It's 40 years since trade union health and safety reps had a legal right under the 1977 SRSC Regulations to improve health and safety in the workplace. Let us celebrate the difference this has made to workplaces up and down the country. 

What are we celebrating?

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.

Union safety reps are the key to a safe and healthy workplace

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:

  • helps reduce injuries at work
  • leads to reductions in the levels of ill health caused by work
  • encourages greater reporting of injuries and near-misses
  • makes workers more confident
  • helps develop a more positive safety culture in the organisation
  • saves the economy many millions of pounds.

We need unions today as much as ever

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.

Meet the safety reps making a difference

Meet the safety reps making a difference

Health and safety reps have helped their members, they have helped their employers and they have helped society by keeping people safe. Read some of their inspiring stories 

Related documents

Safety reps @40 - Celebrating making a difference

This leaflet explains the role of the safety rep and how unions make a difference in the workplace.

Download leaflet (PDF)

The union effect

The UK’s network of 100,000 trade union health and safety reps not only help reduce injuries and ill-health at work, but save the economy many millions of pounds. This report looks at the evidence of  how unions make a difference on health and safety.

Download report (PDF)