Who is Responsible for Health & Safety in the Workplace?

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns

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17 Aug 2018

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Employers often wish to distance themselves from the responsibility for health & safety.

Accidents and incidents in the workplace can not only be devastating to the well-being and morale of your workforce, but they can also result in costly claims and even costlier reputational damage.

Workplace safety is mainly the responsibility of the employer. It's their duty to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their staff.

While some worksites come with greater risks than others, even the safest workplaces need all staff to help manage risks.

However, there's some truth to the notion that everyone is responsible for health & safety in their workplace.

All of your staff must be aware of and follow health & safety procedures. Employing a manager can help your business to write comprehensive policies, but hiring someone for this role would not absolve you of your duties.

All breaches of health & safety law, including both accidents and other incidents, come back to you.

What legislation is in place to enforce health & safety?

One of the main laws affecting businesses is the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

It covers many issues that affect workplaces, such as:

  • Temperature.
  • Lighting.
  • Cleanliness.
  • Seating.
  • Sanitary conveniences/washing facilities.
  • Workstations.

For full details on what the regulations cover, please view the full HSE document.

What can I do to guarantee workplace safety?

Awareness of risks and your policies and procedures is critical to making sure you have a safe workplace.

In addition, conduct risk assessments often and take action to reduce risks as you discover them. Simple acts like unblocking a fire exit, or updating respiratory protective equipment, can have a life-saving effect.

Make sure you have safety signs in your workplace. Give all staff training. It can include:

  • What a workplace hazard might be, and the risks one might pose.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • How to deal with a hazard, if necessary.

Now, some job roles will come with specific risks. So for example, a construction worker might need the training to work at heights.

Above all else, have a constant dialogue with your staff about the importance of health & safety.

Make sure staff know they can come to you if they have an issue. Always investigate any concerns, and where necessary, make adjustments to the workplace or staff job duties.

So for example, if a room has a higher fire risk, make sure it has enough of the correct fire extinguishers.

Talk to an expert

For advice on H&S in your workplace, including health & safety training, and health & safety consultancy, speak to one of Croner's many trained experts on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns has practical experience in Health & Safety and Risk Management having worked for major insurer prior to joining Croner.

She has gained extensive helpline experience offering competent advice and timely support to large number of clients, in various industries and at all levels.  Completed the NEBOSH General Certificate, also passed NEBOSH Environmental Diploma Unit A, (IOSH Managing Environmental responsibilities). NEBOSH Fire and Risk Management Certificate, FPA Advance Fire Training, NCRQ Diploma – Distinction currently completing IPD and volunteering for Community project in Atherstone also as a Dementia support worker with CWPT.

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Fiona Burns

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