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Activist Resources

This report outlines the effects of the last four years

TUC is one of the UK’s most high profile campaigning organisations – and health and safety is one of its top campaigning priorities. Trade union campaigns aim to raise awareness of issues in the workplace and put pressure on decision makers to address these concerns.

Typical campaigns focus on individual safety issues, defending existing rights and calling for new rights, or national and international days of action.

There are many different forms of trade union campaigning, for example:

  • Hazards. Examples would include: Campaigns for legal asbestos controls and for justice for asbestos victims; a successful campaign for an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) on asthma and an awareness raising campaign on the causes and prevention of occupational asthma; awareness raising and hazards spotting tools for workplace Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI); campaigns on workplace stress emphasising the organisational causes that can be remedied by good union safety interventions; and gender perspectives on health and safety, making sure women’s health and hazards are taken into full account in the workplace and in official health and safety policy and practice.
  • Rights. Some TUC campaigns set out to defend health and safety rights and others to extend them. For example the TUC/Hazards loo breaks campaign called for a right for workers not only to have access to a toilet at work but also to have the opportunity to use it. TUC introduced Union Inspection Notices (UINs) as part of its ongoing campaign for greater safety reps’ rights – including Provisional Improvement Notices (PINs), roving safety reps and greater rights to consultation and participation.
  • Events and Days of action. The largest single union day of action is International Workers’ Memorial Day, where trade unions worldwide commemorate those killed, injured or made ill by their work and campaign for the right to a safe and healthy working environment. The day is marked annually on 28 April. Other noteworthy events are the annual European week for health and safety at work and the TUC Work Your Proper Hours Day.


Paul McCarthy, GMB and TUC, spoke at the 2015 ETUC Congress in Paris on the Dying to Work campaign and health and safety at work
05 October 2015
This report outlines the effects of the last four years of the governments deregulatory policies on health and safety on workers.
10 April 2014
Trade unions want a new general duty on directors, under the Health and Safety at Work Act, backed up with an Approved Code of Practice which spells out exactly what directors should do. This new duty would be the biggest driver yet in changing boardroom attitudes towards health and safety.
20 January 2014
This is the seventh bulletin on the 10 health and safety issues that the TUC is campaigning for in the run up to the next election.
19 November 2013
This factsheet looks at the what the law says about temperature in the workplace and the recommended temperatures for different types of working environment.
03 July 2013
Around 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year, and every year more than 150,000 people die from the disease. Estimates of how many are caused through work vary considerably. The HSE has estimated there are around 13,500 new cases of cancer caused by work every year,...
16 May 2013
Dust in the workplace is not just a nuisance... It can be a killer. This factsheet looks at the what the law says about dust in the workplace, why the dust limit is too high, and why regulations need to be properly enforced.
26 April 2013
Official figures show that just under 200 workers die as a result of an injury at work each year. This is 200 too many. However, by the most conservative estimates, at least 20,000 people die prematurely every year because of occupational disease. Between 8,000 and 15,000 die from occupational cancers...
26 March 2013
One of the principles that underpin the Health and Safety at Work Act is the belief that the involvement of the workforce is crucial to achieving good standards of health and safety, and that health and safety systems work best when trade unions and employers work together. In fact the...
06 March 2013
For health and safety laws to be effective, employers must know that if they do not obey the law they could face prosecution.
21 February 2013