It is a right that workers be able to attend their jobs and return home at the end of the day without any detriment to the health.
Where a union is recognised by an employer, that union has the right to appoint health and safety representatives. It is up to the union, not the employer, to decide who should be a health and safety representative.
Union health and safety representatives make a huge difference. Research has shown that workplaces with union recognition and health and safety representatives experience around half the number of serious injuries of those without.
This is because union health and safety representatives know the workplace, are supported by their union and are better trained. Union health and safety representatives help promote a good safety culture and allow employees to raise issues that concern them.
Being a health and safety representative can be a very rewarding experience, and they will be offered high quality training and support by their union. Perhaps the most important role that a representative plays (other than legal functions – see below) is simply being there and talking to members regularly about their concerns.
Most employers value the work that union health and safety representatives do, which is why good ones encourage employees to take on the role and recognise the work they do by taking it into account during performance appraisal and when considering promotions.
All BDA Trade Union Reps are Health & Safety Reps and they seek to make your workplace as as safe as possible.