Working people play an important part in keeping their workplaces safe. Very often, workers themselves will notice safety risks that employers might miss.

The most common way to ensure workers’ voices are heard is through appointing health and safety reps. These are members of the workforce chosen by their colleagues to look after the health and safety of the people they work with.

If your employer recognises a union, union members have a right to elect safety reps to represent their needs.

If there’s no union recognised in your workplace, you can ask your employer to appoint safety reps, or to hold an election. But studies show that workplaces with unions are safer because they’re more likely to have reps, and because those reps have more training and support.

If you have a concern about health and safety at work, you can bring it to your safety rep and they’ll advise you on what to do next.

Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section

Common
questions
What rights do safety reps have?
Safety reps have a wide range of rights, allowing them to be involved in major safety decisions and assessments...
How can a safety rep help me?
They're trained to spot hazards at work, assess risks, carry out inspections and negotiate improvements with management.
Do I have to be a union member to get help from a safety rep?
Not really. Most safety reps will want to know about the health and safety issues raised by anyone in their section, and offer appropriate advice and support.
There’s no safety rep in our workplace. What can I do?
If there's a union, you should meet to choose a safety rep. If there's no union, you should approach your employer and ask them to arrange for the appointment or election of reps to take place.