We all play an important part in contributing to health and safety at work. Both employers and employees have individual responsibilities and by working together, they help to create a safe working environment.

What are the individual responsibilities for health and safety though? Do you know where you stand as either an employee or an employer?

Employer’s Responsibilities for Workplace Health and Safety

The main person responsible for health and safety in the workplace is your employer. They have offered you the role, they are in charge of the building where you work, and they have to take their responsibilities towards health and safety seriously. There are a number of areas that need to be addressed and employers must provide the following for you.

  • Risk Assessments: Your employer must evaluate what might cause you harm as you carry out your duties and take adequate precautions to prevent anything happening to you. They should take adequate measures to control the risk to prevent injuries or health issues.
  • Risk Explanations: Employers need to clearly explain how risks are controlled and who is responsible for this. They must give you information about potential risks in your workplace and instruct and train you so you are capable of dealing with threats that might be harmful.  
  • Consultations: Employers are required to consult employees on any issues relating to health and safety. This can either be through a company safety representative or the trade union.
  • H&S Training: Employers are required to provide free health and safety training for the job you are employed to do.
  • Safety Equipment: They also have to provide you with any clothing or safety equipment you need to carry out your duties, free of charge.
  • First Aid: There should be adequate first aid facilities provided at your workplace in case of an incident, so you can be treated by a trained first-aider.
  • Provisions: Employers are required to provide toilets, washing facilities and drinking water as part of their health and safety responsibilities.  
  • Incidents:  If there are injuries, diseases or dangerous incidents at the workplace, including fatalities, they need to be reported to the HSE by the employer.
  • Insurance:  Your employer should hold an appropriate insurance policy which covers you in the event of illness or injury through work.   
  • Work with others: Employers also have to work with contractors or employees sharing the workplace such as agency workers, to keep everyone health and safety protected.  
  • Display an HSE Poster: By law, every single employer should display health and safety law information and make this visible. This can either be a poster or individual leaflets handed out to each employee.

Employee’s Responsibility for Health and Safety at Work

As an employee, you have different types of responsibilities for health and safety at work but they are equally important. When you are at work, you have a duty of care to yourself and others around you that could be affected by your actions from a health a safety perspective. The main points to consider are:

  • Act on the training you receive: You must follow any training you have received for using work equipment to stay safe and keep others safe in your working environment.
  • Take due care: You must take care of your own safety and the safety of others when you perform your duties at work.
  • Co-operate with your employer: Always co-operate with your employer on any health and safety issues.
  • Speak up!: If you spot a problem with health and safety or think you or any of your co-workers are at risk, you must tell a supervisor, manager or H&S advisor at work.      

Both the employer and the employee have specific responsibilities for health and safety at work, and by following the requirements laid out by the HSE, everyone can stay safe and healthy in the workplace.

Should you require health and safety training in Ireland, we can assist you here at Business Safety, please contact us for more information or call us today on 0818 333 212.