FAQs on Health and safety in the workplace


What laws cover health and safety in the workplace?

The main law on health and safety in the workplace in the UK is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In addition to that Act, there are numerous regulations covering specific issues, such as the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992. Individual industries have additional regulations covering industry-specific issues.

What obligations do employers have to employees?

Employers must ensure the health and safety of their employees at work. This means that employees should be properly trained and provided with the correct protective equipment. Regular assessments of the workplace should be carried out to ensure that all hazards are minimised. Employers must also ensure employees are protected from bullying and harassment at work and that they are not subjected to overly stressful working conditions.

What obligations do employees have?

Employees also have obligations under health and safety laws. They must use the protective equipment that is required for tasks. Employees must work in a safe manner, free from the influence of alcohol or drugs, and not endanger their fellow employees. They must also report any hazards that they identify in the workplace.

When must you report an incident?

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 sets out when accidents must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive. Deaths, major injuries, ‘over-3-day injuries’, injuries to members of the public and dangerous occurrences must all be reported. Additionally, some work-related diseases must be reported. Employers should keep a log of all incidents.

Are employees entitled to compensation for workplace injuries?

If an employee suffers an injury or illness in the workplace, they will usually be entitled to compensation. Most employers have insurance to cover compensation and wages whilst the employee is off work. If there is a dispute about compensation, the employee can take legal action against the employer. It is advisable for employees who are injured at work to seek legal advice from an employment law solicitor.

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