Staff Safety Reps

Staff Safety Representatives 2018 to 2023 (UCC Staff Selected)

Foreword - Extended Term of Office

2021 Update

As of  February 2021 the sitting designated staff safety representatives requested an extension of their term and subsequently agreed to avail of an offer from the Corporate Secretary to remain on as Safety Representatives until 28/2/2023. This is to facilitate continuity of experience and training in circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the interunion group to organise replacements via elections to be held in Q3 of 2022.


Following a nomination process facilitated by the UCC IUG group in Feb 2018 with a comprehensive 5 day training course to be organised by the University for first time safety reps in Q2 2018, the 8 self-nominated volunteers who the IUG have advised will now operate as Staff Safety Reps on behalf of UCC staff is listed in the section following below. (These replace previous incumbents whose period of office expired March 2018)

Commencing 01-03-18, the Staff Safety Representatives, including designated replacement representatives, will operate until 28/02/2023 (extending the original 3-year term). UCC Staff Safety Reps are divided into three constituencies and these are outlined in the table below along with the relevant contact details, (+) designates statutory entitlements per SHWW Law to make representations on behalf of staff. Staff Safety Reps represent UCC staff (not Unions or the H&S Office or other employers on UCC sites).

Note: Staff safety consultation and resolution of safety issues remains focused on normal departmental interactions and use of normal University mechanisms.

In all cases, staff should raise and attempt to resolve genuine health or safety issue through normal department /School/College/ Functional Area line management channels - commensurate with line management responsibility for h&s at UCC under UCC Safety Policy, the existence of genuine risk (versus perceived) and with regard to the actual level of risk within the originating department, reasonable timelines for consideration & resolution and line manager obligations to manage and prioritise actions based on risk assessment/risk  levels, as far as is reasonably practicable principles and the availability of resources for competing risk priorities.

Safety Representatives may be contacted for ‘advice’ or ‘guidance’ if staff feel that a specific problem cannot be addressed locally through the normal channels, having firstly utilized such channels.

Line management, including Principal Investigators, are obliged under SHWW law to a) consult with staff and Safety Reps and b) give due consideration to safety issues raised by staff and Safety Reps. Responsibility for managing of h&s however rests with the line manager/PI/Head of School/Department. (This includes any/all decisions and actions management deem appropriate with regard to compliance with UCC Safety Policy and SHWW law, risk assessment and prioritisation of competing h&s risks/actions).

Footnote: Staff Safety Representatives discharge a voluntary, unremunerated role. Their activities relate only to UCC Staff. Staff Safety Representatives have legal entitlements without any legal responsibilities attaching. Staff Safety Representatives at UCC operate independent of both the H&S Office and every UCC Safety Advisor. Staff Safety Representatives may suggest actions to be considered by management and staff but may not direct management or staff actions.

Current Staff Safety Representatives

For the period 2018 to 2023. 

Central Constituency

Staff Safety Representative (+)

Functional Area

UCC extension #

Dr. Donnacha O' Connell*^



Verdi Ahern

Student Experience


Gary Hurley

International Office


Orna Hayes

Adult Continuing Education





Western Constituency

Staff Safety Representative (+)

Gerry Moloney







Eastern Constituency

Staff Safety Representative (+)

Eileen Hurley*



Dermot Houston



The following is an outline of the UCC areas in the various constituencies. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of buildings.

East Constituency: Connolly Building (Pres), Tyndall, Enterprise Centre, St. Vincent’s and all other properties and work areas within the constituency incl Haulbowline/Ringaskiddy and Farranferris to the east.

West Constituency: Brookfield, Western Gateway, Dental Hospital, various departments at Cork University Hospital, and all other properties and work areas within the constituency incl facilities at Pouladuff Togher, Sarsfield road and UCC sports grounds in Bishopstown, Lough Hyne and Dun Chiomhain. (Excluding Campus Accommodation Facilities - independently controlled).

Main Campus: All properties and work areas on the Central campus UCC including the buildings located off the major roads framing the main Campus , the Mardyke Sports Grounds externally & the PE Office ( excluding Aras na Mac Leinn, the Honan Church, the Mardyke Arena and Campus Accommodation Facilities - all independently controlled).

Foot Note* designates a previously trained Safety Rep. ^ indicates outgoing group chair.



Frequently Asked Questions - UCC Staff Safety Representatives

1. How did the Staff Safety Representative role come into being?

  • In accordance wth the SHWW Act 2005, Employees are entitled to select a Safety Representative, to represent them on Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare (OH&S) issues with their Employer
  • The Act requires the employer to consult with employees

2. Does the Staff Safety Representative role have duties?

  • No. Under the 2005 Act, other than the Safety & Health duties that apply to employees generally, a Staff Safety Representative does not have any duties, but has functions
  • If a Safety Rep needs to perform these functions during the working day, they can request reasonable time off for this

3. Can you describe a typical day in the life of a Staff Safety Representative in UCC?

  • There is a Team of UCC's Safety Reps distributed throughout the University
  • Most days are normal working days, however when and if an OH&S issue arises, Safety Reps may be able to assist with a small but important input

4. What support is available for someone starting as a new Staff Safety Represenative?

  • Any staff member interested in putting their name forward for the role of a Safety Rep can be assured of the following:
    • That the University will organise all the training they require to be confident in carrying out the role successfully
    • That experience in the role is gained over time
    • That they will never feel alone and will be very much a part of a team, able to contact one of their fellow Staff Safety Reps for assistance whenever they need it
    • That there will be additional opportunities to gain relevant CPD

5. What is the function of the Staff Safety Representative in UCC?

  • As a Safety Rep, you will contribute to a safer and healthier environment for staff, students and visitors. From time to time, Safety Reps may:
    1. Represent staff on Safety, Health and Welfare matters (e.g. on a Safety Action Team/Committee or other group)
    2. Carry out safety tours of workplaces on request
    3. Review Accident/Dangerous Occurrence reports and contribute if appropriate
    4. Contribute to initiatives that improve Safety Culture, raise Safety, Health & Welfare awareness etc., all very much focused on the employees point of view

6. Is there a forum whereby employees can have their views heard about Safety, Health and Welfare matters?

  • University Functional Areas may have one or more groups that come together periodically, to consult/collaborate/review performance on Occupational Safety & Health matters in their area. Theses groups are generally comprised of employer and employee representatives, from all areas, served by that group. UCC Staff Safety Reps are often invited to attend these groups
  • The key function of the Safety Rep is to facilitate consultation on Safety, Health & Welfare between employer and employees
  • The University has a Safety Representative Forum. The aim of the Forum is to enhance the Safety, Health and Welfare of employees at work and help safeguard students and others affected by the work of UCC and secure legal compliance through consultation.

7. What is the procedure if a member of staff wants to resolve a Safety, Health and Welfare issue?

  • In the first instance, staff should report any issues to their line manager. However, if they require, they can ask for the assistance of one of their Safety Reps
  • Notwithstanding the above, staff can approach their Safety Repo for assistance at any time, which fully respecting the role of Line Management regarding Safety, Health and Welfare. The initial assistance involves:
    • Clarifying that nobody is in immediate danger, and the situation has been made safe
    • Asking the staff member if normal procedures have been followed in the first instance. In most cases this would lead to a successful resolution. In the event it is not successful, a person can escalate to the next level or process it with their Safety Rep
  • Safety Reps are always available to carry out safety tours of workplaces for staff, on request. However, in the event of an imminent danger, communication would be initiated for immediate investigation/appropriate action.
  • In circumstances where Safety Reps are made aware of imminent danger, immedicate action should be taken to address the risk. If not already done, this should also be brought to the attention of the responsible person or manager.

8. What is the procedure for investigating an Accident or Dangerous Occurrence?

  • As a Staff Safety Rep, you are automatically consulted on Accident/Dangerous Occurrences
  • Part of the Safety Rep's rights include monitoring the incoming reports and contributing if appropriate

9. Apart from investigating Accidents, conducting Safety Tours, attending periodic meetings, what other activities does a Staff Safety Rep get involved in?

The following are some of the Awareness/Safety Culture Seminars organised for Staff, by the Safety Rep Team in the past:

  • HSA's On-line Risk Assessment Tool (lunchtime seminar)
  • Chemical Safety Compliance with the SHWW (Chemical Agents) Regulations, 2001 IT Tool that can help you (lunchtime seminar)
  • Going forward we hope to be present at the President's Orientation/Information Café.

10. Why would someone consider taking on the role of UCC Staff Safety Representative?

  • There is a longstanding history of UCC Staff volunteering for roles extracurricular to their normal work duties, for the benefit of the University Community. Putting yourself forward for the role of Staff Safety Representative falls into this category.
  • As a Staff Safety Rep, even though you are contributing mainly in the background, you benefit from:
    • the camaraderie of being part of a highly motivated team
    • the professional development, training and experience gained
    • the huge satisfaction of helping others
    • working for the greater good of the University Community.

Health & Safety Office

Sláinte agus Sábháilteacht

5 Carrigside, College Road, Cork