By: Simon B
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Health and safety
Your employer has a duty to look after your health, safety, and welfare at work, which means providing a safe place to work where hazards have been identified and removed, if possible. If your business can’t remove the hazards, it needs to reduce any risk they pose to you and your work colleagues. When the risks have been reduced as far as possible but still exist, your employer must provide protective equipment from safety glasses to florescent workwear and more. Your boss also has to ensure that you work safely and don’t endanger your colleagues and that they don’t endanger you. That may mean that the employer has to check that people have the right qualifications for the jobs they’re doing or to make sure that they’re fully trained and that training is up to date.
Obviously, working in a manufacturing plant is more hazardous than working in an office. But sometimes it’s the less obvious hazards that do the most harm. The most common accidents are slips and trips, and the most common cause of illness these days is stress.
A wide range of regulations covers every aspect of workplace health and safety, from noise, temperature, lighting, and use of computers to lifting, dangerous chemicals, lorries, forklift trucks, and heavy machinery.
If you’re injured at work or become ill and you think that your employer may have been negligent in some way, you can take out a personal injury claim through the civil courts. Unlike in the case of employment tribunals, no limits exist on the amounts that can be awarded to you in compensation. However, the last thing you want is to be unable to work or lead your life because of an accident or ill health, so you should take your own welfare seriously. If your employer has put up warning signs at danger points in the workplace, don’t ignore them. If you’re provided with protective equipment, make sure that you use it and use it properly, including reporting when it needs to be repaired or renewed.
Make sure that you report any potential hazards to the appropriate people in your workplace, and if you do feel that you’re suffering from stress or that you may be getting repetitive strain injury, for example, talk to your line manager.