UNISON Northern Ireland

Be on the Safe Side

Become a Safety rep

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted why workplace safety is so important. But we can’t make workplaces across the public sector safe without YOU.
The words Health and Safety may conjure up visions of clipboards, regulations and paperwork, but it’s really not like that.
Being a Safety rep means you will be playing a crucial role in making sure your workplace is safe, secure and clean for all your colleagues and service users.
You’ll also gain new skills and meet others who are passionate about workplace safety.

What do Safety reps do?

Safety reps:

  •  talk to members about their health and safety issues and work together with management to resolve these issues.
  • investigate potential hazards
  •  raise concerns with your employer to improve safety in the workplace and deal with specific problems that arise at work
  • promote better health and safety in the workplace and encourage everyone to get involved in the union – UNISON is the union that gets things done.

How do I become a Safety Rep?

We don’t expect you to be an expert from day one, we’ll train you in every aspect of the role. Ideally you should have reasonable experience of your workplace and how the work is done. However, you’ll be supported all the way by one of our union organisers from your regional office.
To learn more about becoming a rep, you can take part in some of our taster webinars.
Although there is legally no training required your branch may ask you to undertake some training. Safety reps are entitled to time off for training. Your branch will help in getting this agreed by your employer.
UNISON provide various online options including a short introductory course, or a course of six 90 minute classes, once a week. There’ll be a chance to chat with other new safety reps and get more one to one time with the tutor if you need it. There are also other specialist courses, including one on COVID-19.
We also have an online community, our Organising Space, where you can chat with other Health and Safety reps around the country.

To start your journey, fill in the form here.

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