UNISON National

From explosions to asbestos – the history of health and safety

This week (23 – 29 October) is health and safety week and the theme is ‘healthy workplaces for all ages’.

We have laws around health and safety to be proud of – laws that save the lives of working people. But with an unacceptable number of people dying from work-related disease or accidents, we also have a long way to go.

The history of health and safety in the UK is a mixed bag – it’s full of successful trade union wins for better regulation, marked by terrible disasters that caused the needless deaths of workers.

See the timeline below to find out how we got to where we are with health and safety law.