Become a Health and Safety rep

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted why workplace health and safety is so important. But we can’t make workplaces across the public sector safe without YOU.

The words health and safety may conjure up visions of clipboards, regulations and paperwork, but it’s really not like that.

Being a health and safety rep means you will be playing a crucial role in making sure your workplace is safe, healthy, and secure for all your colleagues and service users.

You’ll also gain new skills and meet others who are passionate about workplace safety.

What do Health and Safety reps do?


  • talk to members about their health and safety issues and work together with management to resolve these issues.
  • investigate potential hazards
  • raise concerns with your employer to improve safety in the workplace and deal with specific problems that arise at work
  • promote better health and safety in the workplace and encourage everyone to get involved in the union – UNISON is the union that gets things done.

How do I become a Health and Safety Rep?

Ideally you should have reasonable experience of your workplace and how the work is done. We don’t expect you to be an expert we’ll train you in every aspect of the role. You’ll be supported all the way either by your branch or by one of our union organisers from your regional office, who will be able to answer your questions or help get you the additional advice.

You’ll also be able join a community of other health and safety reps from around the country via UNISON’s Organising Space where you can also ask or answer questions from others who have or are experiencing similar issues.

Although there is legally no training required, your branch may ask you to undertake some training to help you undertake the role . Trade union health and safety reps are entitled to paid time off for training. Your branch will help in getting this agreed by your employer.

UNISON training courses are designed to remove barriers, helping you learn and develop the skills you need to carry out your roles and to ensure that you can perform it with confidence regardless of any previous educational history.

We try to provide various training options through a mixture of online, virtual and in person teaching, including a short introductory course, you’ll have a chance to chat with other new health and safety reps and get more one to one time with the tutor if you need it. There are also other specialist courses, on different topics including one on mental health.

All courses are free for you to attend, [although there may be a charge to the branch].

To start your journey, fill in the form below and someone from UNISON will call you back, and answer any questions you might have, and discuss the next steps to take to becoming a health and safety rep


  • Please use the name and address that you think you have on our records.
  • We can usually find you without this but it really helps if you know it!
  • We're asking for these details to enable us to find you on the UNISON membership database. By completing this form, you consent to being contacted by one of our regional offices. We’ll only use your data to find you on our membership system.