Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare

Share this page

Activist Resources

Well-being’ has become one of the most over-used phrases in
For more information on Workplace health safety and welfare click here for the relevant chapter of the TUC guide to health and safety "Hazards at Work

Temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting are all major determinants of comfort in the workplace. Yet conditions in workplaces are often unsatisfactory and result in harmful health effects for workers.

In the 2016 TUC safety representatives survey, one in three safety representatives cited high or low temperatures as one of their top concerns. Many workers face extremes of temperature. Examples include those working outdoors, work in cold stores, working near bakery ovens or furnaces. But all workers can experience problems because of hot or cold temperatures. People will complain of discomfort if the heating cannot cope in cold weather or if ventilation is bad when it is hot. Working in the wrong temperature can mean loss of concentration, irritability, tiredness, discomfort and increased accident risks. Too much heat can cause fatigue, dehydration, dizziness and fainting, heat stress and ultimately heat stroke. Cold temperatures affect dexterity and mobility and may increase physical and visual strain, fatigue, and other problems for people with muscular pain, arthritis and heart conditions. The TUC has been campaigning for maximum temperatures at work.

Many office workers have complained for years that the building that they work in is causing them ill health. Self-reported work-related illness surveys have previously shown that between 2,000 and 15,000 office workers suffer from 'sick building'-type symptoms. They believed that the symptoms were caused by their indoor working environment or indoor lighting at work.

Similarly seating, room dimensions and space, and cleanliness are all factors that are important to
workers but are often neglected by employers. It is a similar story when it comes to basic safety features. More than a third of all major injuries reported each year are caused as a result of a slip or trip. Slips or trips are the most common cause of non-fatal major injuries in both manufacturing and service industries.


As temperatures are set to hit over 30 degrees Celsius in parts of the UK this week the South West TUC is calling on employers to temporarily relax workplace dress codes to help staff cope. Health and Safety laws should also be amended to introduce a safe maximum workplace temperature.
20 June 2017
With temperatures hitting over 30degC in parts of the UK this week, the TUC is calling on employers to temporarily relax their workplace dress codes so staff can work through the heatwave as comfortably as possible.
20 June 2017
Photos of GMB's demo outside ASOS, Barnsley, as part of their campaign against the exploitation and abuse of workers there.
14 October 2016
Well-being’ has become one of the most over-used phrases in the English language. It helps sell anything from yoghurt to holidays, pillows to pills. For some people the phrase refers to levels of happiness, while others think of it as a healthy body and mind. There is even a national...
11 December 2015
Too many workers are facing difficulty getting a toilet break at work, research by Unite has found. The union, which has launched a national toilet breaks campaign, says mobile workers, for example delivery drivers, can be particularly badly affected. But it says problems have been encountered in diverse workplaces from...
21 August 2015
A new report published today (Monday) by the TUC says workers have been experiencing a significant increase in stress, which in some cases has led to mental ill health, as a result of the impact of austerity on their work and home lives. The report is based on a seminar...
30 March 2015
With the temperatures likely to hit the low 30°Cs tomorrow (Friday) across the South East, and the mid to high 20°Cs in other parts of England and Wales, the TUC is calling on employers to temporarily relax workplace dress codes to help their staff work through the heatwave as comfortably...
17 July 2014
Council cuts to public conveniences are leaving workers with no place to go, the public sector union UNISON has warned.
23 August 2013
Sweltering workers struggling to cope in this summer's heat wave need legal protection, the TUC has said.
19 July 2013
A trade union manifesto for reclaiming health and safety at work.
08 February 2013