Contact with employee representatives by HSE field staff


This operational guidance explains the actions required by inspectors to contact relevant "appropriate representatives" during all visits, unless alternative contact agreements exist. It replaces the Inspection Operational Procedure, stage 3: Conduct inspection additional guidance on contact with employee representatives.


Consulting workers is fundamental to managing health and safety in the workplace and  should usually be part of all interventions .

Effective consultation leads to:

In the long term consultation can lead to greater co-operation, trust, joint problem solving and an improved health and safety culture.

Employers may consult their employees through informal as well as formal arrangements. Informal arrangements are likely to be found in small and micro sized organisations.

Where trade unions are not recognised, employers may choose to consult the workforce directly rather than through a Representative of Employee Safety (RoES).


During visits Inspectors should

Contacting appropriate representatives during visits

Agreeing specific communication arrangements with appropriate representatives

Any specific contact/communication arrangements that have been agreed with appropriate representatives should be recorded.

These could include:


The approach to enforcement of the consultation provisions should follow the guidance in the OG on Worker Consultation – enforcement of Regulations.

Concluding the visit

Disclosure of information

Subject to any restrictions imposed by legislation such as HSWA s28, SRSCR reg 7(2) or HSCER reg 5(3), any disclosure of information should take account of the following:



The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 s.28(8) places a duty on Inspectors to provide factual information in circumstances where it is necessary to do so for the purposes assisting in keeping persons (or the representative of persons) employed at premises adequately informed about matters affecting their health, safety and welfare.

The requirements for employees to be consulted are contained in:

The law gives both elected and appointed safety representatives the right to represent the views of employees in consultations at the workplace with Inspectors.

In workplaces where some employees are members of recognised trade unions and others are not, consultation may be according to both SRSCR and HSCER. Trade union safety representatives may act for all workers, regardless of union membership / recognition.


No specific organisational requirements.

Further References


FOD Legal and Enforcement Team.

Updated 2022-11-08