Between 2015 and 2016, 144 employees were killed at work, six more than the year before. Furthermore, 30.4 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and injury. While these figures are of course high, the number of fatalities at work is dropping overall. Last year saw a drop of 33 fatalities from 2010 to 2011. This is over 130 less than 2000 to 2001. But no worker should have their health or safety put at risk. All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled.
People working in different types of job inevitably face different risks. However, trips and falls are often common accidents and injuries across all sectors. Also, manual handling, sitting for long periods and handling harmful substances are regular causes of injuries. While asthma, deafness, vibration white finger and dermatitis do happen, instances of these are infrequent.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers have an overall responsibility for health and safety management for their organisation. They must ensure they’ve taken every step to protect their staff and control risks to health and safety. Employers must:
These responsibilities do not only concern employees working in an organisation’s main workplace. Wherever the staff are based, they should still be protected by their employers’ health and safety policy. Even when employees are outside of the office, their bosses still need to ensure that they aren’t put at risk of injury when offsite.
It’s a legal requirement to have a written health and safety policy if employing more than five people. The policy outlines how the employer must ensure the health and safety of workers. It must also inform staff of what to do in an emergency and how to prevent unnecessary injuries, including looking after their own and colleagues’ health and safety. They must also use equipment correctly, follow all safety instructions and report any problems and concerns.
Employees who fail to comply with the health and safety policy may receive disciplinary action, which could result in immediate dismissal. An employer could become sanctioned if they fail to comply with health and safety requirements. This could involve hefty fines, disqualification and even imprisonment.
If an employee feels at risk, or believes their employer isn’t undertaking their legal health and safety duties, they should notify their employer. If the employer fails to provide a satisfactory response, employees can make a complaint to the Health and Safety Executive. They may also choose to make a personal injury claim if they suffer an injury or become ill as a result of employer negligence.
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