The Shared Responsibility for Health and Safety in the Workplace

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Nigel Lewis BA (Hons) CMIOSH OSHCR PIEMA
Shared Safety
Table of Contents

Safety standards in UK workplaces have risen considerably over recent decades, thanks in large part to the risk management regulations implemented under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Under this legislation, both employers and employees share responsibilities for ensuring workplace safety.

What are the Employers’ Duties?

Under UK laws, employers bear the primary responsibility for risk control, aiming to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their personnel and others affected by their operations. 

  • Employers are required to conduct thorough risk assessments to identify and address potential hazards. These assessments must be recorded for organisations with five or more staff members. 


  • Employers must also appoint competent individuals to assist in implementing the risk assessment arrangements.


  • Furthermore, employers must provide employees with information about workplace hazards and the protective measures in place, along with suitable instruction and training. 


  • Consulting employees on health and safety issues is also a key responsibility, whether directly or through elected safety representatives.


What are the Employees’ Responsibilities?

While the burden of health and safety primarily falls on employers, employees also have significant responsibilities. 

  • They are expected to cooperate with employers and colleagues to meet legal requirements, taking reasonable care of their own health and safety while avoiding endangering others.


  • Employees must promptly report any injuries, strains, or illnesses incurred on the job and inform their employers of any changes in their ability to work, such as pregnancy or illness. 


  • Employees must not interfere with or misuse safety equipment provided in the workplace. 


  • They must cooperate with managers to receive proper training and understand health and safety policies. 


It’s a Team Effort

The success of risk control hinges on collaboration between employers and employees. By working together, both parties can effectively minimise workplace hazards and create a safer environment for all. Continuous communication, cooperation, and adherence to safety protocols are essential for maintaining workplace safety standards and protecting the well-being of everyone involved. Through shared responsibility and commitment, workplaces can foster a culture of safety and mitigate risks effectively.