Beta This is a new way of showing guidance - your feedback will help us improve it.

1977 regulations

If you recognise trade unions in any part of the business:

You may have:

Union-appointed health and safety representatives

Recognised unions and employers should discuss and agree how many representatives to appoint. The number of health and safety representatives will depend on different factors. If there are disagreements that need to be resolved, use your existing employment relations processes or contact Acas.

The nature of your business could mean that you and trade unions will have to be more flexible about the group or groups of employees represented and the number of representatives suitable for your workplace, for example:

Experience of representatives

Normally, trade unions will write to tell you who the appointed health and safety representative is, and make it clear which groups of employees the representative is representing. An appointed representative should usually have worked for you for the previous two years, or had at least two years experience doing similar work. This is to ensure they will have a level of knowledge that allows them to make a responsible and practical contribution to the health and safety effort.

There may also be times when it is not practical to appoint a representative with two years' experience in your organisation or in the job. For instance if:

In such cases, trade unions will appoint the most appropriate representatives, taking their experience and skills into account.

If two or more union health and safety representatives ask in writing for a health and safety committee, you must set one up within three months (See Health and safety committees: Setting them up and making them work).