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Workplace health and safety

Overview

Key points

  • An employer owes a duty of reasonable care to its employees. An employer has a non-delegable duty to select proper and competent employees, to provide them with adequate materials and resources for the work, and to operate a safe system of working.
  • Employees owe a duty of care to their employers to act in a safe manner whilst working for them.
  • In terms of health and safety, the principal legislation that employers must adhere to is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974  and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
  • It is good practice to monitor the health of employees to pick up on patterns of injury or illness.
  • If a company employs five or more people, it must have a written health and safety policy.
  • Employers are required to carry out a risk assessment to identify the measures necessary to comply with health and safety law.
  • Employers and line managers should also know how to comply with accident reporting procedures under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
  • To avoid liability for injuries suffered by workers, employers must observe statutory duties and take reasonable care to operate a safe system of work.
  • Employers can also refer to the Health and Safety Executive's website for further health and safety procedures and employment law updates.
Health and safety and the 2020 coronavirus outbreak

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, organisations are reminded of their duty of care to keep employees healthy and safe at work. Likewise, employees should also be reminded that they have a duty of care towards themselves and others and, to this end, should avoid putting themselves at risk.