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The presence of union safety reps prevents thousands of major injuries at work every year. And there's an army of them out there. Unionlearn has trained over 320,000 trade union safety reps; with 10,000 more trained each year. The more trade union training the reps get, the more marked the "union safety effect."

The TUC training programme provides technical and legal information; the health, safety and welfare courses also aim to help safety reps understand general procedures for coping with the wide range of hazards that may come their way.

Trained reps are at the cutting edge when it comes to addressing the new hazards of the 21st century. According to an HSE evaluation, trade union safety training is "an important stimulus for taking up 'new issues' in health and safety." It found, for example, gender sensitive strategies, stress surveys, representing workers offsite, participatory risk assessment and work organisation.

The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations give union reps the right to attend in paid work time union-approved safety courses, although employers are sometimes reluctant to approve requests. Where reps are denied access to union safety training, they can take the case to an employment tribunal.
All workers must be provided the training they require to do other jobs safely.


Hazards at work - TUC guide to health and safety. Also know as "The Safety Reps' Bible" with over 30 chapters covering types of hazards, summaries of the law, dealing with accidents, and checklists for action. ISBN: 1 85006 368 0. Member price: £20.00; educational price: £30.00; non-member price: £45.00. Yearly update: £5.00. From TUC Publications.

The TUC has also produced a workbook for representatives on occupational health issues. TUC Workbook: Occupational Health


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