September 19, 2019 Last updated September 18th, 2019 1,908 Reads share

Understanding Workplace Health and Safety Regulations

Understanding Workplace Health and Safety RegulationsImage Credit: Deposit Photos

When you own a business or even work for one. You will need to understand your health and safety rights and requirements. Health and safety management is vital in any business. 

So what are these rights and requirements? Who is responsible for these duties to ensure good health and safety practices.

Workers rights and responsibilities

As a worker, you are entitled to work in an environment that you feel safe and comfortable in. Any risks that could be present would need to properly controlled to ensure a safe working environment. 

These risks are usually assessed in a risk assessment and then put into a health and safety management plan. It is primarily the responsibility of the employer to enact these practices.

However, it is also vital that employees themselves carry out the right actions to take care of their health and safety responsibilities. This not only covers themselves but also protects others that could be affected by your actions in the workplace. 

Workers are expected to cooperate with their employers and co-workers to help everyone meet health and safety legal requirements. 

It is your duty as an employee to raise any issues you have about the health and safety practices of the business you work for. Talking to an employer or manager can help improve the health and safety of not only yourself but the rest of the business would benefit too. 

Employers responsibilities

If you employ members of staff, then you have a legal responsibility for the health and safety of all your employees and anyone else that could be affected by your business. 

An employer must ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all those directly affected by the business. It is also their responsibility to improve health and safety management and practices. 

By making sure that workers are protected against anything that can cause harm, injury and/or illnesses. Risk assessments would typically be carried out to measure the level of risks within the working environment. 

Then employers have to then put in an effective health and safety management for everyone to follow to minimize these risks and control them. 

Any information that is gathered from risk assessments or put into health and safety management plans. This information needs to be distributed to employees. Workers need to be made aware of any risks that can come with the job and what measures to take to avoid them. 

This way you can effectively train staff to be more vigilant of the health and safety of everyone within the workplace. 

Employers need to keep a constant channel of communication with all employees about health and safety. 

Legal requirements

As both an employee and employer it is important to read up on the legal requirements when it comes to health and safety. 

The basis of most health and safety law within the UK is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The act lays out the foundations for all the duties required of employers when it comes to workplace health and safety. It is also required for employees to fulfill their duties to ensure the safety of those they work with. 

These duties would need to be carried out ‘so far as is reasonably practicable.’ This means that an employer has to do everything they can to ensure the health and safety of those affected by the business. However, there will be instances where risks will be impossible to prevent or to avoid. This could be due to time, costs or trouble, making the attempting to reduce could cause greater risk. 

Employers are expected to use good management and common sense to minimize as many risks, present within the workplace, as possible. Employers would need to assess these risks and then come up with the right and manageable measures to control them.

This then leads us onto the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This goes into more detail about what employers are required to do when it comes to managing health and safety. The main requirement would be to carry out regular risk assessments. This way then a solid management plan can be put into place. 

Another legal requirement of employers under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989 (HSIER). Is to display the correct information in the form of posters in each workplace. Allowing all employees the chance to be aware of their rights when it comes to health and safety. 

It is also vital that all employers provide workers with any information gathered from risk assessments. Also, information about the health and safety management practices so that they can then fulfill the correct duties to ensure the welfare of themselves and those they work with.

Final Thoughts

Good health and safety practices fall to both employees and employers. Creating a safe working environment and having the right management plan in place is vital to the protection of people associated with the business. But also to protect the business as a whole. 

Having poor practices can have implications that could damage a business irreparably. If a person was to become injured, ill or even die because of poor health and safety. The business would suffer tremendously. To avoid any legal issues or fines it is vital that you follow all workplace health and safety regulations.  

Workplace Safety – Deposit Photos

Beth Kearsley

Beth Kearsley

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