Safety representative - Kunnskapsbasen
As an employee safety representative at NTNU, you safeguard your colleagues’ interests in matters relating to the working environment.
Norsk versjon - Verneombud
Topic page about HSE | Pages labelled with HSE
- Safety representatives (VO) - tasks
- Local senior safety representative (LHVO) - duties
- On-site local senior safety representative (on-site LHVO) - duties
- Senior safety representative (HVO) - duties
- Stopping work
- Safety areas
- Change in safety areas
- Duty to have a safety representative
- Training, etc.
- Help and guidelines
Find your safety representative
Safety representatives (VO) - tasks
The main task of a safety representative is to represent the staff in matters concerning health, safety and the environment (HSE) and to protect their interests in such matters. Safety representatives focus on prevention and health-promoting work.
Safety representatives and union representatives have two different roles. It is recommended that a safety representative and a union representative are not the same person. If these roles are combined anyway, the person holding both roles must be extremely careful to distinguish between them.
The safety representative’s role does not include involvement in dismissal cases, personnel matters and pay disputes. However, where cases have their background in the work environment or have implications for the work environment, the safety representative may have a role in that specific aspect of the case.
The safety representative must
- report back to employees
- participate in planning coordination work (coordination agreements)
- participate in inspections by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority in the organization
- relate to the line manager at the same level
As a safety representative, you need to pay particular attention to checking that:
- Machines, technical systems, chemical substances and work processes do not put employees at risk.
- Safety systems and personal protective equipment are available in suitable quantities and that the equipment is easily accessible and in sound condition.
- Employees receive the instruction, practice and training that they need.
- The organization of the work allows employees to perform tasks in a way that is justifiable in terms of health and safety.
- Submit notification of occupational accidents as non-conformances.
Psychosocial and organizational work environment
As a safety representative, you should have an active role in the HSE work in your safety area. You must be included in consultation on planning and implementing measures that are important for the working environment. You need to listen to your colleagues and consult them before you propose solutions to management. You can also work together with and get advice from the occupational health service.
As a safety representative, you must be included in all phases of the work environment activities related to the work environment survey. As a minimum, meetings with management must cover the following points:
- Preparation of the work environment survey
- Planning a follow-up meeting
- Summary of needs and actions
- Evaluation of actions and process
All safety representatives are recommended to read more about the work environment survey here: Work environment survey - for managers | Work environment survey - for employees
At units with several safety representatives, the safety representatives themselves choose who will represent them. Where several units have a joint safety representative, the safety representative and the deputy safety representative should allocate the units between them.
According to the Working Environment Act (arbeidsmiljøloven), safety representatives must take action if they become aware of situations that might affect life or health. This also applies to psychosocial situations such as conflicts, harassment and violence. See more about the safety representative’s duties regarding unacceptable behaviour.
Safety representatives must familiarize themselves with current safety rules, instructions, orders and requests from the management or supervisory authorities.
Local senior safety representative (LHVO) - duties
The local senior safety representative is elected from the safety representatives for the area. See Election of safety representatives. The allocation of the main safety areas for the local senior safety representative is shown in the list of the safety representatives at NTNU.
Tasks in systematic HSE work:
- Coordinate the activities of the safety representatives in their main safety area; support them and guide them in their work.
- Represent employees in the efforts related to establishing and maintaining systematic HSE work in their main safety area.
- Represent employees when the line manager wants to take up issues concerning the work environment.
- Participate in the local works council (LOSAM in Norwegian).
- The local senior safety representative may attend as an observer with speaking rights during discussion and negotiation of matters related to the main agreement as mentioned above; see the Working Environment Act.
- Work together with and report to the head of the main safety area (Dean/Director).
On-site local senior safety representative (on-site LHVO) - duties
The on-site local senior safety representative is elected by and from the safety representatives in Gjøvik and Ålesund respectively. See election of safety representatives.
Tasks in systematic HSE work:
- Coordinate the activities of the safety representatives in Gjøvik and Ålesund respectively; support them and guide them in their work.
- Work together with the LHVO at the relevant faculty/unit in the central university administration.
- Represent employees in the efforts related to establishing and maintaining systematic HSE work related to on-site activity in Gjøvik and Ålesund respectively.
- Work together with and report to the Vice-Rector.
- Representative in the local working environment committee (AMU).
Senior safety representative (HVO) - duties
The senior safety representative is designated by the unions jointly or elected by and among local senior safety representatives. See Election of safety representatives. The senior safety representative at NTNU is granted 100 % paid time off from their position to carry out the functions of this role.
Tasks in systematic HSE work:
- Coordinate the activities of local senior safety representatives; support them and guide them in their work.
- Be a central driving force in HSE issues.
- Represent employees and safety representatives in central forums and the central efforts to establish and maintain systematic HSE work.
- Permanent member and representative for the safety representative in the working environment committee (AMU).
- Represent the staff in the working environment committee’s subcommittee for building and construction matters ("byggearm") (in Norwegian).
- Participate in the central works council (SESAM). The central senior safety representative may attend as an observer with speaking rights during discussion and negotiation of matters concerning the main agreement, as stated in the Working Environment Act.
- Work together with, and report to, the Rector.
The safety representative must immediately notify the manager of conditions that might lead to an accident or health hazard. The safety representative has the right to stop dangerous work if there is an immediate danger to the lives and health of employees. If possible, have a dialogue with the local senior safety representative before stopping work. The manager, or person representing the manager, must be notified immediately. The safety representative is not liable for financial loss in connection with work that has been stopped.
The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority is the only authority that can terminate a work stoppage.
The senior safety representative cannot override a work stoppage ordered by the safety representative. However, the senior safety representative can stop the work herself/himself.
The safety area must be clearly identified and must not exceed a size that allows the safety representative to have a full overview and carry out his or her tasks in a responsible manner. The working environment committee (AMU) divides the workplace into safety areas.
Change in safety areas
All changes to safety areas must be approved by the AMU.
It is relevant to change the safety area in connection with:
- Organizational changes
- Changes in floor space/land use
- Change in existing premises
- Relocation of the unit to new premises
For the AMU to be able to evaluate an application, it must have the following information:
- Floor plan showing the existing safety area (with colouring to mark the area on each floor)
- Floor plan showing the new safety area (coloured marking)
- Write a short memo including:
- Reasons for wanting to change the area
- Documentation of co-determination and participation in the unit(s), including the views of the safety representative in office
- The date on which the change becomes effective
Duty to have a safety representative
All safety areas must have a safety representative. If no one stands for election as a safety representative, the management of the unit can designate an employee at the unit to take up the position. Read more about election of safety representatives.
Safety representatives at NTNU complete two days of basic training in HSE (the HSE platform). You can sign up for the course using the link in the overview for skills development at NTNU (requires login).
Safety representatives have no duties and no HSE responsibility is assigned to them. Personnel matters are not included in the safety representative’s duties either, but the safety representative can be included in matters related to the work environment. Read more about the structure of the safety representative line at NTNU.
Help and guidelines
- The safety representative's tasks and roles (in Norwegian) - the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
- Nonconformity form (in Norwegian)
- Electing a safety representative
- Safety card
- Safety deputy and organisation of HSE
- HSE Policy
- Safety deputy (in Norwegian) - The Working Environment Act chapter 6
- Safety deputy (in Norwegian) - Regulation of safety deputies and working environment committees
- Working environment committee (AMU)
- Occupational Health Services
- The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, Midt-Norge (in Norwegian)
- HSE department: Anne-Elisabeth Holte
- NTNU Senior Safety Representative May Grete Sætran
Child Pages (2)
Electing a safety representative
All units need to choose a safety representative and a deputy safety representative. This page describes how the safety representative should be chosen. Norsk versjon - Valg av verneombud Topic...
Managers must ensure that there is an updated safety card in a central location in the safety area. The safety card provides information about the safety area, the line managers and the safety...