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Quarries National Joint Advisory Committee (QNJAC):
Worker representatives and safety representatives

A key part of the quarry/worksite team

This document has been prepared as guidance relating to the vital role a Safety Representative can play in improving health, safety and welfare for employees at any quarry worksite. Safety Representatives play a key part in reducing accidents and ill health in any workplace.

The QNJAC and HSE actively encourage a team approach to health and safety. It is very important that we encourage worker representatives who will have a vital role, allowing managers to liaise and work much more closely with all members of the workforce.

The involvement of the entire workforce in identifying and controlling risks is crucial to the reduction of accidents and ill health. The Company and all its employees must work together on health and safety issues to benefit everybody, in both human and practical terms.

Consultation

The difference between providing information to employees, and consulting them, is that consultation involves listening to their views and taking account of what they say before a decision is taken.

Who are safety representatives?

Safety Representatives are practical, experienced members of the workforce. They perform their functions as Safety Representatives in their own workplaces, or they may represent employees at several worksites, or a number of quarries or workplaces.

Roving or Full Time Safety Representatives cover larger geographical areas than permanent elected site safety reps, and/or cover sites with no elected safety representative.

Employers’ responsibilities (specific to consultation)

Employers shall permit safety representatives such time off with pay as shall be necessary to undertake their functions under the above regulations and any training required ensuring competence.

Safety representatives’ functions

The Quarries Regulations 1999, Reg 40, Main Functions:

Where a committee is appointed for the quarry, the operator of the quarry shall permit two members of the committee to:

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999:

Information from the employer:

Entitled to inspect and take copies of health and safety documents. This includes:

Other functions and good practice

Dealing with employers:

Consultation:

Every employer shall consult safety reps in good time with regard to:

Liaison with enforcement officers:

The employer should make available information:

Election of safety representatives

Under the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 elections shall be from within the recognised trade unions membership, in workplaces with a recognition agreement. All safety representatives will work within the union’s committee structure.

Legal protection

Safety reps are not liable in the civil or criminal courts for anything they do or don't do in performing their functions as safety reps. However, as employees, worker/safety reps have the same duties as other employees under Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and Regulation 14 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Reps should not suffer any detriment from exercising the right to withdraw from situations of serious and imminent danger, as for individual employees.

Reps should not suffer detriment for ' whistle-blowing ' on health and safety.

Updated 2009-05-28