Safety Representatives have rights, but they carry no duties, responsibilities or liability for health and safety in the workplace over and above that of any other employee. They are not Safety Officers.
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 and may make written or verbal representations to HSA inspectors. However, a Safety Representative must not interfere with anything at the scene of an accident.
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).
- the employer must consult the Safety Representative in advance of workplace changes which can potentially impact on health and safety in the workplace.