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Health and Safety

The role of trade union Health and safety representatives is not limited to safety but includes making representation to employers (in our case the OU) on general matters affecting health, safety and welfare at work.

In addition to appointing safety reps for each section of the work force, we also have the right to two places on the OU Health and Safety Committee.

Currently on the OU Health and Safety Committee for the OU branch we have Lesley Kane who is an AL and Ceri Phillips who is based at the OU in Wales - please refer to our reps page for other Health and Safety reps. Anyone who wishes to contact our health and safety reps should email ucu@open.ac.uk.

We are interested in hearing from any other members who are interested in becoming UCU health and Safety representatives. For further information, please refer to the two documents below.

The first, known as the “brown book” is the main publication by the TUC for trade union safety reps.

TUC Safety Reps and Safety Committees - Regulations, Codes of Practice and guidance relating to the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations, 1977.

The second document is a publication by the Health and Safety Executive about employers consulting employees on matters to do with health and safety.

HSE Consulting workers on health and safety - Approved Codes of Practice and guidance
Employers have to consult union health and safety reps on a number of issues, as provided for in the Safety Reps and Safety Committees Regulations.

(Full version of the following regulation is on page 11 in the TUC document above.)

Regulation 4A Employer’s duty to consult and provide facilities and assistance*

(1) Without prejudice to the generality of section 2(6) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, every employer shall consult safety representatives in good time with regard to:

  • the introduction of any measure at the workplace which may substantially affect the health and safety of the employees the safety representatives concerned represent;
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  • his arrangements for appointing or, as the case may be, nominating persons in accordance with regulations 6(1) and 7(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992;**
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  • any health and safety information he is required to provide to the employees the safety representatives concerned represent by or under the relevant statutory provisions;
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  • the planning and organisation of any health and safety training he is required to provide to the employees the safety representatives concerned represent by or under the relevant statutory provisions; and
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  • the health and safety consequences for the employees the safety representatives concerned represent of the introduction (including the planning thereof) of new technologies into the workplace.
(2) Without prejudice to regulations 5 and 6 of these Regulations, every employer shall provide such facilities and assistance as safety representatives may reasonably require for the purpose of carrying out their functions under section 2(4) of the 1974 Act and under these Regulations.

* This regulation was added by a schedule to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992, now replaced by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

** This is now in accordance with regulations 7(1) and 8(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, or article 13(3)(b) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.