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Electing a health and safety rep? Here's two ways to conduct the election

by , 14 November 2013
You probably know that if your company has 20 or more employees, you must have a Health, Safety and Environment representative (HSE rep). If you don't, you could be fined R50 000 or face jail time for up to a year, or even both! But do you know of the two ways you can use to conduct the election? Read on to find out what they are.

There are two ways you can use to conduct the election of a HSE rep.

You can conduct the election through a:

  • Show of hands;
  • Voting list; or
  • Ballot.

Let's take a closer look at these methods.

Revealed: Two methods to conduct the election of a HSE rep

Method #1: Show of hands

Use these 3 steps to elect by show of hands

Step #1: Gather all employees in a room.
Step #2: Ask the nominee being voted for to leave the room.
Step #3: Ask your employees and the remaining nominees to raise their hands if they'd like to elect that person as the HSE rep.
Step #4: Count the raised hands and record the number.

Follow these steps for each of the nominees. The nominee that gets the most votes will be elected as the HSE rep.

Are there any disadvantages to using this method?

Yes.

This may seem like an easy and simple way to carry out an election, but the results you get aren't always correct, says Louise Harty, Senior Product Manager behind How to appoint the best HSE representatives – your complete guide.
Harty explains that for instance:

  • People raise their hands but lower them before the counting is complete. The person doing the counting isn't able to accurately count the votes.
  • Employees may put up two hands instead of one so the nominee being voted for gets extra votes.

While this may be the case, you can get around these disadvantages by having more than one person counting the votes. Give each of them a section to count. Each person counting must start at the opposite end of the room.

Method #2: Ballot voting process

Hold a ballot vote in 5 easy steps

Step #1: Write the names of each nominee on a single sheet of paper, in a table format, with empty blocks next to each name;
Step #2: Employees must mark an 'X' next to the name of the nominee they vote for;
Step #3: Fold the piece of paper and put into a ballot box;
Step #4: Three different people must count the votes and then record them; and
Step #5: Tally the votes.

Harty says that this is a fair and democratic form of voting and recommends you use it when you elect your HSE rep.

Don't only elect HSE reps as a matter of compliance for your legal obligations. Provide them with the proper training and they're guaranteed to add value to your company.

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Electing a health and safety rep? Here's two ways to conduct the election
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