Who is responsible for workplace health and safety?

As Health and Safety Consultants, Prosafe (UK) Ltd are well aware that Health and Safety may not be at the top of every employees’ priority list, but the importance of correct practices in the workplace has never been more important. 

And we don’t just mean the classic slips, trips and falls, we mean all aspects of safety, health and welfare. With cases of mental health illness on the rise for example, workplace health and safety has never been so important and so far reaching. 

We are often asked, whose responsibility is it to ensure health and safety in the workplace? Is it down to the employees? The employers? Both?

So who is responsible for workplace health and safety?

As stated by the law, it is employers who are responsible for health and safety management in the workplace. But what does this actually mean? 

It is the employer's role to manage the health, safety and welfare of their business’s employees, as well as others who may be affected by the business. This means employers have to take corrective measures to protect people who come into contact with the business, from any potential risks they may encounter. Identifying and controlling risks is the key.

Assessing risks is a legal requirement in the workplace, which is where the infamous Risk Assessments come in. We will go into these in more detail in a future blog, but in the meantime if you need any guidance on workplace Risk Assessments then please get in touch.

Once a risk assessment is carried out the employer can then inform employees of these risks and arrange appropriate measures so any hazards can be dealt with and the risk levels reduced. 

As well as informing employees, it is a legal requirement to provide employees with copies of the approved Health and Safety Law leaflet and to also display the poster in the workplace.

Reporting Health and Safety Issues

If an employee believes that something in the workplace is breaking health and safety law, they can report it to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Before making a formal complaint, we would recommend first speaking to the employer about any concerns regarding health and safety issues. If however, an employer is aware of the issues but no changes have been made, it is well within an employee’s right to formally report the issue.

What is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974?​​​​

Every employer should be well aware of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This is the primary piece of legislation that governs health and safety in the workplace. The act was introduced by parliament to give employers a framework to manage workplace health and safety in the UK. The content of the act includes the responsibilities of employers and employees when maintaining workplace health and safety. In addition, there is also guidance for specific industries that operate in environments with higher risk e.g. the construction industry.

Why is the Health and Safety at Work Act so important?

The health and safety work act is an extremely important piece of legislation, providing the legal framework to ensure that high levels of good health and safety practice are being met in the workplace. As with any other government legislation, the health and safety at work act should be taken very seriously by businesses because the purpose of the act is to prevent death, injuries and ill-health in the workplace.

To do this, businesses should develop and regularly review their health and safety policies, assess any potential risks and inform employees and engage with health and safety professionals. As well as employers, it’s also important for employees to comply with health and safety best practices. It is the employee's responsibility to make sure they take care of own their health and safety, as well as their peers. They must also co-operate with their employers and avoid interfering with anything that may breach health and safety regulations.

Understanding the health and safety at work act 1974 is the key to having the information an employer needs to safeguard their workplace and employees. It will also help to prevent any unexpected health and safety fines, so it’s definitely worth employers familiarising themselves with the details. By following the health and safety at work act 1974, employers can rest assured that they have taken precautionary measures to reduce potential hazards and done so within the correct, recognised, legislated framework

So have we discovered who is responsible for workplace health and safety?

The answer is, we all are. Employers, employees, members of the public, contractors, sub-contractors, health and safety professionals - we all play an important role in ensuring that the workplace is a safe environment and that we remain healthy and safe when in or around businesses premises.

At Prosafe (UK) Ltd, we provide specially tailored Health and Safety services to help your workplace remain in compliance with the current legislation and regulations.

If you have any questions, concerns about your workplace health and safety or just require some help, then please get in touch with our experienced, friendly consultants.

Tel: 01724 712342

Email: info@prosafeuk.co.uk