Becoming a health and safety rep

This page outlines the duties of a health and safety rep, training and support available.

Legal rights and duties of safety reps

Since 1977, trade unions that are recognised for collective bargaining purposes have had the legal right to appoint health and safety reps. The law leaves it to unions, in consultation with the employer, to decide how many reps are needed for any workplace – but once a rep has been appointed, the laws give them significant rights:

  • Represent employees in discussions with the employer on health, safety or welfare issues and in discussions with HSE or other enforcing authorities
  • Investigate hazards and dangerous occurrences
  • Investigate complaints
  • Carry out inspections of the workplace and inspect relevant documents
  • Attend safety committees
  • Be paid for time spent on carrying out their functions and to undergo training

A safety representative has no legal duties, other than those of an employee. Employers’ legal duties towards safety representatives include:

  • Consulting the safety representative on arrangements for co-operating on health and safety measures
  • Permitting time for the safety representative to carry out their functions, and to undergo training
  • Making necessary information available
  • Providing facilities and assistance
  • Setting up a safety committee if requested by two or more safety representatives.

Support for safety reps

We encourage all newly appointed health and safety rep to apply for an attend TUC safety representatives stage 1 course. PCS also delivers health and safety training at a region/nation level via the PCS academy. To find out when the next course is check your PCS area for further details.

PCS has a central database of safety reps, each of whom is issued with an accreditation card and a letter for local management, showing that the individual is a properly appointed PCS rep.

You can apply for a health and safety credentials card here.

All PCS reps should be appointed by their branches - if you are interested, speak to your branch secretary about how to get yourself elected or appointed as a PCS health and safety rep for your workplace or contact


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