More than 20,000 major workplace injuries a year could be avoided if more companies and unions adopted a partnership approach to health and safety, according to the TUC.

In its report, Joining up health and safety: Creating partners in prevention, the TUC said one firm, which had adopted a partnership approach, had reported savings of £2.5m, while another had seen accident rates drop by 55%.

The TUC said there were currently 20 safety partnerships covering a variety of organisations, and it hoped to have 40 partners in prevention agreements by the end of next year. Agreements currently in force include one between Legal & General and MSF.

TUC general secretary John Monks said: “Tragedies on the railways and in construction show that where partnerships don't exist, it is vital that we introduce them.”