EU legislation means that in all EU states there are structures providing employee representation in the area of health and safety. However, there are differences in how this representation is organised. A combination of employee health and safety representatives with their own powers and a joint employee/employer committee is the structure used most frequently, but other states only have joint committees, some only have employee representatives, while in others the existing works council plays the key role. The way employee health and safety representatives are chosen also varies: in around half of the countries they are elected directly by the workforce, while in the others existing bodies, such as unions or works councils, choose them. There are also variations in the thresholds for choosing representatives and setting up committees as well as in their powers.
An increasing number of agreements on the setting up of European works councils or SE works councils contain provision for training of representatives to be financed by the firm. In this framework, the ETUI Education Department organises made-to-measure courses in response to requests from European works councils, SE works councils and Special Negotiating Bodies (SNBs).