union for life

2: getting started

Safety rep toolkit: 2
Getting started

We explain how to take up appointment, secure branch support and get going. 

hard hat and clipboardNew health and safety rep

Handover: if you are taking over from a previous H&S rep, arrange to talk to them about the job:

  • get them to talk through a couple of examples of things they have dealt with
  • ask them to hand over copies of documents - for example, records of what they have done, union health and safety publications, health and safety committee minutes, etc
  • ask them for a list of useful names and addresses
  • go over the grievance procedure and the employer's health and safety policy with them.

Starting cold: if you are completely new and there are no experienced reps you can turn to, you may need to contact your branch secretary or chair, or even your Prospect full-time officer or organiser. Contact Prospect HQ if you are unsure who these people are or email SafetyReps@prospect.org.uk

Unsure? If you are interested in becoming a Prospect H&S rep, tell your local safety or union rep. They will be able to brief you on what the role entails, arrange for your appointment or an election and explain how H&S reps make a difference.

Your appointment

Once you become an H&S rep, certain people need to be told:

  • your branch secretary
  • your employer
  • your constituents
  • your Prospect full time pitch team.

Tell your branch secretary

You or your section secretary needs to notify your branch secretary of your appointment. This will help your branch support you. If you don't know who your branch secretary is, contact our membership department by email or phone 01932 577007.

Notify your employer

Your section or branch secretary must notify your employer in writing with details of the group or groups of employees you represent. This is a legal requirement of the Safety Representatives & Safety Committees (SRSC) Regulations. Without this, you are NOT entitled to safety rep rights or training. You can download and adapt our standard letter to notify your employer.

Tell your constituents

The people you represent need to know who you are and how to get hold of you. Use any facilities you can:

  • display Prospect posters on union noticeboards with your name and department
  • insert your name and contact details on the health and safety law poster that your employer is required by law to display
  • if you have access to printing facilities, produce occasional H&S leaflets or newsletters
  • make sure all new starters, including all part-time workers and trainees, are informed who their H&S reps are.

Update your Prospect membership profile

Prospect's membership database will need to be updated. This will ensure that you receive health and safety newsletters and briefings from HQ. Our preference is to send these electronically as this is faster and more cost-effective, so please help the union by providing an e-mail address.

You can either log on to your account yourself - your Branch can advise you how to do this if you don't already know. Or tell your pitch team (your negotiator's admin team) and they will do it for you. If you don't know who your full-time officer is, ask your Branch or Section Secretary to help. 

How many H&S reps?

The SRSC Regulations allow for the appointment of more than one health and safety rep for a workplace. Circumstances where more than one rep is advisable include:

  • large number of employees
  • variety of jobs
  • shifts
  • variety of hazards - eg offices and workshops on the same site.

In most Prospect locations, the local H&S rep will form part of a wider organisation to deal with health and safety. It is important that the structure adopted by Prospect reflects the management hierarchy, so that we have key negotiators at appropriate levels throughout the organisation.

Employers have no say in who is chosen to be an H&S rep but the number of reps may be open to negotiation. This is because we need to be able to justify the number of H&S reps we appoint - it's about our credibility and being reasonable about management resourcing the time for reps to perform their functions. Similarly, in small workplaces with more than one union, there is nothing to stop Prospect agreeing to look after the general interests of another union's members.

Feedback

We are interested in your views and welcome suggestions on how these webpages could be improved or your ideas for new content you would like to see. Please email us at SafetyReps@prospect.org.uk