Every employer owes the people in their workplace a duty of care, and the top priority should be to provide a safe workplace for all their employees.
It is therefore the responsibility of an employer to ensure that all employees remain safe when they are at work. This duty of care refers to how the work is planned and carried out, if all equipment is suitable for the job, if the workplace is organised safely and correctly and if all staff receive the training they need for their job, including refresher courses.
Any failings in these are taken very seriously by the courts, and can lead to claims being made against employees. With this in mind, we have taken a look at five examples of how an employer has a duty of care to their workers:
Safe manual handling procedures
When at work, your employer shouldn’t ask you to handle any item that is likely to cause you an injury. This could be lifting, carrying, lowering, pushing or pulling an item.
Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, employer should avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far is reasonably practical. This should be done by redesigning the task to avoid moving the load, or do what they can to avoid injury to workers where such handling operations cannot be avoided.
Provide good lighting
As part of the duty to provide a safe working environment, your employer should ensure that the area where you are working is adequately lit.
Different areas of the workplace may call for different levels of lighting, so your employer must make sure they have adhered to these rules. They should also regularly check the lighting on their premises, as failure to do so could result in a worker becoming injured.
Avoid “one off” requests
Employers must follow health and safety regulations at all times, and not ask workers to ignore them for “one-off” job. It may seem like a quick and simple task on the surface, but it could quite easily result in an injury being sustained.
Provide safe working equipment
Employers must ensure that any and all equipment or machinery provided is suitable for the job at hand. This includes making regular checks on equipment to make sure it is in good working order, and is only being used by personnel who are correctly trained and capable of the task at hand.
Your employer can provide a safe and suitable working environment where they adhere to all health and safety laws at all times, but what happens if you are injured as a result of the actions of a colleague?
All employers are required to have employer’s liability insurance, and they can be fined if they do not have it. Claims are then made against this insurance to compensate injured workers, including those who have been injured by an act of negligence from another colleague.
This is because the law sees the employer as being “vicariously liable”, meaning they are liable for the actions of all employees carried out during the course of their job.
If you have been injured at work and believe you are entitled to a claim, our Devon personal injury solicitors can offer you legal assistance, working on a “no win, no fee” arrangement. Please contact us today for more information.