUC training courses. The role of the safety representative is supported by a framework of rights - the ‘Safety representatives and safety committee regulations 1977’ - which include paid time off to attend health and safety training relevant to their role and ‘facilities time’ to carry out their role.

Some activities that a safety representative can get involved in are workplace inspections and accident investigations. They can also represent members by taking part in local and organisational level health and safety committees.

A safety representative's role is different to that of a department's health and safety officer in that safety representatives do not carry out risk assessments. This is the duty of the employer and can be delegated to a suitably competent person within a department. A safety representative can get involved and input into the risk assessment process and should be consulted on the findings of risk assessments.

Newly appointed safety representatives sometimes worry that the wide range of functions which they are entitled to undertake must also impose some legal health and safety duty upon them which goes beyond that of other employees'. This is not the case. The functions of a safety representative are not legal duties and safety representatives cannot be held legally liable if they fail to carry them out.

A list of your reps, including your health and safety rep can be found under "My Account" of this site. 

Safety representatives in action

The Health and Safety Executive supports and values the vital contribution safety representatives and trade unions make to maintain and improve health and safety in the workplace. This is backed up by a growing body of evidence which shows the ‘union effect’, ie in workplaces where there are safety representatives, accident and ill health rates are lower.


Interested in becoming a safety representative?

The SoR is keen to ensure that it has one or more safety representatives in every healthcare organisation in which it is recognised, including the private sector.

If you are interested in becoming a safety representative and would like to find out more detail about the roles and functions click here

To complete the reps notification of election form to become the H&S rep click here

Safety representatives' tools & resources

Hazards at work

The SoR is providing this excellent publication free to all safety reps. If you are a safety rep and have not received a copy or are interested in becoming a safety rep, contact [email protected]

RISKS newsletter

Want to know what's going on in health and safety first? Health and safety is one of the main concerns of working people and trade unions are central to health and safety developments in Britain. So news from the TUC and trade unions is important. Rather than buy half a dozen monthly health and safety magazines and getting stale news, often garbled in the telling and re-telling, get the news straight from the people making it.

RISKS is the TUC's weekly online bulletin. You'll get news from the TUC and the unions (and from the HSE and others) direct. But more importantly, you'll get it free. Register here to receive your copy direct every weekend, like more than 10,000 other people.

And hurry - health and safety news is happening all the time!


Upcoming H&S Forum dates

  • 14 June 2021
  • 13 Setepmber 2021
  • 13 December 2021


TUC Links

Drug Testing in the Workplace - Guidance for Workpace Representatives

Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace - Guidance for Workplace Representatives

Behavioural Safety - A briefing for Workpale Representatives

Confidentiality and Medical Records

Well-being at Work

Supporting Working Women Through the Menopause

Responding to Harmful Work-Related Stress


HSE Links

HSE Statistics 2019