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Health and Safety


The presence of union safety reps prevents thousands of major injuries at work every year (Hazards 78). And there's an army of them out there. TUC Education has trained over 320,000 trade union safety reps; with 10,000 more trained each year. The more trade union training the reps get, the more marked the "union safety effect."

The TUC training programme provides technical and legal information; the health, safety and welfare courses also aim to help safety reps understand general procedures for coping with the wide range of hazards that may come their way.

Trained reps are at the cutting edge when it comes to addressing the new hazards of the 21st century. According to an HSE evaluation, trade union safety training is "an important stimulus for taking up 'new issues' in health and safety." It found, for example, gender sensitive strategies, stress surveys, representing workers offsite, participatory risk assessment and work organisation.

The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations give union reps the right to attend in paid work time union-approved safety courses, although employers are sometimes reluctant to approve requests. Where reps are denied access to union safety training, they can take the case to an employment tribunal.
All workers must be provided the training they require to do other jobs safely.


Hazards at work - TUC guide to health and safety. Also know as "The Safety Reps' Bible" with over 30 chapters covering types of hazards, summaries of the law, dealing with accidents, and checklists for action. ISBN: 1 85006 368 0. Member price: £20.00; educational price: £30.00; non-member price: £45.00. Yearly update: £5.00. From TUC Publications

Hazards union rep safety training briefing

TUC Education Service

TUC Learning Services

Time off for learning, TUC briefing

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

New safety qualification for young people
A new qualification has been designed to improve young people's understanding of safe working when taking part in work experience.
PDF version available for download
10 November 2006

Top safety qualification heads for cyberspace
TUC's top level safety reps' training course will soon be available online.
PDF version available for download
2 September 2005

4.9 million lost work days is a pain in the back
British businesses lose an estimated 4.9 million days to employee absenteeism through work related back pain – with the North East suffering more than most, with 2 people in every hundred having to cope with the condition. With each affected employee taking an average of 19 days off work this is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed.
28 June 2005

Language barriers mean new dangers at work
Concern that migrant workers could be missing out on crucial health and safety training because their employers are not providing safety material in any language other than English has prompted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the TUC to publish today (Thursday) a new safety leaflet translated into 19 different languages.
9 December 2004

London seeks to lead Britain in the challenge to secure better health and safety at work
A world class city must have world class workplaces, that means aspiring to and achieving world class standards of health and safety at work – not for some, but for all. And the roadmap for turning that dream into a reality includes there being a health and safety rep in every workplace in London and a positive and meaningful partnership between that rep, the employer, unions and the Health and Safety Executive. Those are the key messages from an event (today) organised by HSE London and the Southern and Eastern Region TUC for more than 200 London based health and safety reps.
19 November 2004

Union safety reps call for better health and safety training for bosses and workers
To coincide with the start of North East Focus on Europe Week, the TUC has examined the impact the European Union has had on workplace health and safety in the Region.
9 May 2003

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