Employee health and safety

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An employer can only do so much to safeguard employee's health and safety
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Employee health and safety lies with both employer and worker

An employer can put every conceivable health and safety precaution into effect in the workplace but if the employee doesn’t mind the rules, follow proper procedures, read warning signs and in general do his part it is all for naught.

What is an employee’s responsibility for health and safety? Well it is his life and health that is at stake so it should stand to reason that the employee would vigilantly safeguard and follow the rules. But that’s not always the case.

It goes without saying that employers have legal obligations to guarantee the health and safety of the workplace, but employees have responsibilities as well and must be accountable for their own behavior and actions.

For example, if employees are not supposed to wear jewelry in the work place because it is feared that it will get it tangled in equipment, don’t wear jewelry. The same goes for not wearing loose clothing or anything that is going to put the employee at risk when operating machinery. If you are required to wear a hard hat, wear it.

If an employee blatantly disregards the precautions that have been put in place, if injured he has no one to blame but himself. These rules were not enacted randomly. There is a reason why workers shouldn’t wear jewelry and loose clothing so don’t.

When an employer goes the extra mile to implement health and safety programs yet there is little understanding or engagement in these programs by the employees this is disappointing.

Employees need to be motivated to be responsible for their own health. No one can do this for them. If the company that employs you offers a smoking cessation course free of charge or information on diabetes or any other number of conditions and diseases that afflict those in the work force, the employee would be foolish not to take advantage of these.

An employee needs to make sure that he is operating in a manner that is not putting other people in jeopardy. An employee needs to report any misuse of equipment or violation of operating policies that are there to protect the workers.

Go to all training meetings and learn what is needed to know about safety and health precautions and measures.

If an employee has taken medication that makes him drowsy, tell his supervisor. An employee shouldn't drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this type of medication.

Tell your supervisor when injured or pregnant or if something has occurred that makes it impossible to do the job.

The employer must provide personnel with personal protective equipment and the personnel needs to know how to use it. If an employee fails to wear or use the equipment he can be disciplined or even fired. On the other hand, if the personal protective equipment is putting the employee at risk because it isn’t the right size or there is something defective about it, the employee can refuse wear it and ask for a replacement that does fit or isn't defective.

Employers can't read minds. If there are concerns about your health and safety at the workplace speak up and tell the boss about your concerns or tell the union rep or safety rep.

This is a two-way street. If the employer and employees routinely communicate and cooperate with one another the outcome is beneficial to all concerned.There will be fewer injuries and accidents at work, a reduction in health problems, fewer missed work days due to sickness or injury and the company will be saving money, which may, in time, end up in the workers' pockets rather than paying for things that could have been avoided.

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