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The Importance of a Safety Representative

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on July 31, 2019 at 8:42 AM

When an accident happens in the workplace, someone is responsible for investigating it, reporting it, and ensuring that the accident does not happen twice.

That’s where a safety representative comes in.

But if you treat your representative solely as a Band-Aid, you’re not using them to their full potential. In fact, safety representatives can go a long way in building better safety standards for you and your employees – and building trust between employees and management.

Here’s what a representative does and why you shouldn’t underestimate their importance in the workplace.

Responsibilities of a Safety Representative

The duties of a safety representative can vary based on the workplace – a representative on a construction site is different than a representative in a factory.

However, representatives are generally responsible for ensuring that all health and safety guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are followed.

For example, if a machine is missing a safety guard, a representative is responsible for prohibiting the use of that machine until the problem has been resolved.

On a wider scale, they’re also responsible for ensuring that employees have sufficient safety training to ensure that they know how to use equipment properly and report safety issues when they see them. A representative may even run live safety meetings and drills.

And if an accident does occur, a representative will spring into action. They investigate what happened, what went wrong, and what can be done to stop the issue from happening again.

How They Keep Your Workers Safe

As you can see, safety representatives play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of your workers.

You can train your workers, provide all the right tools, and go above and beyond to provide a safe environment. But sometimes, even the best employees forget a safety measure.

This is where a representative comes in. They help spot safety problems that you may not be aware of, catch hazards that you may have overlooked, and prevent those issues from happening again.

However, representatives also act as a critical bridge between workers and management. You see, safety representatives are elected by employees to represent them (thus the title). As such, employees have the chance to choose someone they trust to advocate on their behalf.

How They Strengthen Your Management

This is also what allows safety representatives to play a key role in strengthening your management.

Representatives act as a go-between from workers to management and back again. Their job is to speak up when they see issues and confer with you to resolve the issue so that your employees can get back to work in a safe environment.

Because of this, your representative (and your relationship with them) is another way of building trust with your employees.

By working with your representative, going the extra mile to make sure they have everything they need, and stepping up right away when they bring up problems, you’re showing your employees that you care about their wellbeing.

And that’s something your employees won’t soon forget.

Making the Most of Your Safety Team

A safety representative is an important part of your team, but at the end of the day, they’re just one part of a larger safety strategy.

In order to keep your employees safe, you can’t rest your laurels on one safeguard. You have to find the right tools and know how to use them in a comprehensive manner to build a safer workplace.

Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, Risk Management, Training Management, Incident Management, Safety Management, Safety Culture

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