Imagine you’re in the office, and when you’re walking to your desk, you spot a puddle on the floor. What do you do?
- Do you believe it’s someone else's responsibility, so you simply walk past and ignore it?
- Do you report it to the concerned person to clear it up?
If you don’t report it for cleaning, your other colleagues may not notice the puddle and slip, fall, and injure themselves.
Is this injury your responsibility? Who is responsible for workplace health and safety? Although directly it isn’t your responsibility, it’s your duty to report the puddle, at the least, so you can make the workplace a safe one.
Although this seems like a trivial health and safety issue, some worksites come with greater risks than others. This is why it’s good to know who is responsible for workplace health and safety at work to ensure safety within the workplace.
Who Is Responsible For Workplace Health And Safety At Work?
Largely, business owners and employers are responsible for workplace health and safety within the workplace.
As per health and safety law, it’s also a legal requirement because you are required to protect the health, safety, and well-being of your workforce and others who are in close proximity to it such as visitors, customers, the general public, etc.
Business owners or employers are an organization’s decision-makers and hence, they’re responsible for workplace health and safety. The reason is employers have the resources to adequately support health and safety within the workplace.
That being said, safety is a team effort. All members of the staff, collectively, must be responsible for occupational safety and health and aware of safety at work, safety responsibilities, and overall safety within the workplace.
One employee acting irresponsibly can not only hurt themself but others too.
With clear health and safety management systems, you can quickly identify specific risks and the ones responsible for them. This will help with risk management and business interruptions, which is beneficial for any business.
What Are The Responsibilities Of Employees And Employers In Health And Safety?
Workplace health and safety vary from business to business. For some organizations, it’s pretty straightforward. Simple things like a wet floor sign or good housekeeping can help with smooth day-to-day functioning.
For others, there need to be more significant, in-depth, and stringent checks to ensure complete safety within the workplace.
Essentially, the responsibilities of employees and employers in health and safety depend on the following.
- The industry you work in
- The size and scope of operations
- The structure of the business
We’ll talk about the responsibilities of employees and employers in health and safety in detail down below.
What Are Employers’ Health And Safety Responsibilities At The Workplace?
1. Carry out risk assessments
To assess the health and safety within the workplace, employers must identify health and safety hazards and assess the risks they pose. Once you identify and evaluate risks, business owners and employers must also implement effective safety measures, and create method statements for high-risk activities.
2. Determine who needs protection
As an employer, you need to take into consideration the health and safety of every single employee on your premises. This consists of staff members, from full-time employees to part-timers to contractors, pregnant women, etc.
3. Enforce safety procedures
It’s the responsibility of the employer to ensure the area is marked as safe to work. This includes relevant and satisfactory health and safety management protocols, such as suitable training, replacing old machinery with new ones, supplying PPE kits, etc. Whatever it takes to keep people safe.
4. Create a health and safety policy
A written document containing safety within the workplace is legally required as per health and safety law. From safety responsibilities to health and safety training to carrying out risk assessments to evacuation plans, it must be carefully detailed everything.
5. Communicate workplace health and safety with your staff
Once the policy is laid out, you need to communicate it with employees on a frequent basis. Here, encourage your employees to speak up about any concerns or risks that you can address to help with work safely.
6. Set up health and safety training
Training is a must for all employees to ensure they understand the potential risks at the workplace. The training can vary based on specifics like the employee’s role, duties, etc.
For instance, as compared to those working at a desk, someone working closely on chemical substances will need chemical spill training. Don’t forget to include training in emergency situations like fires, etc.
What Are Employees' Health And Safety Responsibilities At The Workplace?
1. Understand the risks associated with your work
If you’re joining a chemical company, there are certain risks involved. You must be aware of them and ensure you work safely to minimize them.
2. Attend training sessions
While employers provide health and safety training, it’s your responsibility to attend the sessions. It will improve your knowledge of the protocols to follow, different safety and health topics, the use of safety equipment, and more.
3. Follow and comply with instructions
Don’t ignore the training sessions. You must put all the training you receive into practice and comply with them. So you can take care of your own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your actions at work.
4. Report any flaws in the safety management systems
Whether it’s something as small as a puddle or a bigger risk, you should report it to the concerned team.
5. Have a dynamic approach
You cannot have a laid-back approach with safety within the workplace. You must be proactive to help keep hazards at a minimum. From cleaning up after yourself or putting away obstacles, small steps will go a long way.
What Initiatives Can Employers Take To Improve Workplace Health And Safety Management?
In addition to the above points, there are several initiatives to improve health and safety in the workplace.
1. Health and safety training
Employees must be aware of their own responsibilities in ensuring safety at work. It’s important to train your workforce in the different health and safety strategies and how to implement them. This way, each one is aware and follows up after themselves.
2. Promote engagement and participation
Having a health and safety program in place is a legal requirement, but it’s of no use if your employees don’t engage with it. So business owners must take the time out to encourage and promote health and safety. This can be through training sessions, noticing hazards, the buddy system, etc.
Ultimately, a healthier and safer workplace increases employee job satisfaction, productivity, and business performance.
3. Designate health and safety representatives
While business owners are responsible for health safety and welfare, they may not be always present in the office and may not be aware of the first-hand hazards in the office. A representative or a delegated person is present on the floor during working hours and can address any concerns immediately.
Along with this, they can relay any information to top-level management who can address and resolve them.
4. Focus on well-being
One of the primary reasons behind workplace mishaps is stress. When you’re stressed and your mind is elsewhere it reflects in your work and leads to unintentional casualties.
Through workplace wellness programs, you can help your employees address several issues they face and help overcome them. Whether it’s stress, mental health, nutrition, maternity care, etc. a holistic well-being program addresses, promotes, and solves these issues.
5. Group health insurance
Besides being mandatory in India after the COVID-19 pandemic, GMC (group medical cover) and GPA (group personal accident) is a form of health insurance that protect employees and their families during a medical emergency. In high-risk work environments, you never know when a hazard can crop up.
Ensuring your employees are well-protected gives both you and them peace of mind, helps them focus on improved productivity, and thus, boosts your bottom line.
The Key To Safety Is in Your Hands
To uphold health and safety practices daily requires good communication, clarity, commitment, and team effort. While employees' health and safety responsibilities largely lie in the hands of the employer, as employees, you must do the heavy lifting to avoid accidents, and injuries and minimize risk.
For that added level of protection, it’s best to consult with the experts - Loop.
Check out our customizable group health plans to ensure your organization gets the protection it deserves and the care your team needs. Plus, our in-house team of doctors is available 24X7 and can help with any health-related issue via the Loop app.
That’s not all! The wellness sessions ensure your employees are mentally sound to put in their 100%!
Partner with Loop for amazing health benefits and care for your team!