Who is responsible for safety and health in the workplace?
All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Under health and safety law, the primary responsibility for this is down to employers.
Workers have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your actions at work. Workers must cooperate with employers and co-workers to help everyone meet their legal requirements.
As a worker, if you have specific queries or concerns relating to health and safety in your workplace, talk to your employer, manager/supervisor or a health and safety representative.
An Organisations Responsibilities for Safety and Health
What employers must do for you:
- Decide what could harm you in your job and the precautions to stop it. This is part of risk assessment.
- In a way you can understand, explain how risks will be controlled and tell you who is responsible for this.
- Consult and work with you and your health and safety representatives in protecting everyone from harm in the workplace.
- Free of charge, give you the health and safety training you need to do your job.
- Free of charge, provide you with any equipment and protective clothing you need, and ensure it is properly looked after.
- Provide toilets, washing facilities and drinking water.
- Provide adequate first-aid facilities.
- Report major injuries and fatalities at work.
- Have insurance that covers you in case you get hurt at work or ill through work. Display a hard copy or electronic copy of the current insurance certificate where you can easily read it.
- Work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace or providing employees (such as agency workers), so that everyone’s health and safety is protected.
Worker Responsibilities for Safety and Health
What you must do:
- Follow the training you have received when using any work items your employer has given you.
- Take reasonable care of your own and other people’s health and safety.
- Co-operate with your employer on health and safety.
- Tell someone (your employer, supervisor, or health and safety representative) if you think the work or inadequate precautions are putting anyone’s health and safety at serious risk.
Employers are ‘vicariously liable’ if their worker(s) harms someone due to their actions (or omissions). This means that employers also have some responsibility for worker actions.
Click the link below for a free leaflet from the HSE that summarises some of the issues covered in this lesson.