I want to be a safety representative, but my employer won't give me time off for training. What can I do?

Under the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977, trade union members can be elected or appointed as trade union safety reps. If there are no recognised trade unions, employees can be elected or appointed as representatives of employee safety under the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulation 1996.

As long as you have been elected or appointed as a safety rep, you have the legal right to time off for Health and Safety training.

If you are keen to become a safety representative and are a trade union member, speak to your union about being appointed as a safety rep. If your union agrees, they will then inform your employer of your appointment.

Once you have been appointed or elected as a safety rep, your employer has a legal obligation to provide you with paid time off work during working hours to undergo such training as may be reasonable in the circumstances.

Your employer should also comply with the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) on Time Off for the Training of Safety Representatives 1978 (PDF), which says that "as soon as possible after their appointment, union safety representatives should be permitted time off, with pay, for basic training approved by the TUC or the independent union which appointed the representative."

Similar rules apply for representatives of employee safety. You will need to be elected by the workforce in order to become a representative of employee safety.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.