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The TUC marked the 40th anniversary of the Safety Reps Act 1977 giving legal rights to union health and safety representatives by highlighting their work.

There are around 100,000 local safety officers, helping to cut injuries and ill-health and encourage better reporting of incidents, saving the economy millions of pounds every year, said the TUC.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Health and safety is under attack by politicians who see good regulation as ‘red tape’, and bosses who want to cut corners and risk lives. Big falls in inspections and cuts to enforcement are making working life more dangerous for us all.

“But good employers are already working with unions and know the benefits safety reps can bring to their workplaces. Not just by keeping their staff safe and well, but also by saving the economy hundreds of millions of pounds every year.

“We often forget that union health and safety representatives are volunteers doing this job because they care about their colleagues’ well-being.”

The TUC said employers who have union health and safety committees have half the injury rate of others, while the number of fatal accidents are lower in unionised workplaces.

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