Tools of the Trade: A Health & Safety Handbook for Action


Unions and community groups can integrate workplace health and safety into every aspect of their work. Our new 180-page Tools of the Trade— A Health and Safety Handbook for Action is a valuable resource for those who want to promote worker health and safety while building their organizations at the same time.


  • How can unions and other worker advocates win this most basic of worker rights, the right to return home safely from a day’s work?
  • How can they engage the workers themselves in this process?
  • How can they integrate health and safety advocacy into all aspects of their work?

Health and safety campaigns can involve, educate, activate, and empower workers while attracting public support. The book has practical suggestions for forming a worker health and safety committee in a union or non-union environment; training workers; using risk mapping, surveys, and workplace inspections to find hazards; using questionnaires and body mapping to identify worker health problems; requesting safety information from the employer under “right to know” regulations; filing OSHA complaints; negotiating safety in union contracts; and gaining community support for workplace health and safety campaigns. None of the tools require “experts” in health and safety; all can be learned and used by workers, union representatives, and other activists.


  • Examples of successful workplace health and safety campaigns from around the country
  • Strategies to actively engage workers in advocating for their own protection
  • Specific tools for winning safety improvements, such as collecting information, using legal rights, and working with the community
  • Step-by-step instructions for using these tools, complete with checklists, forms, and resources

Click here to see a flyer describing the book (PDF)


Tools of the Trade is an indispensable action guide for mobilizing workers, unions, and communities in the fight to advance safety and health for workers and build stronger unions.” Bill Kojola, Department of Occupational Safety and Health, AFL-CIO

This book has everything a health-and-safety activist needs in an easy-to-follow format. I especially like the sample surveys, letters, and checklists. … No one will have an excuse for not working on health and safety now!” Jane Slaughter, Labor Notes

Tools of the Trade is the most compelling and comprehensive tool book I have even seen. … If we had this publication before our recent campaign, my life would have been much easier.” Amber Chan, Asian Pacific Environmental Network

An exemplary US resource spelling out health and safety organising strategies, including how health and safety campaigns can involve, educate, activate and empower workers while attracting public support.” Hazards magazine (UK)

We need books like Tools of the Trade. … Packed with examples of successful workplace health and safety campaigns, and strategies for engaging workers in fighting for their own protection. It’s LabourStart’s book of the week— order copies for everyone in your union who needs to know how to win on health and safety issues.” LabourStart website

Tools of the Trade is more than just your regular health and safety manual full of good information about workplace hazards. It focuses on how to … organize for change. Some of the most frustrating and frequent questions I get are from workers who are facing hazards, but don’t know what to do — because their union leaders don’t know what to do or they’re not union members or because OSHA’s not helping or because their issues aren’t covered by OSHA standards. … This publication makes my life a lot easier. It’s full of information, helpful hints and practical, useful tools.” Jordan Barab, Confined Space weblog

When the garbage recycling workers were fighting for union recognition, they identified health and safety as one of their key concerns. We used many of the activities in Tools of the Trade. These efforts really gave a boost to the campaign and effectively put health and safety on the table and out to allies in the community. Believe me, this book is a valuable tool for workers and their union.” Bill Feyling, Carpenters 46 Northern California Counties Conference Board

Taking action on health and safety … will provide protection for the janitorial workers and their families in our program. Tools of the Trade can be utilized in the collaborative efforts between responsible businesses and our SEIU members. Thank you!” Alison Webber, Building Skills Partnership

We have used these tools … over the years with safety committees, stewards and other union activists. They are now using them at meetings and in campaigns to organize new members. Thanks to LOHP for putting it all in one book.” Jackie Nowell, United Food and Commercial Workers

Tools of the Trade is a great complement to our work at MassCOSH. We believe that health and safety organizing needs to be done in a way that links workers to unions and community allies, develops workers’ leadership skills, and offers them a collective voice on the job. This workbook will be a valuable resource for workers, trade unionists and community activists.” Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health

The hardest part about improving health and safety on the job is motivating workers to become activists. This book will be a great resource. It gives practical advice that’s easy to follow and real life examples that show you can make a difference.” Scott Schneider, Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North America

This education and organizing … workbook is a must-have whenever workers need to address health, safety, and environmental justice issues at the frontline (in the plant) and at the fenceline (the community).” Jose Bravo, The Just Transition Alliance


  • 180 pages, 2006, $25.00 (shipping included)