The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 is the primary piece of regulation covering union health and safety representatives and is, along with the parent act, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, one of the most important pieces of regulation for unions working on health and safety. It has also had a huge effect in saving lives and preventing injury and illness.
We often forget that union health and safety representatives are volunteers doing the job because we want to actually make a difference in the workplace so let’s use the occasion to celebrate the massive difference we have made.
The TUC will use the 40th anniversary of the regulations to celebrate our union health and safety reps. We will be running a campaign which will launch on Wednesday 25th October 2017 (National Inspection Day) and finish on Workers Memorial Day on 28th April 2018.
Although much of the campaign will be grounded in celebrating the past successes of union safety reps, it will also focus on the future, making the case for union involvement in health and safety over the coming 40 years.
Safety reps are most effective tool that we have in ensuring good health and safety at work is trade unions, because organised workplaces are safer workplaces. We now have around 100,000 trade union safety representatives and the work that they do:
At a time when health and safety is under attack by politicians who see good regulation as ‘red tape’, by employers who ride roughshod over the laws, and by a big fall in inspections and enforcement, we need trade unions more than ever before.
The only employers who fear us are those who want to cut corners and take risks with our lives. Good employers are already working with unions: we need the rest to start recognising the benefits that unions can bring. We also need government to stop attacking unions and instead do more to ensure that employers are consulting with unions so that everyone can have the benefits that unions bring.