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You've elected an HSE representative - now what?

by , 05 February 2013
As a savvy business owner, you know that to comply with Section 17 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) you need to have at least one Health and Safety Representative for every 20 employees you employ. And that's exactly what you've done. But do you know what your HSE rep needs to do?

There are several functions your HSE rep must perform for your company. 
According to the Health and Safety Advisor, your HSE rep must fulfil the following sevenfunctions to monitor your company's compliance with the OHSA:
Nine things your HSE rep must do to fulfil his role
HSE function #1. Review the effectiveness of your company's health and safety measures
This includes asking questions like: Is the company health and safety programme working? Are employees protected at work?
HSE function #2. Identify potential hazards at the workplace 
This includes looking at what can go wrong and reporting his findings to the health and
safety committee or employer.
HSE function #3. Examine the causes of incidents 
Your HSE rep must for part of your company's accident investigation team. This will ensure he can come forward with suggestions to prevent this health and safety incident from happening again.
HSE function #4. Investigate employee health and safety complaints
Your HSE rep will need to look at the source of the complaint and find possible solutions.
In addition, your HSE rep must use a checklist to record the complaint and present that either directly to the employer or to the health and safety committee to rectify the problems.
HSE function #5. Inspect the workplace
Your HSE report must regularly walk around your workplace to see if health and safety measures are in place and if your employees are adhering to them. This includes looking for potential health and safety hazards like a broken tile or identifying employees who don't aren't compliant with your company's PPE requirements. 
HSE function #6. Consult with health and safety inspectors 
This includes discussing any recurring unsafe condition that he feels the employer isn't taking action on; or telling the inspector about an incident that ocurred in his work area. Your HSE rep must also receive and implement health and safety inspector feedback. 
HSE function #9. Attend health and safety committee meetings
In terms of Section 18 of the OHSA, the minutes of the meetings – including any findings and actions to take, must be in writing and kept in a file for a health and safety inspector to peruse if he feels the need.  
So there you have it. Now that you know what your HSE rep needs to do, make sure he has the authority and time in his day to fulfil his health and safety duties. 
If you don't already have an HSE rep, then elect one now! Use our special E-report on How to appoint the best HSE representatives – your complete guide to get the best HSE representatives working for you!

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