Personal Safety - Your Responsibility

We often hear these days about ‘who is to blame’ for something going wrong or someone being hurt. It might be the fault of the Government who should pass a law about it, the person who stopped too suddenly so you went into the back of them, the piece of equipment that was not properly maintained, but at the end of the day the person ultimately responsible for your own personal safety is you.

All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled and under health and safety law the primary responsibility for this is down to employers. However, workers have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions at work. They must co-operate with employers and co-workers to help everyone meet their legal requirements. At the end of the day it is down to the individual to implement what they have learned and to follow the procedures their employer has laid down to control risks.

When staff are pushed for time, overloaded with work and under pressure, it can be tempting to cut corners and not perform a task as they have been trained to do, safely.  Individuals make everyday decisions about the tasks they perform and their decisions can directly reduce or increase the risk to themselves and others.

Using lone working as an example, we all make choices in the course of our work – the route we take, where we park, when we ask for help, which can all impact on the level of risk we place ourselves in. If you know you are visiting someone who has a history of verbal or physical assault, you have a responsiblity to implement the risk control procedures your organisation will have laid down, such as advising someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, asking for someone to accompany you, changing the time of the visit, using emergency code words or speaking to your manager to explain your concerns.

If you have had conflict management training, only you can decide if you feel it has equipped you to manage the situation safely.

By taking responsibility for your own safety and working with your employer you can significantly increase your awareness and engagement, leading to a safer and more positive working environment.

The key worker responsibilities for health and safety at work are:

  • to take reasonable care not to put other people - fellow employees and members of the public - at risk by what you do or don't do in the course of your work
  • to co-operate with your employer, to make sure you get proper training and that you understand and follow the company's health and safety policies
  • follow the training you have received when using any work items your employer has given you
  • not to interfere with or misuse anything that's been provided for your health, safety or welfare
  • to report any injuries, strains or illnesses you suffer as a result of doing your job, your employer may need to change the way you work
  • to tell your employer if something happens that might affect your ability to work, like becoming pregnant or suffering an injury. Your employer does of course also have a legal responsibility for your health and safety and they need to know about something before they can find a solution
  • to tell someone (your employer, supervisor, or health and safety representative) if you think the work or inadequate precautions are putting anyone’s health and safety at serious risk.

References:

Health and Safety Law, What you Need to Know

nidirect.gov.uk Employees Health and Safety Responsibilities

See also: Lone Worker Safety

 

Posted by Maybo on March 7, 2016

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