Safety at Work: Rights and Responsibilities

 For employers, it is a legal commitment to make a workplace safe and healthy. Although this requires certain investment from them, employers can also benefit by having a trusted, healthy, productive and loyal workers. On the other side, employees also have their responsibilities and rights too, concerning their own safety and safety of their colleagues. It is essential the employees are familiar with those facts, so they can participate in building a safe and healthy work environment. Here, we will try to explain those rights and responsibilities, in general.

Know Your Rights

Regardless of the country you are living in, your rights as a worker are almost certainly guaranteed by law, meaning that no employer should diminish them or ignore them all together. To prevent your employer from ever trying to change them or remove them, you will have to know what you have and what you might lose. Here are some of the most basic rights that protect workers at their workplaces.
     Any risks to employees’ health and safety should be properly controlled.
     If there is a need for personal safety equipment it should be provided to employees free of charge.
     If the employee has reasonable concerns about his/her safety, he/she should be able to leave work immediately without being sanctioned.
     Employee has the right (and responsibility) to tell his/her manager/employer about those concerns.
     If the employer does not pay attention to employee’s concerns, the employee has the right to contact local authorities or an institution in charge of health and safety.
     Employee must have rest breaks during the day, to be able to perform his/her job properly.

Know Your Responsibilities

With a set of rights, comes an equal set of responsibilities. Here are some things that are in the hands of workers when it comes to their safety at the workplace.
     Employees should take reasonable care about their safety.
     If operating some machinery, employees should remove jewelry and wear tighter clothes.
     It is essential for employees not to jeopardize their colleagues with their actions.
     Employees should participate in safety-related trainings organized by the employer.
     The safety equipment provided by the employers must not be misused.
     Employees must report any illnesses or injuries suffered as a result of them doing their job.
     It is important to tell the employer about any health issue that could prevent employee from doing his/her job properly, and eventually, lead to injuries or illnesses.
     The employees should inform each other about any safety concerns.
     They must comply with the relevant statutory provisions.
     Workers must avoid engaging in dangerous behaviors at the workplace.

Employer’s Duties

If the employer does not fulfill some of the duties, the employee should address to manager or a higher instance in the company. If their reaction is not solving the problem, employee can contact the authorities. The main duties of an employer are:
     To ensure the safety of all workers.
     To create secure working environment.
     To provide the necessary trainings and instructions concerning safety (e.g. fire drills).
     To implement the needed measures for protection of employees at their workplace.
     To provide protective equipment when required.
     To report any dangers or accidents to authorities.
     To have strategies for solving safety issues, e.g. to have a precise emergency evacuation diagram clearly displayed in different parts of the company building.
     To ensure the safety measures are equal for all workers, including temporary ones.
     To appoint a competent person to supervise the employees safety (if the job requires it).

As you see, a safe and productive work environment is created by joined efforts of employees and employers. Otherwise, the endeavor is bound to fail.

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