Health and safety rep: role profile

This page is to give you more information about Prospect health and safety reps. Health and safety reps are one of many different types of rep.

Health and safety rep image

What is a health and safety rep?

Put simply, a health and safety representative is a union member who engages with managers and members in order to protect and promote colleagues’ health, safety and wellbeing.

What does a health and safety rep do?

Like other union reps, health and safety reps could get involved in campaigning, meeting and speaking to members and managers at the company you work for. In addition, the core tasks of a health and safety rep include:

  • raising health and safety issues with management
  • carrying out inspections and investigations
  • attending meetings of the health and safety committee
  • being consulted on health and safety documentation and plans, such as risk assessments or the content of training
  • reviewing accident and ill health data and trends
  • advising members.

The exact nature of your role will be a reflection of your workplace and the members of your branch. Even different reps in the same workplace may get involved in different activities, depending on their experience, knowledge and interests.

Why should I become a health and safety rep?

The health and safety rep is a diverse role, with elements that will interest a range of people. You could find yourself dealing with technical standards for lifting equipment or protecting people from developing work-related stress. Ultimately, it’s about making a difference to some of the most important things in working life: people’s health, safety and wellbeing.

Work makes too many people ill, leaving many with health conditions that limit their lives. And even now, large numbers of people are still injured at work each year. We know from research that health and safety reps help reduce work-related injuries and ill health.

What rights would I have?

Health and safety reps have a range of rights which are enshrined in law, providing protection when carrying out their functions. Health and safety reps also have a right to as much time off with pay as necessary to carry out their union activities and to undergo training.

Would I be taking on additional legal obligations?

No. Health and safety representatives only have the same legal obligations as any other employee. They have legal rights, but not obligations.

How much time will it take?

Most health and safety reps spend a few hours a month on their duties. This could increase as your knowledge and experience increases, but it depends on your priorities and capacity.

What knowledge do I need? Will I get training?

Generally, health and safety reps should have some knowledge of the work of their colleagues in order to make informed decisions and representations.

We provide all our representatives with high-quality training which teaches you everything you need to know to get active and make a difference in your workplace. There is also further training available through the TUC.

Register your interest

Are you interested in becoming a health and safety rep or just want to know more? We’d love to hear from you.
Find out more and register your interest