Report confirms 'strong' union safety effect
Workplace injuries would be slashed 'at a stroke' if all workplaces had a union health and safety rep, a new TUC report has concluded. According TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson, author the 2011 edition of TUC's 'The Union Effect' report, 'the new evidence shows that the union effect is just as strong as ever.' He points to government figures showing 'British industry saved between £181m and £578m each year as a result of lost time reduction from occupational injuries and work-related illnesses of between 286,000 and 616,000 days as a result of trade union representatives.' However, he warns that too many employers are denying union safety reps the time off they need, and only just over a quarter consult automatically with safety reps on a regular basis. The worst problem, however, is in those workplaces that are not unionised, the TUC safety specialist said. 'The facts outlined in this report are indisputable. Trade union health and safety representatives prevent hundreds of thousands of injuries and illnesses every year and, at the same time save employers millions of pounds. Yet the positive effect this band of volunteers has goes almost totally unrecognised by employers and the government.' He added that the new briefing 'shows that the most effective thing that the government could do to protect workers would be to enforce and strengthen the current consultation regulations. If every workplace had a union safety representative we could cut the number of fatalities and injuries at a stroke.'
Issued: 15 July, 2011