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Safety Representative

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This section contains information on safety representation including:

  • how your workplace could benefit by having a safety representative, and
  • what supports are available to you as a safety representative




whay have or be a safety representative

Why have or be a Safety Representative?

Active worker engagement reaps dividends for a business and for greater protection for all

why have a safety representative

Why have a safety representative in your business?

  • Employers must consult with their employees on safety, health and welfare matters and they can use a safety representative or safety committee as a means to do so
  • Safety representatives can play an important role in promoting safe and healthy workplaces
  • Communication and feedback are essential for maintaining and developing safe and healthy work practices
  • Getting employees involved can help bring about better ways of working
  • Considering and valuing people's opinions will motivate them to work with others to make things safer and healthier for all
  • Involving employees in developing and reviewing ways of working or work procedures is the best way of ensuring they will be implemented and followed
  • Workers are doing the job, so have key knowledge of work practices
  • Seeing progress on promotion of good safety, health and welfare will give further motivation

why be a safety representative

Why be a safety representative?

  • Being a safety representative or a member of a safety committee allows you to get involved in promoting, developing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace to benefit everybody
  • Liaise with a variety of people in your workplace as you represent your colleagues and consult with your employer
  • Consult on safety, health and welfare matters and communicate to management any concerns your colleagues may have 
  • You do not need to wait until you are asked, you can put your name forward to be selected by your colleagues as their safety representative 
  • As a safety representative you will have functions but you will not have additional duties under the law (only those that apply to all employees)
  • You cannot be held legally accountable for proposals you deal with

what the law says

What the law says

  • Employers must consult with employees and employees must cooperate with their employer
  • On a construction site where there are more than 20 persons employed at any one time, the project supervisor for the construction stage must facilitate the appointment of a safety representative
  • Safety representatives and members of a safety committee must know and understand how to carry out their role; the employer must arrange for training where needed

role of the safety representative

Role of the Safety Representative

Safety representatives can play an important role in promoting safe and healthy workplaces and preventing accidents and ill health 

  • A safety representative will represent their colleagues in consultations with their employer on safety, health and welfare at their workplace and in the role are entitled to receive information and to carry out inspections and investigations.

  • Information on these functions is given below. You can also see publications for more detailed information on consultation in the workplace and the role of safety representatives

  • The safety representative has functions as opposed to legal duties and they do not replace the requirement for an employer to engage competent persons where needed, such as a safety officer or safety advisor


Consultation / Representation

  • Represent their colleagues in consultations with their employer on safety, health and welfare in their workplace

  • Receive advice and information from Health & Safety Authority (HSA) Inspectors in relation to safety, health and welfare in the workplace

  • Consult and liaise with other safety representatives in the same workplace



  • Safety representatives can:
  • Carry out an inspection at a frequency or on a schedule agreed with the employer

  • Inspect the whole or part of the workplace, having given reasonable notice to their employer

  • Carry out an inspection following an accident, dangerous occurrence or imminent risk

  • The inspections carried out may include a review of documentation as well as a walkabout

  • Have an opportunity following inspection to discuss the safety, health and welfare matters in confidence with the safety committee or employees that they represent

  • Accompany an Inspector from the Health & Safety Authority when inspecting the workplace

  • At the discretion of the HSA Inspector, may be present when an employee is being interviewed about an accident or dangerous occurrence



  • A safety representative can carry out an inspection following an accident or dangerous occurrence in the workplace to help identify any necessary remedial or preventative measures, but:

  • Safety representatives must not interfere with anything at the scene of an accident or dangerous occurrence

  • Safety representatives must not obstruct an investigation being carried out by a Health & Safety Authority Inspector



  • Safety representatives and members of any safety committe must be given the information they need so that they can fulfil their functions properly 

  • Employees should be aware if there is a safety representative in the workplace and whom they are


This 2 minute video explains safety representation in the workplace

 Short Video explaining Step 3 of the BeSMART.ie process to generate a safety statement: consultation of employers with their employees.






INFORMATION SHEET on Becoming a Safety Representative

  • a Information Sheet on Becoming a Safety Representative (PDF, 226KB)

GUIDELINES on Safety Representation and Consultation

  • a Guidelines on Safety Representatives and Consultation (PDF, 3472KB)



Frequently Asked Questions on Safety Representation and Consultation


A Resource for Safety Representatives 

In addition to helping employers to generate a safety statement for their business, BeSMART.ie is also a resource for information on workplace safety, health and welfare that is available to all.

Safety Representatives can use BeSMART.ie to get very useful information.


Get Information on Hazards and Control Measures for Your Workplace

  • − Select the type of business you work in
  • − You will be presented with a variety of hazards that may be relevant to the workplace
  • − You can select any hazard to view the risk and recommended control measures

Print Hazard Checklists

  • − Select the type of business you work in
  • − You will be presented with a variety of hazards that may be relevant to the workplace
  • − You can select and print any hazard
  • − You can use this as a hardcopy checklist for the hazard in your workplace

Browse all BeSMART.ie Hazards

  • A database of hazards from all business types on BeSMART.ie is available to registered users who have completed the 4 step process:
  • − Register to create a BeSMART.ie account
  • − Select and work through a business type (Because you are not preparing a safety statement you can speed up the process by selecting 'No' to the majority of hazards when asked if they are in your workplace)
  • − At the last step select the ‘Browse Hazards' function
  • − Search for a hazard which will display to include control measures and help text
  • − Print off or save as a PDF

Guidance on Common Hazards

Guidance on Hazards for Specific Sectors

  • Within the Learn More tab of BeSMART.ie you can find guidance materal, checklists, safety alerts etc, according to industry sector

Link to Free elearning Courses

  • By clicking on this link to elearning (or the tab at the top of the page) or visiting hsalearning.ie you can access a variety of free online courses


checklists, forms and templates

Checklists, Forms and Templates

General Inspection Checklists

Checklists for Specific Hazards

  • 1. Any hazard within BeSMART.ie can be printed off and used as a checklist
    • Select the type of business you work in
    • You will be presented with a variety of hazards that may be relevant to the workplace
    • Select and print off any hazard with suggested control measures - you can use this as a hardcopy checklist


  • 2. Checklists for the following can be found in the Safety Representatives Resource Book:

    • Potential Hazards
    • Asbestos
    • Substances that can cause Occupational Asthma
    • Biological Agents
    • Bullying Policy Review
    • Electrical Safety
    • Fire Detection and Warning
    • Slip, Trip, Fall

Internal Accident / Incident Investigation Form

  • Picture1 Internal Accident/Incident Investigation Form (RTF 137KB)

Risk Assessment Templates

Reporting of Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences to the HSA

  • Employers can report accidents to the Health and Safety Authority in two ways:
    • 1. Complete the hard copy Incident Report Form (IR1).
    • Forms can be obtained by contacting the HSA at 1890 289389. Post the completed form to the Workplace Contact Unit, Health and Safety Authority, The Metropolitan Building, James Joyce Street, Dublin 1. 
    • 2. report accidents online, via the Health and Safety Authority's website, IR1 Online
  • Employers can report Dangerous Occurrences using Form IR3:
    • X-20120405163729832 Form IR3 - Form of Notification of a Dangerous Occurrence (PDF 98KB)

Safe System of Work Plans (SSWP) for Construction

Slips, Trips, Falls Mapping Tool

  • a Mapping Tool for the Prevention of Slips, Trips and Falls (PDF, 361KB)

Workplace Vehicles Checklists

Free Online eLearning Course for Employees


A free short (15 - 30 minutes) elearning course for employees

This short animated course introduces employees, including those thinking of becoming a safety representative or member of the safety committee, to an overview of the safety and health requirements in the workplace. It presents learners with an outline of the main duties of employers and explains the duties of employees under Irish health and safety law. It also explains the important role that employees have in regard to safety and health in the workplace and on consulting with your employer on health and safety matters.

The content of the course is suitable across all industry sectors.

All you have to do is register, take the course whenever you wish and then download your certificate of completion when finished. You can also register a group of employees to take the course.


Use the elearning tab at the top of the page to access the course or visit hsalearning.ie

online course for safety representatives

Short Online Course for Safety Representatives

This FREE 30minute course is designed for new and existing safety representatives. It is also suitable for employers, employees, safety committee members and health and safety practitioners. The aim of the course is to raise awareness of the role of a safety representative, and to provide health and safety information relevant to this role.

This course does not replace training but provides information that may be useful as part of the training process.

This short course for safety representatives is supported by ICTU and IBEC.

Use the elearning tab at the top of the page to access the course or visit hsalearning.ie


Working Together Poster

Working Together Poster

You can download and print this poster to encourage communication and consultation in the workplace and to help make employees aware of their Safety Representative


 Working Together Poster (PDF, 2MB)


Other resources for safety representatives

Other Resources for Safety Representatives


1. HSA Website

  • The Health & Safety Authority website is a library of information on safety, health and welfare. You can search by variety of means such as topic, industry type and publications


2. HSA's Workplace Contact Unit

If you can't find the information you are looking for or have any questions:

Contact the HSA's Workplace Contact Unit by email contactus@hsa.ie or telephone 0818 289 389 


3. HSA Newsletters

You can sign up to receive the Health & Safety Authority's newsletter and / or the chemical e-bulletin.

Find out more and sign up here


4. Resource Book for Safety Representatives

a Safety Representatives Resource Book (PDF, 1.56MB)