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Do unions make a difference?
Yes. Safety studies reveal that serious accident and ill health levels are lower in unionised workplaces. You are twice as likely to be injured in a non-union workplace. If your employer recognises a union, you have the right to elect health and safety representatives, and your employer must set up a health and safety committee.
Evidence for the union safety effect is set out in this 2015 report by the TUC: How unions make a difference to health and safety: the union effect (PDF, 189KB).
Since their earliest days, trade unions have treated health and safety at work as one of their concerns. Today, unions bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to workplace safety:
- Unions offer expertise and legal support to those facing work-related ill health or injury.
- They are represented at the highest levels, for example, on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and government health and safety advisory bodies.
- Union safety research has a long history of influencing new safety legislation.
- Unions seek to work closely with employers to improve day-to-day workplace safety standards.