Your health and safety rights as an employee
Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment, supported by adequate training and equipment. Under the law, employees are protected should they choose to walk out of the workplace due to unsafe conditions, something which saw a significant increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In their latest report, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) lays out a clear definition of your health and safety rights as an employee.
Let’s break them down, so you know exactly where you stand.
It is your employer’s responsibility to:
1. Evaluate what could injure you in your job and the precautions to stop it. They must provide an up to date Risk Assessment.
2. Simply and straightforwardly explain how risks will be controlled and tell you who is responsible for this.
3. Work with your health and safety officers to implement a system of safe practice within the workplace.
4. Give you the training you need to perform your job alone and with others safely.
5. Provide you with any equipment, training and protective clothing (PPE) you need, and ensure it is properly looked after.
6. Provide toilets, washing facilities and drinking water.
7. Provide adequate first-aid facilities.
8. Report injuries, diseases, dangerous incidents and fatalities at work.
9. Have insurance that covers you if you are injured or made sick in the workplace. This insurance should be displayed in an accessible place so everyone can read it.
10. Work with other employees, contractors and anyone else sharing the workplace so that everyone’s health and safety are protected.
It is your responsibility to:
1. When using any work equipment or PPE provided by your employer, you must follow your training.
2. Take reasonable steps to ensure your own and others’ health and safety. If you see a hazard, you should take action to report it and limit the risk where possible.
3. Work with your employer and the Health and Safety representatives to follow procedure, even when it requires extra work.
4. If you believe the work or inadequate safeguards put in place are endangering anyone’s health or safety, speak out.