Under sections 25 and 26 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 each employer is obliged to make arrangements for effective consultation between himself and his employees on matter of safety and health. In addition, the employees have the right to select and appoint one of themselves as a safety representative to represent them in consultation with the contractor. A safety representative is required where more than 20 persons are employed on a site.
What are the duties of a Safety Representative on a construction site?
The safety representative:
may make representations to the contractor/project supervisor construction stage as to the safety, health and welfare of employees on the construction site which must be acted on by the contractor/project supervisor for the construction stage
has the right to information from the project supervisor construction stage regarding the safety, health and welfare of employees
is given power to carry out general inspections or investigate potential hazards, on notice to the employer
may investigate accidents and dangerous occurrences, provided these do not interfere with the performance of any statutory function, such as the obligation to report accidents under the General Application Regulations, 1993
must be informed by the project supervisor construction stage that an inspector from the Health and Safety Authority has arrived at the place of work and also has the right to accompany the inspector unless the inspector is investigating a specific incident
may make oral or written representations to an inspector and is also entitled to receive advice and information from an inspector
is entitled to time off ‘as may be reasonable’ without loss of remuneration, for two purposes (a) to acquire knowledge to carry out his/her functions and (b) to carry out his/her functions e.g. conducting inspections and investigations
is to suffer ‘no disadvantage’ arising out of the performance of his/her duties