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About this resource

This resource is designed to help you achieve more members and a more active membership, with a greater number of health and safety representatives. It will make you more effective on the ground – where real gains can be made – and help create a greater culture of safety in your workplace. This guide contains a number of different sections that can be used together, or individual ones may be of particular use to your needs and situation.

An effective union needs two things: the first is a strong membership within the workplace; the second is high membership involvement. By encouraging members to participate, much more can be achieved than if members expect the union to ‘sort things out’.

This resource will make you more effective on the ground – where real gains can be made – and help create a greater culture of safety in your workplace.

You can do this by:

  • involving members in identifying issues, finding solutions and dealing with problems
  • increasing the number of confident, trained health and safety representatives who are representative of the workplace they come from
  • dealing with problems early, when they are manageable, rather than leaving them to get worse
  • improving negotiating strength.

We know that union health and safety representatives make a difference in the workplace: those with union representatives and joint safety committees have half the major injury rate of those without. Health and safety is one of the main reasons that people join a trade union. Over two million people have an injury or illness that was caused or made worse from work and more than 28 million working days are lost every year as a result of work-related injuries and ill health. The HSE estimates the cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions to be £14.2bn, but of course the human cost is much greater.

There is a lot to be done and, of course, if there are a number of union representatives in your workplace you can work together to get the most out of any organising campaigning.

Download guide (pdf)

Health and Safety and Organising - A guide for reps

PDF version

The PDF version is compatible for desktop reading and to print off.

Download Health and Safety and Organising guide - PDF version


Unlike pdfs, e-books are designed to be responsive to the screen or window size. The content will reflow accordingly, and the text size can be altered too. They work on PCs; Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch; Android phones; tablets; and e-readers like Kobo. Find out how to use an e-book below.

Download Health and Safety and Organising guide - E-book version

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