This paper investigates the effect of unionization on occupational safety and health, as measured by the fatal and non-fatal work accidents, after controlling for the country's gross domestic product. It uses a panel sample of 10 European Union countries, for the period 1982-2006. The study takes into account the time persistence in work injuries and the endogenous nature of the work injuries-union density relationship. In addition, the effect of union density is decomposed into a temporary and permanent effect. It is shown that increasing union density is associated with a decrease in the number of both fatal and non-fatal work injuries.
Thanks go to the participants of the ‘Health and Work’ Organised Session (2011) of the Scottish Economic Society 2011 Annual Conference, Perth, Scotland, for helpful comments. The authors are also grateful to the editor Franco Peracchi and the referees of this journal for helpful comments and suggestions. The financial support of the European Commission is gratefully acknowledged (HEALTHatWORK Project) — 7th Framework Programme THEME [HEALTH-2007-4.2-3] Grant Agreement No: 200716.