Different workplace environments naturally present their own specific hazards which could create risk to the employees and work associates. It is an employer's responsibility to comply with UK health and safety legal duties, but it is also an employee's own responsibility to care for their personal safety. If an employer is not complying with health and safety standards, employees will be at risk, and therefore it is an employee's responsibility to report the employer and ensure health and safety standards are subsequently secured. For both employer and employee, training and knowledge of health and safety duties is essential to ensure personal safety is maintained.
What type of work activities can affect personal safety?
There are some specific work activities which contain more danger than others. For example the work activities which evidently have more danger attached to them are:
Working at height.
Working in a laboratory handling hazardous substances and chemicals.
Working in health and social care, which involves dealing with poorly patients.
Working in an animal-related health centre, which involves dealing with poorly animals.
Working in a factory where the noise levels are extremely high, as this could create long-term health issues.
Work activities which don't necessarily strike us as being dangerous, do still have their own dangers involved, and therefore these types of work activities deserve their own attention:
Working within an office environment, such as sitting at an office desk, can create problems with back injuries.
Moreover, working within an office environment can present other issues regarding personal safety, such as work-related violence. Conflict within the office could lead some employees to feel threatened and at risk.
Your employer's responsibility to protect your personal safety
Employers must conduct the following steps to try and prevent any harm to employees' personal safety:
- Conduct a risk assessment to ensure that all hazards are identified and subsequently protected by control measures.
- Ensure all material within the workplace that is used is analysed to ensure that they are safe to use.
- First aid is available to ensure that if an incident does occur, there are sufficient health and safety measures on hand.
- Employees have been told of all potential hazards which exist within the workplace.
- Ensure that signs and warnings for hazards are all maintained.
- Ensure that temperature, lighting and toilet facilities are all maintained to a high standard.
- Emergency plans. For example, for fire safety, protocol is all prepared and communicated around the workplace.
If your employer is not ensuring that any of these health and safety duties are being maintained, then an employee must report the employer. The UK Health and Safety Executive are the appropriate body to report such instances to.
It is of the utmost importance for an employer and employees to ensure personal safety is maintained. Thus, training and knowledge of health and safety standards is vital for the workplace to be a secure and safe environment.