Health and safety refers to an employer’s obligation to provide employees with a safe working environment. An employer’s obligations in this respect are governed specifically by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.However, aside from the provisions of the 2005 Act, a plethora of employer obligations are actually motivated by health and safety considerations, such as the requirement to provide adequate rest breaks and annual leave under the organisation of Working Time Act, 1997, and the onus to provide a workplace free of harassment and victimisation as per employment equality legislation.
To achieve a safe working environment, employers should have an effective health and safety management system supported by safe working procedures. Employers should provide health and safety training for all employees and this should occur as early as possible in the employment relationship. The most common examples of universal health and safety training requirements include training the employee in:
- The location of emergency routes and exits
- The location of rest rooms and rest areas
- The manual handling of loads
- The use of work equipment