Health and Safety

We believe that all workers deserve to be treated fairly at work.  This includes fair pay, favourable terms and conditions and well managed health and safety conditions. Every worker has the right to leave work at the end of their shift, in as good or better physical, emotional and mental condition as when they arrived. To be effective in our fight for safe working conditions we need people in every workplace to act as advisors and watchdogs on health and safety issues.

Why are health and safety reps important?

UNISON members believe health and safety is the most important issue at work. Health and safety can be a matter of life and death.

Many of our members know what it’s like to experience stress, violence or accidents and injuries at work.

Tackling health and safety is also a very good way of organising in the workplace.

What do health and safety reps do?

Everybody who works has basic rights, which include things like sufficient space to work in, clean and well-lit workplaces and safe working practices. Health and safety reps work to make the workplace as safe as possible.

They can:

  • Make representations to the employer on behalf of members on any health, safety and welfare matter
  • Represent members in consultation with Health and Safety Executive inspectors or other enforcing authorities
  • Inspect designated workplace areas at least every three months
  • Investigate any potential hazards, complaints by members and causes of accidents, dangerous occurrences and diseases

Employers are obliged by law to carry out risk assessments which identify dangers in the workplace and look at how likely they are to cause harm. Health and safety reps can help make sure this happens.

Where do I go for advice and support?

Eddie Shaw is your Health and Safety Branch officer, so please go to him in the first instance.

Where can I find useful information and resources?

Go to Health and Safety Resources on the UNISON national website.

UNISON’s employment advice website offers useful health and safety information for ordinary members.

How can I get more involved in UNISON health and safety?

Contact the Branch Office by e-mailing us at if you are interested in becoming a workplace health and safety rep.