Unions urged the government to do a U-turn on health and safety today to avoid thousands of "needless" workplace deaths and save millions for the economy.
The TUC - which says there are more than 20,000 work-related deaths every year - said the government approach to health and safety puts lives and careers at risk.
Ministers are breeding views that safety laws are unnecessary burdens on businesses where profit-hungry bosses are launching cutbacks and belt-tightening, it said.
And cuts to regulations are making it more difficult to police employers who play fast and loose with workers' safety.
The TUC's new safety manifesto calls for regular safety inspections, maximum workplace temperatures, greater control of carcinogens and a host of other measures.
The Time for Change report said Britain's 150,000 union safety reps alone have already saved the economy as much as £578 million and prevented up to 13,000 accidents and 8,000 work-related illnesses a year.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "This isn't just a national tragedy for the victims and their families, but is also a huge drain on the economy, costing the state billions of pounds a year.
"It doesn't have to be this way, but unfortunately ministers seem convinced that safety regulations are too onerous on businesses and rather than being tightened, need to be watered down or removed entirely.
"This is completely the wrong approach, when what is needed is tougher enforcement and new safety laws. Our safety manifesto sets out how to do just that."
The TUC said 1.8 million people were last year living with an illness or injury caused by their work and another 115,000 employees had hurt themselves so badly at work they needed to take at least three days off sick.
It said top of its list of recommendations is the need for regular safety inspections which would help keep bosses "on their toes" and put workplace safety on high priority.