Abstract: the author describes the birth and growth of the "trade union’s policy" against harmful workplaces. During the period 1961-1978, owing to the numerous protest movements, social and political initiatives arise proposing reforms and the modernisation of the public health sector and others. The working class, thanks to its undeniable power gained in the factories, put on the agenda themes such as hierarchy, the division of labour and the alleged neutrality of knowledge in the management of production and more in general in the capitalist society. After the results obtained during this specific historical phase follows a period of "normalization", still however characterized by innovative institutional achievements, that will then try to coexist - not always very harmoniously - with distinct norms, dealing also with the topic of prevention, stemming from the requirements of the European common market.
Keywords: History; working class struggles; trade unions; participatory model; occupational health.