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Who is responsible for Health & Safety in the workplace?

A lady in high-visibility clothing and a hard hat

When it comes to Health & Safety, it's crucial to establish the duties of the employer, along with the role of employees in health and safety. Everyone must be aware of their responsibilities to minimise risks and maximise health and safety compliance.

Health and safety awareness embody crucial topics that must not be ignored by anyone, especially in the workplace. HSE state that in 2020/21, over 1.7 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness and that a staggering 51,211 injuries were reported under RIDDOR, Health & Safety. These concerning statistics prove a clear need for improvement and better awareness. It falls within the duties of the employer to ensure that proper health and safety training is provided to all staff so that your people feel confident and aware of their compliance as employees in health and safety.

One of the critical factors in ensuring that workplaces maintain high standards of health and safety adherence is making sure all people take ownership and are aware of what is expected of them. This requires all staff to be "clued up" on the duties of employer and the part played by employees in health and safety.

But that begs the question: who is responsible for Health & Safety in the workplace, does it only fall within the duties of the employer?

The answer differs for all businesses, but ultimately it is down to every person to ensure that work practices are safely carried out.

In fact, Section 2 to Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 are all about the general duties of Health & Safety in the workplace.

Here is a quick guide to what each section outlines;

Section 2 - General duties of employers to employees

  • Duties of employer include ensuring that "so far as reasonably practicable" their employees' health, safety, and welfare at work.
  • Employers have an absolute duty to have a Health & Safety policy and share it with their employees.

Section 3 - Duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees

  • Employers & self-employed have a duty of care to ensure "so far as reasonably practicable" that non-employees are not exposed to risks due to their work.
  • They are required to provide relevant Health & Safety information to non-employees.

Section 4 - Duties of persons concerned with premises to persons other than their employees

  • Anybody who controls work-based premises must take all reasonable measures to ensure that they're without risk to the health of non-employees who use the premises.

Section 5 - Duty of persons in control of certain premises in relation to harmful emissions into the atmosphere

  • It falls withing both the duties of employer and the individual person's duty in control of work-based premises to use the best practicable means for preventing the emission into the atmosphere from the premises of noxious or offensive substances.

Section 6 - Duties of manufacturers etc. as regards articles and substances for use at work

  • Any person involved in these processes for an article/substance used at work must "so far as reasonably practicable" ensure it has no risks to health when:
    • properly used;
    • testing/examination is properly undertaken;
    • Adequate information is provided to ensure it's safe to use.

Section 7 - General duties of employees at work

  • Employees must take reasonable care of the Health & Safety of themselves and others who may be affected by their acts of work.
  • To ensure employees in health and safety, staff must co-operate with their employer, so far as is necessary, to enable the employer to comply with their own duties.

Section 8 - Duty not to interfere with or misuse things provided pursuant to specific provisions

  • No person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety, and welfare, whether for the protection of employees or other persons.
  • This duty is imposed on all people, including children.

Section 9 - Duty not to charge employees for things done or provided pursuant to certain specific requirements

  • Employees cannot be charged for anything done or provided to comply with specific legal obligations. Instead, it is down to the employer.

Online Health & Safety Training

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Some of our most popular Health & Safety Training courses include:

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