Health and safety responsibilities of employees include:
- Taking care of your own health and safety, and making sure that you don’t threaten the well being of others i.e. colleagues and anyone affected by your work
- Co-operating with your employer to attend training sessions and properly implement any policies they draft
- Telling your employer when something is affecting your work especially if you operate heavy or dangerous machinery
- Not mis-using any health and safety equipment that is either given to you or part of the workplace (e.g. personal protective equipment or fire extinguishers)
- Reporting any injuries or illnesses in the workplace
At the end of the day, employers do have the main health and safety responsibilities, as they produce the policies through advice from a risk assessment. However, employees play a huge role in implementing them properly at work.
This has the ultimate goal of fulfilling the main duty in the Health and Safety at Work Act: creating a safe environment for all workers.
Health and Safety Responsibilities of Employees
Ensuring Personal Health and Safety
Firstly, you should make sure that you take appropriate steps to ensure your own personal health.
In order to do this, you should use the right tools for the job, and avoid making risky and unnecessary moves or actions. Furthermore, apply a common-sense approach: make sure you turn off electrical equipment not in use, and wear protective equipment. This also sets high standards for your colleagues to follow.
After successfully protecting your own health and safety, you can look at making sure others are safe. It is illegal to threaten the well being of your colleagues, either directly or indirectly.
Co-operating with your Employer
Next, you must co-operate with your organisation by attending staff training and making sure that health and safety policies are well-implemented.
An effective channel of communication between employer and employee is vital for a safe workplace. Training gives an employer a chance to raise awareness of potential hazards, injuries and any control measures.
If you don’t attend these sessions, you are liable for any accidents you cause. These sessions are really important, and it is your legal duty as an employee to attend.
Telling your Employer when Something is Wrong
If a health issue is affecting your work, you need to inform your organisation.
This is your responsibility, because if a health issue causes an accident, then you will be liable. For example, you may be taking medication that makes you feel drowsy which is really dangerous is you operate vehicles or heavy machinery. This puts your colleague’s well being into question, and possibly your own.
Using Equipment Properly
Any health and safety equipment given to you or available in the office shouldn’t be misused.
These pieces of equipment are not toys, and they need proper maintenance and storage. Personal protective equipment serves to protect your eyes, head, body, feet and hands. Mistreatment or a lack of maintenance means you are much less safe at work, and you may be liable for any accidents that happen.
Reporting Injuries and Illness
Finally, accidents do happen, and when they do you need to report them to your organisation. Injuries that should be reported can be something as small as a cut, or more serious accidents like fractures.
This is really important, because policies can be updated to be more effective. In addition, it is a legal requirement anyway under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).
For more information, you can view our range of online health and safety courses. They are quick, convenient and feature a detailed overview of your legal health and safety responsibilities. Our risks and responsibilities course has RoSPA and CPD approval.