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Health and safety for employees

Every member of a workforce, from apprentices to chief executives, play a part in workplace health and safety. Read our blog to find out more about roles and responsibilities when it comes to work place safety.

31 January 2019

Health and safety is not just something that affects employers; employees are responsible too! Whether an apprentice, a full-time employee, or an agency worker, every member of the team should play a part in health and safety in the workplace.

What rights do employees have?
When they come to work, employees should have an expectation of safety. For this, an employer has several significant responsibilities to ensure the safety of their workforce. Within the guidelines set out by the Health and Safety Executive and the TUC, an employer must provide the following rights to an employee:

• To ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of all employees
• To stop working and leave an area if they feel unsafe
• To be included in consultations about health and safety in the workplace
• To inform employers about health and safety concerns
• To contact the HSE or a local authority if health and safety concerns persist, without fear of retribution.
• To join a trade union and be a safety representative
• Paid time off if they are a safety representative to perform health and safety duties
• A break of at least 20 minutes on a shift of longer than 6 hours
• Sufficient welfare facilities including toilets, washing facilities , rest areas, first aid and drinking water

In addition, an employer also needs ensure that employees are able to carry out their tasks safely, provide risk assessments for tasks carried out at work and provide information, instruction and training relevant to the role they are carrying out.

What do employees need to do?
An employee also has many health and safety rules to follow to help ensure that they, their team, and members of the public are safe.

An employee must take reasonable care of their own health and safety. This means taking steps to be safe in the working day, this extends to keeping others in the team and members of the public safe by reporting any shortcomings in the health and safety arrangements.

An employee must cooperate with the employer and must understand and follow the company health and safety guidelines. They must report illnesses and injuries that result from work, and external injuries that may affect their ability to work.

By abiding by these rules, and opening conversations about the health and safety, a good working health and safety relationship can develop in the workplace, to ensure everyone – employer or employee and anyone else that may be affected by workplace activities are kept safe.

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