Become health and safety representative

Every year, far too many teachers are injured at work or suffer illness and ill-health brought on by their work.  Statistics show that workplaces with safety reps are safer than ones without them.  The NUT’s support for its members and its work on health and safety can cut the number of teachers who suffer in this way - protecting NUT members, saving schools money and benefiting pupils’ education.

Teachers have the right to work in a safe, healthy and comfortable workplace. Your health and safety is not a luxury.  The NUT can help make sure your rights are observed bot individually and collectively. Why not consider becoming an NUT health and safety rep?

What NUT health and safety reps can do

Teachers should have the protection of the wide range of basic minimum standards of health and safety in the workplace.  These cover issues ranging from adequate temperatures and lighting levels to precautions for safety on school trips, ensuring asbestos is safely managed and reducing stress at work. Most health and safety concerns can best be addressed collectively.
NUT health and safety reps can support their colleagues by exercising their wide range of legal rights . They can:

  • Make representations to the employer on behalf of NUT members on health, safety and welfare issues;
  • Investigate accidents, dangerous occurrences, potential hazards or complaints from NUT members;
  • Obtain information from the employer that is relevant to health and safety issues such as risk assessments, plans for building work etc;
  • Carry out safety inspections in the workplace;

They also have legal rights to time off without loss of pay and other support facilities which allow them to carry out the role and attend NUT training courses. They have no additional responsibilities.  For further information on the role of the safety rep, see our introductory Health and Safety Reps' guide.

Support for NUT safety reps

The NUT provides safety reps with detailed information on risks and rights to help protect teachers against hazards at work.  The health and safety section of the NUT website is one of the most comprehensive sources of guidance available on health safety issues in schools. 

How do I become an NUT health and safety rep?

Recognised trade unions, such as the NUT, have the right to appoint their own safety reps. Employers have no right to take part, or be consulted, in the appointment process.  All that is required for a safety rep legally to hold office is that the Union determines that that person should be a safety representative and that the employer, or head teacher, is notified in writing of the appointed health and safety rep's name. Health and safety reps do not have to be elected, unless there is competion for the role.

The number of safety reps appointed is up to union members.  The size of the school and the number of members will be relevant.  One NUT safety rep will usually be sufficient in most schools but more than one will be helpful in large schools, particularly those with split sites.

For further information on the role of the safety rep, see our introductory Health and Safety Reps’ guide.