For most employers, the health and safety of their workers is a paramount concern. Not only do your workers rely on you to provide them with necessary safety training, effective strategies, and proper equipment, but regulatory bodies like OSHA and the BWC are constantly on the lookout for major and minor safety infractions.
For small and medium-sized companies, trying to ensure that your workplace is safe and secure without proper support is incredibly difficult. Not only do regulatory requirements update frequently, but workers can often misunderstand, forget, or ignore safety codes in favor of “shortcuts.”
Luckily, on-site safety representatives, often referred to as SHE reps, OHS reps, or Health reps, can help employers tackle some of their daily safety headaches. Not only do on-site safety representatives play a vital regulatory role, but they can significantly improve the safety environment of your business.
Understanding the Role of Safety Representatives
Health and safety representatives are the eyes and ears of a company’s safety program. Many businesses choose to employ an on-site safety representative as a cost-saving tool that helps them reduce workers’ compensation premiums and regulatory fines. However, many job sites require a safety representative in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 2004 (or OHS Act)
Workplace safety representatives may be responsible for all of the following:
- Performing thorough workplace safety assessments
- Identifying workplace safety hazards
- Identifying any potential OSHA hazards
- Preparing detailed reports on safety
- Investigating workplace injuries to identify causes and hazards
- Correcting any unsafe acts
- Ensuring implementation of safety procedure
- Approving subcontractor safety plans
- Mediating disputes between employers and employees in regards to code violations
- Researching, understanding, and implementing state and federal laws on workplace safety
- Providing feedback on current hazard control procedures
- Correcting documentation and alerting employers of any document gaps that exist
While virtually every industry uses health and safety representatives, some industries, such as construction, may have the need for a safety rep written into their contract.
The Benefits of Safety Representatives
There are two primary benefits of safety representatives: they help reduce workplace injuries and they reduce costs associated with workers’ compensation and OSHA fines. Since safety representatives are fully committed to workplace safety, they can better understand and evaluate your entire safety program. They will be involved in almost every aspect of your safety policy — allowing them to be proactive in addressing and possibly eliminating workplace incidents.
As employees, full-time safety representatives are hyper-focused on employee safety issues — not revenue, efficiency, or speed. Since they are also representatives of your employees, they can act as intermediaries and facilitate improved communication.
In short, by reducing injuries, improving safety procedures, keeping documents up-to-date, and improving your overall safety culture, safety representatives reduce your workers’ compensation claims and OSHA fines.
How Sheakley Can Help Connect You With Health and Safety Representatives
While the benefits of having health and safety representatives are profound, on-boarding them can be a challenge. According to a Gallup poll, only 12% of organizations believe that they have a well-rounded on-boarding strategy and the majority believe that inconsistent applications lead to their poor on-boarding results.
At Sheakley, we understand the difficulties associated with finding well-trained, highly-qualified safety representatives. We can identify the best candidates for any industry-specific need and any experience level required. Whether you need a part-time safety representative to assist you with a month long job or a full-time safety representative to help you overhaul your entire safety program, we can help. Our safety staffing service delivers pre-screened, vetted, and educated safety staff no matter your industry.
Once we locate and place a safety representative, we follow up with regular monthly check-ins to ensure that they are meeting or exceeding your needs and expectations.
Safety Representatives FAQs
Do I need a safety representative?
Many job sites require a safety representative. However, whether or not you require a safety representative is entirely dependent upon your contract, industry, and unique situation. We recommend working with your third party administrator (TPA), professional employer organization (PEO), and/or safety consultant to determine your needs.
Can I hire a temporary safety representative for one job?
Yes. From small, weekly jobs to full-time positions, our safety representatives bring varying levels of availability, education, and skills to fit any need a client may have.
Will a safety representative save me money?
Yes, in most cases. Safety representatives can lower workers’ compensation premiums and reduce OSHA fines by reducing injuries and improving workplace security. These savings are often long-term and are usually measured in 5-year trends.
Are You Ready to Get Safe?
Having on-site safety representatives can help you foster a superior safety culture in your workplace, but finding, training, vetting, and assessing them can be difficult. Contact us today and let our safety staffing team help you find the perfect temporary or full-time health and safety representative.