GMB Health & Safety Reps’ Handbook

Work should enhance life – Never endanger life


The role of the Safety Representative is perhaps the most important of all union representatives. All GMB Workplace Organisers negotiate pay and conditions, but GMB Safety Representatives are also responsible for saving the lives of colleagues, and helping to reduce accidents and ill-health in the workplace.

Most work related accidents and ill health could be prevented. Employers have a legal and a moral duty to protect the people they employ and deal with.

You have a major role to play in ensuring that employers do their duty on behalf of your members. There can be few greater satisfactions for a trade union representative than to know that his or her actions have prevented a likely accident, or improved working conditions of members so as to remove or reduce the risk of injury or illness.

Members recognise this and, in surveys, state that health and safety is their top priority which they want their union to take up on their behalf. 

GMB has fought hard overmany years to get the best laws on health and safety at work that we can, and a strong Health and Safety Executive to enforce them. But the best way to get a safe and healthy workplace is still through building a strong union, developing a campaigning agenda with the GMB members you represent, constantly demanding improvements from your managers. 

Health and safety issues affect everyone. They are central in building GMB to be as strong as possible in your workplace.

Always involve GMB members in your work as a Safety Representative, and ask non-members to join to make you even more effective.On health and safety matters, employers respond to pressure, not persuasion.  Thank you for taking on this vital role.

This handbook has been written to help you do the job of GMB Safety Rep more effectively. It forms part of the GMB Workplace Organisers Toolkit that sets out GMB policy , advice and guidance for all GMB Reps on recruitment, representation and retention of GMB members at work.

GMB Health & Safety Reps' Handbook.pdf

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