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.
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.
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
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].
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