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