As the official accreditation procedure of our safety representative training was successfully completed at the beginning of March, we thought we quickly summarize the most important information and the most common questions on the subject.
Question: Safety representative vs occupational safety specialist. What exactly is the difference?
Answer: There are two separate concepts. The occupational safety specialist may be one of the company’s employees or an external contractor. They are generally responsible for professionally supporting the employer in establishing safe working conditions and in complying with legislation. The occupational safety specialist must have at least a secondary education in this field but there are cases when higher education (diploma) in occupational safety is needed, as certain tasks can only be managed with such qualifications. Compared to this, a safety representative is a person chosen by the company’s employees for five years. He does not need to have any occupational safety or professional qualifications. The main task of safety representatives is to represent the interests of workers regarding daily operation of the company or planning something new. If the company has an occupational safety officer with an employee contract, it cannot be nominated as a safety representative.
Question: Which companies should elect a safety representative?
Answer: Regardless of the industry, any company that has more than 20 employees has to organize the election of the safety representative(s). We wrote about the process and details of the election in an earlier article.
Question: How many safety representatives should a company have?
Answer: There are no specific requirements, but the characteristics of risks and the company must also be taken into account. Safety Centrum recommends that approximately up to 100 persons elect one safety representative; up to 500 two; and above 1000 employees the number of safety representatives should increase by plus one after every 500 employee. This is, of course, only a general recommendation, the unique structure of a particular company may require different numbers (e.g. for a company with 100 employees on two separate sites, it is recommended to choose one-one representative for both sites).
Question: Is it mandatory to participate on safety representative training for the elected representatives?
Answer: The Hungarian law states that the employer must ensure the possibility for the elected safety representatives to attend on a training; but participation is optional only. However, it is highly recommended. If the employees have elected people for example from the field of finances, production or marketing; then the represented employees just cannot expect from the freshly elected colleagues to fully and credibly represent the safety related interests without a basic knowledge about safety. Therefore, participation at training is in any case recommended.
Question: What kind of training is necessary for the one who was elected?
Answer: A Hungarian law amendment that came into force on January 1st says that safety representative training has to be covered by the framework of the Act on Adult Education. This means that when we are looking for training for our elected colleague or ourselves, one of the most important aspects should be the official accreditation of the training company or institution. Only accredited training is acceptable since January 1st.Those who have just been elected and who take the advantage of the offered training possibility, have to attend a 16-hour (2-day) course in the first year. This will be followed by yearly 8-hour (1-day) knowledge refresher training. In case of both training types, the employer needs to provide the necessary time for the representatives to participate.
Question: Does a safety representative training at an accredited company qualify for a mid-level professional training?
Answer: No. The 16-hour training will not entitle participants to fill a position at any company that requires a mid-level or higher safety qualification and knowledge. Learning the whole profession is much more complex and longer than 16 hours. Nevertheless, training may be interesting to those ones as well, who are just interested in the topic, but do not want to commit to a longer yet.
Question: Does the training institution take into account the specifics of industry from where the representatives are coming from?
Answer: Based on our experience, there is a limited opportunity on the market to educate industry-specifics (e.g. food industry, SSC, logistics, manufacturing) during pre-announced and scheduled in advance trainings, because the participants can come from several companies, taking part at the same training at the same time. However, Safety Centrum provides external training as well, which has the great advantage of not having to travel to an external location, and taking into account the profile, culture and the company’s regulations.
Question: What should I do if I have additional questions regarding the officially accredited safety representative training, or if my company want to participate in such training?
Answer: In this case, please feel free to contact us at any of our contact points, we will be happy to help you with any further questions or to organize a personalized training for you.