Champions Of Labor For More Than 40 Years

How do unions work to help ensure safe working conditions?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Union Representation |

The safety of workers in New York must be taken seriously. Throughout the years, new regulations and laws have gone into effect that help to protect these workers. Unions have played a primary role in these changes, many of which also benefit non-unionized workers.

Through collective bargaining, legislative advocacy and safety training programs, unions contribute significantly to creating safer work environments across various industries. This involvement benefits union members and sets safety benchmarks that can positively impact the broader workforce.

Collective bargaining for safer conditions

One of the primary ways unions improve safety conditions is through collective bargaining agreements. These agreements often include specific provisions related to workplace safety. Some common example include requiring protective gear, mandating regular safety audits and establishing protocols for handling hazardous materials.

Legislative advocacy

Unions also play a crucial role in legislative advocacy, pushing for laws and regulations that promote worker safety, such as having access to clean rest areas and having suitable breaks. They lobby for stricter safety standards, better enforcement of existing laws and penalties for violations.

Safety training and education

Unions often organize and provide safety training and education programs for their members. These programs cover a wide range of topics, from basic first aid to the handling of complex machinery. This training not only benefits the individual workers but also contributes to a culture of safety within the workplace.

Support for injured workers

When accidents occur, unions support injured workers by helping them navigate the workers’ compensation system and advocating for their rights to ensure they receive appropriate medical care and compensation. This support can also extend to helping workers return to their jobs or retrain for new positions.

Monitoring and enforcement

Unions are vigilant in monitoring workplace conditions and enforcing safety standards. They often have safety committees or representatives who conduct regular inspections and report violations. These representatives work closely with management to address safety concerns promptly.

In cases where employers are resistant to making necessary changes, unions may use various tactics, including legal action, to compel compliance with safety standards. Labor unions that are moved to legal action should ensure they understand what steps they should take to operate most effectively in this regard, which generally requires the assistance of a legal representative familiar with these matters.