Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
01 Sep 2014

Trade union health and safety representatives should always seek to resolve issues with their employer in line with agreed procedures or workplace practices. In some cases that may not be possible. Where the safety representative believes there has been a breach in the law which the employer fails to resolve, the health and safety representative should raise the issue with a senior representative or union official. However, if a serious problem remains, and after discussion with their union, a health and safety representative may consider contacting the HSE.

In addition, because of their training and experience, union health and safety representatives may see incidents where there is a serious breach of health and safety law outside their place of work. Where that workplace is likely to be unionised the safety representative should seek to notify the appropriate union, but if there is a risk of significant harm, the safety representative should contact the HSE. Safety representatives can also contact the HSE if they have concerns over any sector or industry-wide issues which they believe the HSE should be aware of, but again safety representatives should contact a senior representative or union official first.

In all cases where there is a serious risk to life or limb which cannot be prevented by notifying your employer, safety representatives should contact their union and the HSE immediately.

Union appointed health and safety representative may contact the HSE using the following form.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/involvement/hsrepresentatives.htm

Although the HSE will give consideration to any information they receive from a union health and safety representative, they may not take action in all cases.

If safety reps are in a workplace enforced by a local authority or other regulator such as the ORR, MCA or CAA, reps should contact the appropriate authority or regulator.