Health And Safety At The Workplace

people-at-workplaceFor employees to work optimally, their safety must be assured. Safety at the workplace is an important aspect of work relations, and it is for this reason that most governments have put in place a legal framework that outlines the responsibilities of both employees and employers. The employer has to do all that is within his powers to ensure that his employees are safe, and the employees have to desist from any activities that jeopardize the safety of their colleagues.

Employers' responsibilities

The law is crystal clear that it is the onus of the employer to ensure that employees are safe while at their work stations. They are not just responsible for employees, but they also have to ensure that those who live around the business place are safe. For example, they cannot involve themselves in activities which pollute the environment.

The health and safety of employees is a duty that employers cannot run away from. It is their duty to keep the working environment conducive for conducting business by ensuring that it is ergonomically stable and that the safety of their employees is not compromised. Employees have to be protected from anything that might harm them or pose a danger to their health and lives in general.

It is the responsibility of employers to educate the employees on the standard safety measures that have been put in place. For example, employers have to make sure that all employees know where the fire alarm is, where the emergency exit lies and where the fire assembly points. Employers have to ensure that such important places are labeled in bold, such that they are legible from a distance. Important warnings have to be put in place to prevent accidents. If there is a slippery floor or some wet paint, the employer has to let employees know by taking an appropriate action.

It is also the responsibility of the employer to educate employees on what they need to do to be safe. They must be informed of what to do when situations arise. Employers need to inform the employees of the risks that exist at the workplace. They also have the duty of letting them know how they are protected and the measures the employer has taken to reduce such risk.

No man is an island. Employers have to be in constant communication with the employees as far as health and safety is concerned. Employers have to consult employees when formulating or changing health policies. These consultations could be direct, where employees and employers talk candidly, or they could be indirect where a duly elected safety representative represents the employees in the forum.

Employers have to periodically carry out risk assessment. The goal is to identify threats to the safety of employees, with corrective measures being taken in good time so as to avoid catastrophic situations. There are always risks at the workplace, and it is upon the employer to assess the risk and take measures to reduce it significantly.

Employees Responsibility

While the law places a big burden on the employers, employees too have to be accountable.

Employees are responsible for their own safety. They have to protect themselves from situations which might harm them. If the nature of their work is such that they have to wear personal protective equipment, then they have to make sure that they do not work without them.

Employees have to be their brothers' keepers. They must be keen on their work so as to protect their colleagues from unnecessary danger. They must work in a way that does not place others in danger. For example, a worker who comes to work drunk cannot and should not be allowed to use machines can inflict harm to others. Employees have to report workers who are negligent of the safety of the organization.

Employees have to work with employers to keep the working environment safe and sound. Cooperation with employers is a core responsibility of employees. They have to work hand in hand with the employer to eradicate health risks so as to create an environment that poses no danger to the workers. They have to identify areas which can be improved, and forward the same to the management for the necessary action to be taken.

This article is written by Kerry Garson-Smith. Kerry has been a health and safety standards officer for the last 3 years. Kerry has, qualified as an European Standards consultant. Kerry also likes hiking, horse riding and deep water diving. breathehr and Kerry have teamed up tp bring you the best on health and safety advice.

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