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these are the requirements for a safety representative

When is a safety representative required in a company?

The answer to this question is that all companies must have a safety representative. In Norway, the general rule is that a safety representative must be elected in all companies. However, exceptions can be made for companies with fewer than five employees. In this blog, we provide a quick overview of what a safety representative is, who can be one, and which exceptions are made.

What is a safety representative?

A safety representative is an employee in a company who is elected by the employees to safeguard the working environment and safety in the workplace. The safety representative has the right to participate in the planning and implementation of measures concerning the working environment and serves as a link between the employees and the management of the company regarding health, environment, and safety (HES) in the workplace.

All businesses in Norway with five or more employees are obligated to elect a safety representative from among the employees. It is the employees who choose their safety representative. If the company has fewer than five employees, an alternative arrangement can be agreed upon.

How is a safety representative chosen?

The process of selecting a safety representative can vary from company to company. Typically, a process involving employee involvement is followed, and an example of such a process could be:

  • Announcement: Management informs employees about the need for a safety representative.
  • Nomination: Employees are given the opportunity to nominate candidates for the position of safety representative. If no one is nominated, the employer can appoint a safety representative.
  • Election process: When candidates are nominated, elections are held.
  • Announcement of results: The candidate with the most votes becomes the safety representative.
  • Training: The company must ensure valid and approved training according to the Work Environment Act and the company's guidelines.

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Who can be the safety representative?

The safety representative must be an employee and cannot be the managing director or a board member. The most important thing is that the safety representative is a representative of the employees and has an interest and commitment to the Work Environment Act and relevant regulations. It is also advantageous if the safety representative can communicate effectively with both employees and management.

What are the duties of safety representatives?

The safety representative is responsible for ensuring that the work environment is safe, participating in the planning of safety measures, participating in investigations of work accidents and injuries, and acting as a liaison between the employer and the employees regarding work environment issues. Additionally, the safety representative has the authority to stop work if they believe there is an immediate danger to the lives or health of the employees.

How many safety representatives must a company have?

In some businesses, there may be a need for more than one safety representative. The number is determined based on the size of the company, the nature of the work, and other working conditions. If the company is divided into several departments, one safety representative should generally be elected per department. The scope of responsibility should be clearly defined and must not be larger than what the safety representative can oversee and manage effectively.

What are the training requirements for safety representatives?

Safety representatives must receive necessary training to fulfill their duties effectively. The training should cover the specific conditions of the workplace. Additionally, safety representatives must undergo a mandatory training course of minimum 40 hours.

Should safety representatives receive extra pay, and what about working hours?

Safety representatives should be provided with necessary time to perform their safety duties effectively. Generally, these tasks should be carried out within regular working hours. This means that safety representatives,should not receive extra pay for their work, but the employer is obliged to organize work so that safety representatives can complete their tasks within normal working hours. If the work of the safety representative extends beyond normal working hours, it must be compensated for as overtime.

Also read: The rules for working hours and overtime in Norway.

Which exceptions are made to the requirement of having a safety delegate?

If your company has fewer than five employees, the employer and the employees can agree on an alternative arrangement instead of having a safety delegate. Such an agreement must include the following:

  • The number of employees in the company
  • Bullet points outlining the measures the company will take to ensure that employees are consulted on matters concerning the work environment.
  • How the safety service in the company will be carried out.
  • Signature of the employer and all employees.

If your company does not have a safety delegate and there are no agreements regarding exceptions, you may receive orders from the authorities .It is also worth noting that such an agreement is valid for a maximum of two years at a time.

If you have any questions about whether your company needs a safety representative and how this arrangement should function, please contact us at Magnus Legal, and we will assist you.

Contact Magnus Legal about labor law

 

 

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