It is the employers’ duty to ensure the safety of their employees at work sites all over the United Kingdom, whether these locations are white collar locations like offices or blue collar locations like construction sites. Even white collar workers can be subject to safety risks at the field and the employer must also ensure the safety of workers outside the office.
The U.K. is a multicultural country; thus, it is natural for a certain workplace to have workers of all nationalities. It is also the employers’ duty to avoid discrimination and accord equal safety rights to all nationalities.
The safety guidelines of the U.K. is a complex issue and there are numerous safety regulations for different types of industries like the construction industry, the oil industry, the manufacturing industry, the healthcare industry, and even the office. However, there are the basic safety and health guidelines that apply to all industries.
One of the foremost safety messages is having knowledge of the right information. Safety representatives must ensure that both workers and employers are aware of the employer’s legal requirement to ensure the safety, welfare, and health of the worker despite the latter’s employment status. There are cases that anti-discrimination and equality legislation will apply.
Safety representatives must emphasize that the Health and Safety at Work Act mandates employers to ensure employees’ safety and any other member of the public who could be harmed. An employer is not exempt from legal liability only because a worker is not employed directly or has no legitimate employment status.
Another safety message is reporting accidents to the proper government agencies like the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Local Authority. Safety representative should ensure that workers are aware of the significance of reporting injury, near-miss, or illness. Representatives must ensure that accident records are checked regularly. This is best done by conducting the right training programmes regarding reporting of accidents and preventing them.
Another safety message is ensuring welfare for workers, whether they are migrant or local. Aside from raising welfare issues, safety representatives can also refer workers to local community groups and advice centres to seek help in welfare or housing matters. Safety representatives must also ensure that all workers can access first aid provisions, that there are proper arrangements for fire safety, and workers can access occupational health support and advice.
There are industries like the construction, engineering, oil gas, and manufacturing industries that may put workers at risk of contraction occupational diseases. Safety representatives must ensure that workers are given free and appropriate protective equipment or clothing and these workers are trained on how to use them.
The United Kingdom has a very efficient system when it comes to securing the health and safety of its workers. However, despite the iron-clad laws that govern safety, there are some employers that – deliberately or inadvertently – expose their workers to various dangers. If the employer does not hold his end of the bargain, the worker has the right to claim compensation. With that, there are multiple legal options and trade unions that can help employees claim their rights.