Representatives in the occupational health and safety organisation

Management representative

The head of department/head of school/centre director/deputy director is legally responsible for occupational health and safety in the unit, and it is therefore natural that this person has a place in the occupational health and safety organisation.

Cooperation in the occupational health and safety group

The manager and the occupational health and safety representative together make up the occupational health and safety group. The cooperation between the manager and the occupational health and safety representative is at the heart of the unit’s occupational health and safety efforts.

Management representatives are appointed

The head of department/head of school, centre director or deputy director appoints the management representatives to the department’s/school’s/unit’s occupational health and safety groups.

The management representative is usually the manager who is directly responsible for managing and thus directly responsible for supervising the work within the occupational health and safety group’s area. The head of department/head of school can thus be the management representative.

The management representative’s responsibilities and duties

The manager must help to ensure safe and healthy working conditions within the occupational health and safety group’s area.  The manager makes decisions in the respective occupational health and safety forums following dialogue with the occupational health and safety representatives.

By virtue of the manager’s position, the manager has a special responsibility for ensuring that the work of the occupational health and safety group is efficient and preventive. Staff and students must be familiar with the risks associated with the work, they must have received the necessary instruction, they must work under safe working conditions and perform their work in a way that upholds satisfactory occupational standards.

The management representative plays an important role in the daily work, and must signal to all employees that the occupational health and safety work is an important and integral part of the work at the department/school/unit.

The manager in the occupational health and safety group must complete the statutory occupational health and safety training course  no later than three months after having been appointed, unless the manager has already done the course.

The occupational health and safety training course:

  • Is a 3 day course
  • Provides specific knowledge about occupational health and safety
  • Introduces methods for systematic occupational health and safety efforts.

The manager is also entitled to:

  • 2 days of supplementary training within the first year
  • One and a half days of supplementary training in each of the following years.

Occupational health and safety representative

What does an occupational health and safety representative do?

  • Occupational health and safety representatives are part of the occupational health and safety group and play an important role in:
  • Supporting management to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.
  • Acting as the contact between employees and managers and passing on information that helps to create a good work environment.
  • Creating focus on daily occupational health and safety, and preventing occupational health and safety problems.
  • Participating in local workplace assessment (WPA) work.
  • Analysing and preventing work-related accidents.

Cooperation in the occupational health and safety group

The management representative and the occupational health and safety representative together make up the occupational health and safety group. The cooperation between the management representative and the occupational health and safety representative is at the heart of the unit’s occupational health and safety efforts.

Election of occupational health and safety representative

An occupational health and safety representative is elected by the employees in the area to which the employee belongs, and which the occupational health and safety group covers – for example a small department/school or part of a department/school. The occupational health and safety representative is an important role model in the joint efforts to improve the work environment, and it is important that the occupational health and safety representative understands that he/she represents all the colleagues in the area which the occupational health and safety group covers. If no occupational health and safety representative is elected, the manager is the only member of the occupational health and safety group until the employees elect a representative.

How to become an occupational health and safety representative

As an AU employee, you are eligible to be nominated for election as an occupational health and safety representative if you have been employed at AU for at least nine months. The occupational health and safety representative is elected by and from among all employees within the area covered by the representative, irrespective of professional affiliation.

Occupational health and safety representatives are elected for a term (election period) of three years.

Rights and obligations

The manager must ensure that the occupational health and safety representative has the necessary time to handle the occupational health and safety work within normal working hours.

The occupational health and safety representative cannot resign from his/her position during the term of office, unless he/she leaves the workplace, the work area or is absent for a minimum of four months, for example due to leave or illness. The occupational health and safety representative cannot be forced out of his/her position.

Occupational health and safety training

A newly elected occupational health and safety representative must complete the statutory occupational health and safety training course no later than three months after the election, unless he/she has already done the course.

The occupational health and safety training course:

  • Is a 3-day course
  • Provides specific knowledge about occupational health and safety
  • Introduces methods for systematic occupational health and safety efforts.

The occupational health and safety representative is also entitled to

  • 2 days of supplementary training within the first year.
  • One and a half days of supplementary training in each of the following years.

Occupational health and safety manager or coordinator

A department/school/centre/administrative division can choose to establish an occupational health and safety manager/coordinator function if deemed necessary. The occupational health and safety manager/coordinator advises the unit’s management, and anchors the occupational health and safety work within the unit to ensure safe and healthy working conditions.

An occupational health and safety manager/coordinator works with the local occupational health and safety organisation on the unit’s overall occupational health and safety efforts. An important function is to ensure that decisions are implemented.

Making things happen

The task of the occupational health and safety manager/coordinator is to coordinate the occupational health and safety work and ensure that it works on an everyday basis. The occupational health and safety manager/coordinator must ensure progress in connection with the occupational health and safety tasks, for example the workplace assessment (WPA), that occupational health and safety is considered in connection with construction projects, the registration of chemicals etc. by following up on the tasks between the meetings of the occupational health and safety committee.

An occupational health and safety manager/coordinator can act as the contact between the Local Occupational Health and Safety Committee and internal or external consultants.

Who can become an occupational health and safety manager

The occupational health and safety manager/coordinator is appointed/employed by the head of the unit. The choice can, for example, fall on one of the members of the local occupational health and safety committee or a person who is employed to handle the occupational health and safety work in collaboration with the occupational health and safety organisation. The head of department/head of school/centre director/deputy director can choose to delegate some of the tasks of the occupational health and safety manager/coordinator  , e.g. co-ordinating the workplace assessment, to other employees if this is deemed to be the most expedient way of organising the occupational health and safety work.

The head of department/head of school/centre director/deputy director can assume the role and handle the tasks if no occupational health and safety manager/coordinator is appointed. The employer (head of department/head of school/centre director/deputy director) is always formally responsible for occupational health and safety within his/her management area.

The tasks of the occupational health and safety manager/coordinator include:

  • Participating in the Local Occupational Health and Safety Committee’s meetings and ensuring that the occupational health and safety efforts are implemented.
  • Creating an overview and systematising the unit’s occupational health and safety work.
  • Keeping the unit updated on new rules and legislation within the field of occupational health and safety of relevance for employees at the department/school.
  • Advising the unit’s management so it can perform its responsibilities for the work environment.
  • Acting as a coordinator for the special AU efforts to improve the work environment e.g. the workplace assessment.
  • Preparing and maintaining work environment/safety instructions, for example for laboratories and fieldwork.
  • Participating in the supervisory visits from the Danish Working Environment Authority and assisting in handling any orders imposed.
  • Coordinating and ensuring the involvement of relevant occupational health and safety groups/committees in connection with local occupational health and safety initiatives, e.g. construction projects.
  • Keeping AU HR (Development and Work Environment) updated on members of the occupational health and safety groups/committee.

Student representative in AU’s occupational health and safety organisation

The study environment and the university’s work environment affect your time at AU, and there are several ways in which you can influence the physical environment on campus. AU wants to further develop an attractive study environment, and one of the university’s goals is to develop the physical surroundings to create a good study environment in step with changing needs. The students are therefore a natural part of AU’s occupational health and safety organisation. If you are elected as a student representative, you must look after the interests of the students and help to improve the study environment.

AU works with the work environment at department/school level, at faculty level and at the uppermost coordinating level in the Main

Occupational Health and Safety Committee (HAMU). Students can be represented at all levels.

How to become a student representative:

Occupational health and safety group:

Students can be represented in the local occupational health and safety group. The election to the occupational health and safety group generally takes place through the students’ local degree programme councils.

Student participation in the occupational health and safety organisation is regulated by the Act on the Educational Environment for Students (Lov om elevers og studerendes undervisningsmiljø).

Local Occupational Health and Safety Committee (LAMU):

The student representatives in the occupational health and safety groups can also elect a representative with observer status to the Local Occupational Health and Safety Committee (LAMU).

Faculty Occupational Health and Safety Committee (FAMU):

The student representatives in LAMU can elect a representative to the faculty’s occupational health and safety committee. If there are no student members on the local committees, the student representatives can be elected by the student councils at the individual faculties.

Main Occupational Health and Safety Committee (HAMU):

The student representatives in FAMU can elect a representative to the Main Occupational Health and Safety Committee. If there are no student members on these committees, the Student Council at AU elects a representative to the committee.

The tasks of the student representative include:

  • Including the occupational health and safety problems of students in the work of the occupational health and safety organisation.
  • Participating in the work surrounding the educational environment assessments (UMV), which take place every three years.
  • Contributing input from students on the physical teaching environment in connection with construction projects, for example the interior design of classrooms, communal areas, canteens.
  • Helping to create a good working relationship in the occupational health and safety group and with the rest of the occupational health and safety organisation.

Occupational health and safety training

A student representative can participate in the occupational health and safety training course which is mandatory for all management representatives and occupational health and safety representatives. The course lasts three days and gives thorough insights into the occupational health and safety rules.