Does the presence of union officials in a workplace actually help to improve safety and health protection for workers? To try and answer this question, three researchers reviewed the studies done on the matter in Europe. They conclude that having trade union representation leads to better observance of the rules, lower accident rates and fewer work-related health problems. The findings of the study, done under the European EPSARE project, have just been published in a ETUI report.

This publication is the outcome of EPSARE - the European Project on Safety Reps carried out by researchers and trade unionists. It is a condensed version of the report which gives the essentials of an initial assessment of the enabling conditions and factors for the work of safety reps in the European Union (EU). The project reviewed all the available literature, and collected information and knowledge from descriptive studies and key informants. It also developed a theoretical model to describe the key conditions and factors relating to safety reps and their influence on health and safety at work.

This initial report starts with a status review of safety reps in the EU, followed by an analysis of the conditions and factors for effective representation, and concludes by attempting to pinpoint the key needs and challenges for trade unions, safety reps, researchers, policy-makers and government agencies.

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