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Health and safety at work

All employees should be able to work in an environment where their health and safety is properly controlled and regulated by health and safety laws, with most of the responsibility being faced by the employer.

Workers do have a duty to take care of their own health and safety as far as possible as well as other people who might be affected by their actions. They must also cooperate with their management as well as their co-workers to help everyone meet their legal requirements.

The importance of doing so is illustrated by figures showing that over 200 people every year are killed in work-related accidents with over a million injured because of improper following of health and safety training. So taking health and safety seriously should be a priority for employer and employee alike.

Employer responsibilities

  1. Conduct a risk assessment in which it can be assessed what harm could be caused to workers in their roles and what precautions could be introduced to minimise the risks.
  2. The employer has a responsibility to explain to workers how the risks can be controlled and who is responsible for this.
  3. Consulting with the workforce and especially with the health and safety representatives to try and ensure everyone is safe in the workplace.
  4. Provide any health and safety training employees may need to do the job.
  5. Provide any protective clothing or equipment needed by employers to do their job.
  6. Provide toilets, washing facilities and drinking water.
  7. Provide adequate first-aid facilities.
  8. Report major injuries and fatalities at work and report other injuries, diseases and dangerous incidents.
  9. Have adequate insurance to provide cover if employees get hurt or fall ill through work.
  10. Work with other employers or contractors to try and ensure the safety of everyone’s health and safety.

The employee’s responsibilities

  1. Following the training provided.
  2. Take reasonable care with your own health and safety and with other people’s.
  3. Cooperate with the employer on health and safety.
  4. Inform someone in a position of authority if they believe that health and safety are being compromised, either through the work involved or through inadequate precautions.

There are other issues that have to be borne in mind when considering your own responsibilities in the workplace.

  • If operating machinery try not to wear jewellery or loose clothing.
  • If you have long hair, make sure it is tucked away so it won’t get caught in machinery.
  • Tell your employer if something takes place which may affect your ability to work, such as becoming pregnant or having an injury outside of work.
  • Employee’s who drive or operate machinery have a responsibility to inform their employer if they are taking medication which is making them drowsy or affecting them in other ways.