Safety Representatives

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A Safety Representative is an employee elected by their fellow employees, whose main role is to represent them to management on all health and safety issues. The Safety Representative provides a direct link between the employer and employees on issues that may be identified through workplace inspections or through direct communication with fellow workers.

training

Your employer must ensure that you know and understand your role as a Safety Representative. They must provide the selected Safety Representative with the training to carry out the role.

Safety Representatives should be allowed time off work for training, without loss of earnings, so that they can acquire the knowledge to carry out the role. The employer must provide this training.

For construction site Safety Representatives, the employer employing the safety representative must provide the training.

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hsalearning.ie - A Short Course for Safety Representatives

This 30 minute awareness course is designed for new and existing Safety Representatives. This course does not replace training provided by the employer but provides information that may be useful as part of the employers training process.

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If workers see their company making progress on promoting safety and health, they will be motivated to do more to ensure compliance. The best way to engage workers to follow safe work procedures is to get them involved in the development and review of those procedures. It is important that worker's opinions are valued and considered, and for them to be included in the implementation of health and safety measures in the workplace. After all it is the workers who are doing the jobs and they will have valuable insights to offer. 

legal requirements

Employees can decide on, select and appoint a Safety Representative or, by agreement with their employer, select more than one Safety Representative. The person(s) selected as a Safety Representative can represent their colleagues in consultations with their employer on matters of safety, health and welfare at their workplace.

On construction sites where more than 20 persons are employed at any one time on a construction site, the project supervisor for the construction stage (PSCS) must facilitate the appointment of a Safety Representative.

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Overall function

A Safety Representative may consult with, and make representations to, the employer on safety, health and welfare matters relating to the employees in the workplace. The employer must consider these representations, and act on them if necessary.

Carrying out inspections

Safety Representatives, after giving reasonable notice to the employer, have the right to inspect the whole or part of a workplace that they represent at a frequency or on a schedule agreed between them and the employer.

Carrying out investigations

A Safety Representative may investigate accidents and dangerous occurrences in the workplace to find out the causes and help identify any necessary remedial or preventive measures. However, a Safety Representative must not interfere with anything at the scene of an accident.

Other Duties

A Safety Representative may also:

  • make representations to the employer on safety, health and welfare at the workplace;
  • receive advice and information from inspectors in relation to safety, health and welfare at the workplace;
  • make verbal or written representations to inspectors, including about the investigation of accidents or dangerous occurrences;
  • accompany a Health and Safety Authority inspector carrying out an inspection at the discretion of the inspector, and where an employee concerned so requests, be present when the inspector interviews the employee about an accident or dangerous occurrence at the workplace; and
  • consult and liaise with other safety representatives appointed in the same workplace, whether or not they work in the same place or in different places under the control of the employer or at different times at the workplace (for example, safety representatives on different shifts).

providing information

A properly informed Safety Representative can play an important role in preventing accidents and ill-health, it is in the employer’s interest to ensure that Safety Representatives are supplied with all relevant information.

Safety Representatives must have access to information on:

  • any risk assessments and safety statement relating to their place of work;
  • reportable accidents, occupational illnesses and dangerous occurrences without identifying any individual;
  • on safety and health measures required under safety and health legislation; and
  • any safety and health information on dangerous equipment, chemicals or processes used at their workplace including instruction manuals and safety data sheets.

A properly informed Safety Representative can play an important role in preventing accidents and ill-health, it is in the employer’s interest to ensure that safety Representatives are supplied with all relevant information.

further information

The Authority has provided more detailed information on the role of the Safety Representative and it is set out in the publications listed below.