The role of safety rep

Most of us are aware that working in a poor work environment can be detrimental to health and performance. However, a poor work environment should not be viewed as a condition of employment. ATL members can change these conditions; as a health and safety rep, you can make your own workplace a better, safer and healthier place to work.

Encompassing a variety of issues from slips and trips to stress or asbestos, being an ATL health and safety rep is about wanting to make a positive change in your workplace.

What safety reps do

As an ATL health and safety rep, your role will include:

  • educating members to ensure they recognise both hidden and more obvious health and safety issues, and keeping them at the top of workplace and branch agendas

  • encouraging engagement between health and safety reps and members to discuss how issues can be solved

  • working in partnership with other unions and employers to ensure positive outcomes when dealing with potential health and safety issues

  • working closely with ATL reps.

ATL members have the right to appoint their own safety representatives in every workplace regardless of how small or large the membership is. The decision is not a matter for the employer. An employer-appointed safety rep will not necessarily focus on the same areas of concern as members.

The role is enormously satisfying and rewarding: safety reps have the opportunity to learn new skills and broaden their experience; and a successful rep can have a very positive effect on the work environment to the benefit of colleagues and students.

Health and safety reps are legally entitled to investigate health and safety concerns and have paid time off (see rights of safety reps for more). And ATL supports our safety reps every step of the way, with accredited training, additional resources and a dedicated health and safety advisor, who is available via ATL's London office, tel: 020 7930 6441, or email.

Interested in becoming a safety rep?

ATL's health and safety reps community has continued to grow over the last year, with more reps signing up and being trained than ever before. So there's never been a better time to join them.

If you think you are ready to take on the role of health and safety rep, or if you would like more information, please email our health and safety team.

You can also download or order a poster to encourage others in your workplace to take on the role of safety rep and to highlight its importance.

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Working with the local authority means I get to see the whole structure and am in a position to exert some influence! Getting involved provides the opportunity to network. It's certainly broadened my perspective.

Carolyn Dutton, health & safety rep

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