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Eight functions of your Safety Representative

by , 08 April 2015
Did you know that if you employ 20 or more workers you must appoint a representative to monitor health and safety conditions?

If you don't, you'll be on the wrong side of the law, because it's a legal OHSA requirement.

Your Safety Representative's main function is to monitor the health and safety of your employees. But there are also seven other tasks he also needs to perform.

Read on to find out what they are...

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Functions of your Safety Representative

1.    Identify potential hazards. Your Safety Rep needs to identify all hazards and risks in your workplace. When the Health and Safety Committee meet, the results of the hazard identification will be submitted to them. The committee would then need to decide on what control measures to implement to minimize the risks to your employees.

2.    Review health and safety controls you've put in place. Once the measures have been put in place by the Committee, the Safety Rep needs to monitor them. And make sure they are being properly implemented.

3.    Examine the causes of incidents at the workplace.  A key aspect of reducing incidents in the workplace, if that the Safety Rep must regularly go through incident reports. He must get to the bottom of what caused it and apply ways to stop them from happening in the future.

4.    Investigate complaints from employees. Your Safety Rep is your first line of defence against employee injuries and illness at work. He is also the link between you and your employees when it comes to health and safety matters. He needs to engage with them; Find out if they've faced any bad working conditions or work related injuries. There may be problems that aren't obvious until employees speak about it. Small complaints like constant headaches or minor injuries can lead to a much bigger problem!

Read on to find out what other functions your HSE needs to perform…

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Four more functions of your Health and Safety Representative

5.    Report the general health and safety of the employees to the employer. The Health and Safety Representative must discuss his findings on the health and safety of your employees to you. He needs to discuss past incidents and potential hazards, and suggest controls to solve them.

6.    Conduct inspections. The Safety Rep must regularly be on the 'shop floor' to keep an eye on the safety aspects of the workplace. He needs to inspect the premises and make check for new hazards.

7.    Attend Health and Safety Committee meetings. Because the safety rep represents the employees, it's important for him to be a member of the Safety Committee. This Committee should meet monthly to discuss health and safety aspects in the workplace.

8.    Get involved with the internal risk audit. Once your Safety Rep has assessed the risks and hazards, he needs to be actively involved in the risk audit. This will help him see what safety controls are working and which ones aren't.

Your Safety Rep needs to take these job functions seriously. And so do you. After all, he's your eyes and ears on the ground. He's there to keep you in the loop. And basically keep you out of trouble with the DoL.


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