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We spend a lot of our lives at work. When we’re healthy, happy and safe there, our lives are better overall. But problems at work can have serious consequences for our mental and physical health.

At worst, working people are seriously injured or killed in avoidable workplace accidents. Thankfully, incidents like these are relatively rare.

But work-related health problems can affect anyone and some are very common, such as headaches, back problems or stress.

There are steps you can take to keep well at work, but your employer also has certain legal obligations. If they’re putting you at risk of illness or injury, you can take action.

Very often, the best way to solve problems is to join with co-workers and try to reach agreement with your employers on how to make the workplace safer and healthier for everyone. 

Unions are experts on workplace health and safety and have campaigned for many years in this area. The evidence shows that workplaces where unions are recognised are safer workplaces.

This section offers basic information on health, safety and wellbeing at work. But it shouldn't be taken as legal advice. If you’re having specific problems in one of these areas, you should seek individual advice from your union or a qualified adviser.

Support for health and safety reps 

You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section

Disability Equality Adviser Carl has over 200 active cases
credit: Steve Allen
Since I became a Disability Advisor six years ago, the company hasn’t been to an employment tribunal on the grounds of disability discrimination.
Carl, GMB, Prospect and UNITE
What are the legal duties of my employer to ensure my health, safety and welfare at work?
All employers have a duty of care to their workers
As an employee, what legal duties are placed on me in respect of health and safety?
You must exercise reasonable skill and care in your relationship with your employer and colleagues.
I’ve heard about a ‘duty of care’ on my employer. What is it?
Both the employer and employee have a common-law duty of care to each other and to other employees. This means exercising reasonable skill and care in the employment relationship.
Celebrating 40 years of union safety reps making a difference. Safety reps @ 40
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