Union-appointed representatives

The role of the health and safety representative is independent of management. Representatives are there to represent the interests and concerns of their co-workers and respond on their behalf. They provide valuable insight, skills and resources that help employers and their co-workers.

The law sets out what functions representatives have. All representatives, either appointed by trade unions or elected by employees can:

Functions of union-appointed health and safety representatives

The law makes it clear that they can:

  • represent employees generally and when you consult them about specific matters that will affect the health, safety and welfare of the employees;
  • represent employees when Health and Safety Inspectors from HSE or local authorities consult them;
  • investigate accidents, near misses, and other potential hazards and dangerous occurrences in the workplace;
  • investigate complaints made by an employee they represent about their health, safety or welfare in the workplace;
  • present the findings of investigations to you;
  • inspect the workplace;
  • with at least one other appointed representative, request in writing that you set up a health and safety committee; and
  • attend Health and Safety Committee meetings as a representative of your employees.

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