It is commonly known that there are certain laws in place regarding health and safety. These laws stretch broadly in terms of their core objectives, some focus more on interpersonal safety however, a significant number relate to the well-being of employees at work.
When an employer recruits a new member of staff, they are the ones who are ultimately responsible for protecting them. Every organisation must uphold a duty of care to their staff whereby their safety is monitored and the upmost is done in order to prevent an incident from occurring. Failure to adhere to the law can lead to consequences such as fines and in serious cases, custodial sentences.
It’s important for an employer to understand what legal regulation is in place in order for them to implement the appropriate safety procedures. Nonetheless, it is just as crucial for employees to know exactly what laws protect their personal safety with regards to their rights and responsibilities.
Below are the 5 most significant laws that currently stand as a means to help ensure for a safer workplace.
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering health and safety in the workplace. It places duty of care on employers to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all employees.
- The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 makes it a criminal offence for anyone to peruse a course of conduct they know or ought to know would cause a person to feel alarmed, distressed or in fear of violence, The Act was amended in 2012 to include stalking as a serious offence.
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 is an Act that highlights that employers are obliged to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to the hazards that each employee faces at work. It is required by law for this risk assessment to be formally written and dated if the organisation has 5 or more members of staff.
- The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into place in more recent years, outlining the criminal liabilities of organisation where a safety breach has resulted in death.
- Commonly known as RIDDOR, under this Act employers must notify their enforcing authority in the event of an incident resulting in minor injury, major injury and death. It is crucial that this is reported especially if the employee is unable to work for more than seven days.
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