When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, many people are confused as to whom responsibility lies with and what to do in the event of an accident at work. Health and safety at work is a very important issue in the UK, not only for employees but employers too. Work-related liability claims are at an all-time high so it is beneficial for everyone to be as well-informed as possible when it comes to the best health and safety practices in the workplace.

Contents

The Health and Safety at Work Act
Who is Responsible for Health and Safety at Work?
Your Employer's Responsibilities
Necessary Risk Assessments
Health and Safety Statistics
What to do if you think your Workplace is Unsafe
Claiming for an Accident at Work

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The Health and Safety at Work Act

The Health and Safety at Work Act was first passed in 1974 and was put in place to make clear the responsibility that employers have in providing a safe work environment for employees. You can read the full details of the health and safety at work law here.

Who is Responsible for Health and Safety at Work?

As you would imagine, employers are responsible for ensuring that their workplace is safe and fit for their employees to work in. Whilst employees are responsible for their own actions in the workplace, if there is anything about the workplace itself that puts their health at immediate or long-term risk, then the employer has to take full responsibility for this.


Your Employer's Responsibilities

Employers must meet certain health and safety requirements to ensure that their workplace is safe for employees. These include:

  • Making the workplace as safe as possible in every way.
  • Make sure that any machinery is well-maintained and safe to use.
  • Ensure that any kitchen, toilet and bathroom facilities all adhere to health and safety requirements.
  • Ensure that any equipment employees need to use for the job is the right type of equipment and is well-maintained and safe to use.
  • Limit exposure to substances that might cause damage to health as much as possible.
  • Reduce the risk posed by any flammable, electrical or explosive equipment in the work environment.
  • Try to reduce as much as possible, any manual handling that puts employee’s safety at risk. If it cannot be avoided then ensure that everything is done as safely as possible.
  • Put emergency plans in place that let employees know what to do in the case of an accident or emergency, such as a fire in the workplace.
  • Any protective clothing or equipment that employees need to carry out their job safely should be provided free of charge.
  • Put up any necessary warning signs informing of any spillages and ensure that the signs are always clean and easy to read.
  • Any accidents, injuries or work-related illnesses should be reported to the local authority.
  • Ensure that all employees are well-informed about best safety practices in the workplace.
  • Ensure that any hazardous materials are handled safely and by properly qualified employees.
  • Ensure that first aid facilities are easily accessible and that at least some of your employees are first aid trained.
  • Inform employees about any hazardous aspects of the job including dangerous chemicals or substances and any dangerous machinery. Ensure that they know what to do in the event of accidents and emergencies.

Necessary Risk Assessments

All employers need to carry out a risk assessment of the work environment, regardless of the industry they work in and the size of the workplace. A responsible and competent person much be selected to assess the health and safety status of the work environment to ensure it is safe for employees. Whilst all businesses must carry out a risk assessment; larger businesses of 5 employees or more must also:

  • Have an official assessment record of any risks that are found and necessary precautions to put in place to eliminate or reduce these risks.
  • A full health and safety policy should be put in place that informs employees of the risks that they face and the best way to deal with accidents and emergencies.

Health and Safety Statistics

When assessing how much of an issue health and safety at work is, it is useful to look at the health and safety statistics. Below are the key annual figures for work-related deaths and injuries in 2012 - 2013:

  • 148 people killed at their place of work
  • 78,000 injuries to employees at the workplace
  • 175,000 injuries that resulted in more than one week off work
  • 1.1 million people suffering from work-related illnesses
  • 27 million working days lost due to illness and injury
  • £13.8 billion lost as a result of work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses in 2010 - 2011

Think your Workplace is Unsafe?

If you think your work environment is unsafe then the first thing you should do is speak to your employer about the situation. Sometimes it is better to go through a representative or union to discuss such concerns. If your employer isn't receptive then you should pursue further action by alerting the environmental health department of your local authority. If you are dismissed as a result of seeking this action then you may be able to claim compensation as a result of unfair dismissal at an Employment Tribunal.

Note: You should always seek out legal advice from a professional when assessing your options as far as work-related claims go.

Claiming for an Accident at Work

If you have sustained an injury at the workplace and you feel that it is a result of the environment being unsafe then you should put in a claim for compensation at the earliest possible date. Personal injury claims have a 3-year time limit for claims, which means the claim must be made within 3 years of the injury being sustained or 3 years from the date of realising the injury or illness was as a result of a work-related hazard.

CALL US FREE ON 08000 10 60 66 or use our CLAIM CALCULATOR

Cute Injury can help you begin your potential claim, get in touch with us today

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