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A Safe and Healthy Work Place


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Do you feel that your employer is ensuring that you are working in a healthy and safe environment? It may surprise you to know that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are busier than ever cracking down on unsafe work practices even in 21st century Britain. The dark satanic mills of the 19th century may be long gone but dubious and unsafe work practices continue all around the country from shops and offices to factories and industrial units. These are accidents waiting to happen where employees are being put at risk or forced to work in a less than healthy environment.

Sometimes it is a simple issue such as storing heavy or dangerous materials at a height or that workers are at risk as they endeavour to retrieve goods from hard to reach areas or from damaged shelving. It could be inadequate training such as knowing how to use a fork life truck correctly or using the wrong equipment for a job. It could be poor lighting or ventilation or even inadequate breaks causing workers to become tired and careless. All these can contribute to accidents and injuries in the workplace.

The HSE mission is "To protect people's health and safety by ensuring risks in the changing work place are properly controlled." However it is important to understand that health and safety at work is a two-way street requiring employer and employee to co-operate and work together to ensure a safe work place. The primary responsibility of your employer is to ensure that risks to the health and safety of its employees are properly controlled. To this end all work activities are covered by health and safety laws that employers must adhere to whether they run an oilrig or a bakery. Most of these issues are covered by the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act.

Equally you as the employee have a responsibility to look after your own well being and that of your colleagues. So for example your employer is required by law to ensure you have any appropriate safety or protective clothing your job may require. If you then choose not to wear that protective clothing and you injure yourself or others as a direct result you could be in some pretty deep water, especially if you have been repeatedly told to wear the appropriate safety gear. If on the other hand your employer has not supplied the required safety gear, whether or not you asked for it, and you or others are injured as a direct result your employer will be in serious trouble.

If you feel that there are reasonable health and safety concerns in your workplace you should raise them with your employer without fear of being dismissed. Equally if you feel you are being asked to use equipment that you have not had the appropriate training for or are being asked to take unnecessary risks that could endanger you or your colleagues you have the right to say no without being disciplined or losing your job. If your health and safety concerns are not being addressed despite numerous requests then you can contact the HSE confidentially and they will investigate.

In the unfortunate event that you may be injured at work due to negligence on the part of your employer a personal injury lawyer will be able to take up a claim on your behalf. Make sure they are aware of all the facts surrounding the incident including any issues that you may have raised with your employer about health and safety aspects to do with your workplace that may have caused the incident in the first place. This also applies to issues such as industrial related asthma where inappropriate ventilation or lack of protective clothing may well have made the symptoms worse.

About the Author is run by a non-practising Personal Injury Solicitor with over 14 years personal injury claims experience. We deal in a range of claims, including personal injury claims and compensation.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-09-07 20:24:15 in Employee Articles

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