Union leaders have claimed that many workplace accidents go unreported, with an estimated 1.2 million people suffering from work-related illnesses.
The TUC said more than 20,000 people were killed prematurely by their work each year.
It wants a health and safety "tsar" appointed to help prevent deaths caused by issues such as occupational cancers, exposure to fumes and road accidents.
The government is currently reviewing health and safety laws.
Speaking last December, Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK had become "saturated" by health and safety laws.
But a report by the TUC said that legislation should not be reduced, claiming the Britain was far from the safest country to work in.
"Despite the way that health and safety is often pilloried, for those who are made ill or injured at work and for the relatives of those who have died as a result of their work, health and safety is no joke," said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.
"Regulation works, as long as it is enforced, and it saves lives and prevents the contraction of unnecessary illnesses. That is why the UK continues to need strong regulation and enforcement."