Safety is no accident. Every worker has the right to a safe working environment. Every worker has the right to be properly trained. Every worker has the right to refuse unsafe work. It is everyone’s responsibility to assure that any work undertaken meets minimum safety requirements. There is no work that is worth risking life and limb.
Safety can be achieved through a systematic approach to evaluating risks and seeking solutions to eliminating them. This begins with all members of an organization that wish to create a safe and productive work environment.
Although it may seem that increasing safety on the job will cost more, in the long run it is financially worse if someone becomes injured or killed, especially if there are legal repercussions, which many times there are. All employers, managers, etc., are responsible for what happens to their workers.
Quite simply put, every employer has a legal responsibility to make sure all their employers, even contractors, are taken care of. This means that they need to receive on-going adequate training, all their equipment is in safe and good working condition, first aid is readily available, reasonable steps have been taken to minimize hazards, etc. Employers can't hide behind an attitude of, "I didn’t know," or, "someone else was looking after that."
This site is intended to offer information on how to improve Workplace Health and Safety (H&S). It is important to understand however, that every job is different, and modifications may be needed. It is also important to seek professional advice on the work site, e.g. an engineer, on how to make the environment safer.
Keeping safe and avoiding risks to your health at work are obviously important issues. No one wants their lives to be temporarily or permanently affected by bad working conditions.
Whether you are permanent or agency staff, a contractor, an apprentice or on work placement, you need to be aware of issues that affect your health and safety at work.
Although it is up to your employer to make sure that any potential risk to your health and safety are properly controlled, you also need to be aware of your own responsibilities.
As a worker, you have a duty to take care of your own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your actions or inactions. An inaction is when you don't do something and this causes harm to others. Health and safety legislation, therefore, requires employers and workers to cooperate! This will mean that you can play your part in improving health and safety in the workplace.
Studies show time and again that workers who actively contribute to health and safety at work, are safer and healthier than those who don't. By working with your employer and your fellow workers to maintain the highest standards of health and safety, you can have a long, happy and healthy career in your chosen profession without suffering needless injuries and ill health.
The law says that your employer must tell you how to do your job safely and what is done to protect your health and safety. They must also inform you about all risks to your health and safety from current or proposed working practices and things or changes that may harm or affect your health and safety. Finally they must let you know how to get first-aid treatment and what to do in an emergency.
Your employer must also provide free training for you to do your job safely. They must provide protection for you at work when necessary, things like, clothing, shoes or boots, eye and ear protection, gloves and masks. You should also have access to health checks if there is a danger of ill health because of your work, regular health checks if you work nights and even a check before you start the job.
You should have easy access to your employer's health and safety policy statement and their up-to-date Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) certificate, which should be visible in your place of work.
You should use your common sense to stay safe at work by co-operating with others on health and safety, and not interfering with, or misusing, anything provided for your health, safety or welfare.
If you think that you are in any sort of danger in the work place you should stop working immediately and leave the area. Make sure you inform your employer about your health and safety concerns and if this doesn't seem to do any good, you can contact the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), or your local authority, without getting into trouble.
Health and safety at work isn't just avoiding the obvious risks though. Tiredness and fatigue can lead to accidents too, and because of this all workers are entitled to rest breaks and an annual period of paid leave. Legally you should be given a rest break of at least 20 minutes if you work more than six hours at a stretch. You should make sure that you take these rests, as it is also your responsibility to maintain your health at work, and doing obviously risky jobs, like driving a forklift, whilst tired can lead to accidents.
Employers should not treat disabled workers unfairly. They should make reasonable adjustments to ensure that you are not disadvantaged in your workplace. However, the Disability Discrimination Act does not override health and safety laws, There might be instances when, although an adjustment could be made, it would not be considered reasonable as it would endanger the health and safety of you or others.