European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

Safety reps

Employee representation is central to any workplace health policy. But in most European countries, large numbers of workers have no such representation.

Structured worker representation is the precondition for workers to play into health and safety. Many surveys have shown that a direct connection exists between a company having a workers' representation body and the quality of workplace prevention policy.

Just having such a representation body is not necessarily enough to ensure effective participation, but experience shows that where such representation is lacking, the forms of direct participation sometimes propounded by employers are just a smokescreen.

In all but a very few cases, there is a general lack of knowledge and debate about the factors and conditions by which workers' reps can exercise a key role in a preventive strategy.

For the trade union movement, the coverage of all the workers by forms of health and safety representation is a major objective for the coming years.


Regional forums on health and safety at work 14 years after EU enlargement

4 June 2018

The ETUI recently held two regional meetings with trade unions from Balkan countries and Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) on occupational health and safety issues. The meetings took place in Bucharest (February) and Prague (March). The main objective was to facilitate exchanges of experiences and good practices in the areas of workers’ compensation and occupational health services. The meetings also looked at joint trade union strategies to promote healthier working conditions via the media.

Half as many workplace accidents among young people educated in occupational safety and health

12 February 2018

According to the results of an epidemiological study carried out by France’s National Research and Safety Institute (INRS), young people below the age of 25 who have received education on occupational health and safety during their schooling have half as many accidents at work than those who have not.

France: Government announces plans to abolish Health, Safety and Working Conditions Committees

4 September 2017

On 31 August 2017, the French Ministry of Labour published proposed amendments to the Labour Code. One of the changes – introduced by President Macron in response to employer demands – relates to the abolition of Health, Safety and Working Conditions Committees, which will be merged together with other staff representative bodies in a single ‘Works Council’.

Health and safety protections for workers are at risk from government’s Brexit plans, says TUC

22 May 2017

On 17 May 2017, the TUC has published a new briefing, Protecting Health and Safety after Brexit, which warns trade unionists and working people that health and safety protections are at risk from the government’s Brexit plans.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work: the ETUC denounces inequalities in terms of health and safety at work

2 May 2017

This year, the international labour movement had placed the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, celebrated every 28 April, under the issue of the impact of discriminations on workers’ health and safety. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has delivered a message focused on the risks encountered by some specific categories of workers.


Laurent Vogel Senior Researcher

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