Every year, far too many education professionals 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 NEU’s support for its members and its work on health and safety can cut the number of professionals who suffer in this way - protecting NEU members, saving schools money and benefiting pupils’ education.

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

What NEU Health & Safety Reps can do

NEU members 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.

NEU 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 NEU 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 NEU training courses. They have no additional responsibilities.  

Support for NEU safety reps

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

How do I become a NEU health and safety rep?

Recognised trade unions, such as the NEU, 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 NEU safety rep will usually be sufficient in most schools but more than one will be helpful in large schools, particularly those with split sites.  Contact if you would like to be a health and safety rep for your school.

For further information on the role of the safety rep and various guides, click on the images in the right hand panel.  You can also download The Role of The Safety Rep.

Long Covid

This joint protocol provides the basis for a consistent approach to management at the workplace of those individuals medically diagnosed as having long COVID.

Health & Safety Reps

NEU health and safety representatives play a vital role in promoting safety in the workplace by representing members and employees’ interests on health and safety issues.

Advice and the
Role of the Safety Rep

Safety representatives play a vital role in promoting safety in the workplace. This briefing covers the appointment of safety reps and their rights and functions.

Brown Book

Safety representatives and safety committees.
The Regulations, Codes of Practice and guidance relating to the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations, 1977.

Health & Safety Rep

Jenny works as a music teacher and is passionate about keeping her pupils and staff safe at her school. Being part of a union helps her to run campaigns to change things for the better,
not only in her school but in others too.