The South West TUC has called on the government not to put the brakes on the region's improving safety record at work.
There has been a downward trend in workplace injuries in the region but, with eight people killed in the course of their work last year, the TUC says David Cameron is wrong to halve the number of health and safety regulations.
Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary of the South West TUC, said: "The Prime Minister's comments about 'killing' health and safety culture show just how out of touch with the reality of working life he is. While we welcome the news safety at work is improving in the South West, eight deaths are still eight too many."
In the South West last year 2,120 people suffered major injuries and an estimated 200,000 people suffered from an illness that was caused or made worse by their work. In total, 1.9m days were lost to work-related injury and work-related ill health.
In January 2007 the government published a report which said that safety representatives save society between £181m and £578m each year as a result of lost time reduction from occupational injuries and work-related illnesses of between 286,000 and 616,000 days.
Nigel Costley said: "Trade union reps are the unsung heroes of Britain's workplaces, advising millions of union members, and volunteering their time and energy for free simply to help and support their work colleagues."
The South West TUC is next week (February 8th) at City of Bristol College holding a free conference for health and safety reps and has published a manual providing practical advice on issues they are likely to encounter in the workplace.
Nigel Costley said: "The conference already has 180 delegates, which shows the dedication and commitment of reps in the South West to making work safer for them and their colleagues. Even if health and safety is not an issue that concerns the government, it certainly concerns working people."
Issued: 1 February, 2012