Health & safety at work—employee responsibilities

26 February 2020

Your business has a health & safety commitment to staff under the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

Under health and safety legislation, every employer has a duty to, “ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the safety, health, and welfare at work of his or her employees.”

However, your employees also have responsibilities around the workplace. And in this guide, we explain what those are—and how to make sure your workforce is aware of them.

Employees’ health & safety responsibilities

Section 13 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 sets out the duties that members of staff must follow to ensure the workplace operates safely.

This is to prevent undue risk and potential accidents in the workplace. When it comes to the duties of employees, health and safety legislation dictates that employees must:

  1. Comply with relevant statutory provisions—and take “reasonable” care to protect his/her safety in and around the workplace. As well as the safety, health, and wellbeing of colleagues.
  2. Not be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs as this can endanger safety.
  3. If reasonably required, submit to an “appropriate, reasonable and proportionate” test for intoxicants.
  4. Assist their employer (or colleague) by complying with statutory provisions.
  5. Not take part in “improper conduct”—anything that is set to put colleagues in danger.
  6. Attend training where necessary to understand the correct safety standards (such as dealing with substances).
  7. Report to the employer about any hazards seen in and around the business—or any defects that may be hazardous.
  8. Misrepresent themselves when entering into an employment contract.

However, do remember that regarding the rights and responsibilities of employees, health & safety in the workplace is primarily your responsibility as the employer.

How to maintain health & safety standards

In the modern corporate world, it’s now much simpler for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to manage their procedures.

Health & safety software, for example, provides your staff with:

  • Task planners: Establish alerts for when you require assessments and inspections.
  • Risk assessment tools: Use these to find hazards around your business and record the risks that are present.
  • Accident recording features: If a member of staff suffers an injury, you can keep a log of the incident and receive notes to carry out investigations.
  • Documentation libraries: For health & safety forms your business may need at any given time, such as safety record forms.

These can help you to keep track of procedures and incidents. You can even use the technology to print off safety posters to place around your working environment.

Utilising training opportunities

You can also offer health & safety training to line managers and other staff members to maintain your standards.

There are e-learning courses you and your workforce can take to gain a better understanding of the hazards at work. This includes training across:

  • Fire safety.
  • Display screens.
  • Office safety.
  • Best manual handling practices.
  • Awareness of asbestos.
  • How to avoid slips and trips.
  • Overall occupational health (limiting stress etc.).

If you ensure your employees receive industry standard training, then it can significantly reduce the risks on a daily basis.

Need our help?

If you need assistance with your health and safety procedures, get in touch with us for immediate assistance: 1890 252 923.

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