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The MU has a group of Safety Representatives who can assist you in your workplace. They can be Regional Officials or specially appointed MU members.

The MU and its team of Safety Reps are able to provide in-depth health and safety advice and assistance for employed and self-employed members, on policies and procedures, hearing protection, risk assessments and much more.

There is also a programme of courses and briefing meetings for safety Reps and members to bring them up to speed on H&S issues in the industry.

Workplace Safety Reps are a common place appointment within our Orchestras and Theatre Bands across the UK. Being an appointed Safety Rep gives you rights and protections under the Safety Reps and Safety Committee Regulations 1977. In some cases workplaces will have Safety Committees made up of members to work with Management and the Union to ensure the working environment for musicians is safe.

Role of a Union appointed Safety Rep

  • Be proactive in your workplace to encourage safer working practices
  • Attend Union provided training, with paid time off from your employer (or loss of earnings from the MU for freelancers)
  • Request risk assessments for workplace activities (it is not the responsibility of the rep to compile the risk assessment, it is the responsibility of the employer or engager)
  • Representing members views in health and safety matters
  • Be informed and consulted regarding health and safety matters in your workplace, by your employer or engager
  • Attend workplace health and safety meetings, where appropriate
  • Listen to health and safety concern raised by members (members should follow their normal reporting processes in the first instance)
  • Present colleagues health and safety concerns to management
  • Investigate potential hazards, dangerous occurrences, health and safety complaints, workplace accidents and near misses
  • Do workplace inspections (if possible accompanied by management teams, to engender collaborative working)
  • Feedback to MU Regional teams any on the ground issues or request support as required
  • A Safety Rep must not suffer any detriment or be dismissed as a result of their H&S involvement, your employer should give you paid time off to undertake this work and freelancers can claim a payment from the MU for health and safety work

The Union provides training for workplace safety reps and the appointment must be made by the Union to the employer. For more information on becoming a Safety Rep contact your regional office

Hear from one of our Reps about why they volunteered for the role

Mike O’Donnell, Health and Safety Rep at  Royal Northern Sinfonia says:Mike O’Donnell, Health and Safety Rep

“All employers and contractors have a duty of care to musicians; your health and safety in the workplace is underpinned by extensive primary legislation and statutory instruments. Nevertheless, pressures will always exist be they time-based, financial or otherwise, which may push the welfare of musicians down the agenda.

“The only pressure on the MU - the founding principles will tell you this - is to protect its members. I became a health and safety rep for the MU in 2018, just in time for a pandemic. Up until our industry-wide shutdown, the duties of this role were important, but overnight the role that the MU’s H&S reps perform became urgently crucial.

My commitment to the MU and this role was cemented by the resources and support the MU provided H&S reps during this challenging time, working tirelessly for the safest possible return to work alongside countless other pressures.

“Our experience as musicians on the ground gives us a unique insight, completely independent from that of management. At the MU we have a community of confident, friendly and well-trained H&S reps playing a variety of instruments across all genres, using our insight to negotiate on behalf of our members.

"The group training and collective strength of these H&S reps makes us stronger negotiators, but also encourages active membership and improves our effectiveness on the ground. Experience has taught me that being there to listen to concerns will always be the most important aspect of the role. But trade union representation and exercising our legal right to consultation is the most effective way to make your workplace a healthier and safer environment in which to make music.

“Being personally and at times quite actively involved as an H&S rep for the MU has been a truly rewarding experience.”

Contact the Musicians' Union today

The MU has a network of experienced teams available to help musicians in all areas of the industry. If you have any questions about our services, membership or how the MU could help you, please don't hesitate to get in touch.