Health and safety in the workplace have traditionally been the responsibility of employers. Companies have a duty of care to their workers to provide them with a clean, safe, and secure environment, and this is quite literally mandated by law. As a result, businesses need to meet the lion’s share of the many different health and safety standards out there.
However, it’s not all on the heads of employers. There are some important health and safety standards for employees that workers need to meet on their own if they want to remain in compliance. These standards are not nearly as numerous as those that their bosses need to comply with, but they’re just as important – if not more so. Here’s what you need to know.
It’s All About Personal Responsibility
As mentioned above, the main responsibility for workplace safety does indeed rest on the shoulders of an employee’s boss. This takes the form of providing everything a worker needs to remain safe on the job, ranging from proper training on how to do their role and operate any machinery associated with it, providing the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to each employee when needed, keeping the work environment clean, safe, and secure, and ensuring that workers get their legally mandated rest and food breaks.
Yet even among all this, workers are still personally responsible for their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of others on the job. Employees have a responsibility to follow all the proper safety precautions and guidelines that their employer establishes and trains them on. This includes safe working practices such as wearing the PPE provided to them while appropriate, conducting themselves in a safe manner, and not actively circumventing safety measures that the company had put in place specifically to protect workers (such as safety guards on dangerous machinery).
The Consequences of Employees Not Working Safely
It is, of course, in an employee’s best interest to work safely. Not taking risks with their health and safety helps to reduce the risk of accidents that could injure themselves or others, which can result in long recovery times and missed work. There are more consequences than just those, of course – the pain and suffering caused by serious injuries can be long-lasting if not permanent. Meanwhile, employees found to have been willfully flaunting health and safety standards in full knowledge of the dangers they were facing could end up not just injured but out of a job as a result.
These consequences are deadly serious, and it’s part of why employers need to stress compliance with safety rules and regulations while at work. A supervisor may not be able to ensure that safety standards are met whenever their back is turned, but they can certainly ensure their workers know the consequences of non-compliance. In this way, workers can be made aware of just how important it is to follow those employee safety standards.