The Safety Representative and Safety Committee (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1979 apply to organisations that have recognised Trade Unions for collective bargaining purposes. The legislation permits the Trade Union to appoint safety representatives from among the workforce whose functions include:
Safety representatives are entitled to time off to fulfil their functions and undertake relevant training. They also have a right not to be unfairly dismissed or suffer a detriment for fulfilling or proposing to fulfil their functions.
In addition the regulations also require an employer to set up a safety committee upon a written request from 2 or more safety representatives.
The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 compel employers in non-unionised organisations to consult with their workforce on health and safety matters. Consultation can take place at an individual employee level or through elected safety representatives, whose functions and rights are similiar to those detailed above. The employer should ensure that the representatives are provided with (at the employers expense) appropriate training in health and safety matters.
Further information is available from the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland, www.hseni.gov.uk, or 028 9024 3249
The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.
The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.
While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.