Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?  

In every workplace, safety should be a top priority. But who is responsible for ensuring everyone stays safe and healthy on the job?  

At trainingEXP, we understand that this question can be complex and confusing. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you understand who holds the responsibility for workplace safety.  

Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and skills you need to create a positive, productive, and safe workplace culture. So, whether you’re an employer, employee, or simply interested in workplace safety, this guide is for you.  

Who Is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?  

Ensuring workplace health and safety is a shared responsibility that involves everyone in the company. No single person can be solely responsible for such an important task.   

Instead, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) expects all individuals in a company, including business owners, managers, supervisors, contractors, and staff at all levels, to play a role in promoting health and safety.  

However, this does not mean everyone has the same level of responsibility. Different staff members have different health and safety duties to uphold based on their roles within the company.   

Employer’s Responsibility  

According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, it is the legal duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of their employees while they are at work.   

This means employers are obligated to keep their employees and anyone affected by their business safe from harm. To meet health and safety responsibilities, employers should:  

Carry out risk assessments and method statements  

Employers must inspect the workplace to identify hazards and assess risks to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. Once risks have been identified and evaluated, employers must implement effective safety measures and create method statements for high-risk activities.   

This can include training on manual handling, fire safety, first aid, and more specific training for high-risk activities. Proper training not only meets legal obligations but also creates a culture of safety in the workplace.  

Consult employees about health and safety  

Employees can provide helpful feedback about the hazards they face on a day-to-day basis. This can help employers identify and address potential risks.  

Select suitable contractors  

Employers must select contractors with the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out work safely and efficiently. Contractors should also have insurance, such as public liability and professional indemnity insurance, to protect businesses from financial losses due to accidents or injuries caused by contractors.   

Employers can also check for accreditations like CHAS to ensure contractors meet specific health and safety standards. By selecting qualified and insured contractors, employers can help create a safer and healthier work environment.  

Create written health and safety policies   

Employers with more than five employees are legally required to create written health and safety policies, as outlined in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This policy statement should set out the employer’s general policy for ensuring the health and safety of their employees and others affected by their work.   

Having a written policy is hugely important for communicating health and safety procedures to the whole company and ensuring everyone knows their responsibilities. Health and safety policies should be regularly reviewed and updated to remain relevant and effective.  

Communicate health and safety information

This includes making employees and contractors aware of existing policies and updating them if any changes occur. Employers should also provide regular annual refresher training to ensure everyone is aware of the latest health and safety procedures.  

Display the approved health and safety poster

The poster displays essential health and safety responsibilities information and should be displayed where every worker can see it. If this isn’t possible, employers need to provide all employees with leaflets with the same information.  

Provide safety equipment and PPE

This is the responsibility of employers to provide the necessary safety equipment, such as first aid kits and personal protective equipment, needed to reduce risks in the workplace. Employers need to offer this equipment free of charge.  

Provide effective health and safety training for staff 

To understand and act on risks, staff need a certain degree of health and safety knowledge. Employers are required to provide health and safety training with annual refreshers for all staff to further ensure safety.  

Contractors may also need training, or at least they will need to be provided with the health and safety information related to your workplace, such as where the fire exits are. This can help prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.  

Employee’s Responsibility  

Employees also play a crucial role in ensuring workplace health and safety. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) emphasises that “workers have a duty to take care of their own Health and Safety, and that of others who may be affected by your actions at work”.  

Your involvement is essential for effectively implementing safety measures in the workplace. Therefore, you must be aware of your responsibilities and follow them diligently.  

Here are some of the key responsibilities that employees have when it comes to health and safety:   

Follow health and safety training

As an employee, you are responsible for attending and following health and safety training provided by your employer. While employers are required to provide annual health and safety training, attending the training and applying the knowledge gained is essential for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.  

The training can cover a wide range of health and safety topics, including first aid, safe use of equipment, and hazardous substance control. Once you complete the training, you must apply this knowledge to the workspace.   

Implement health and safety policies  

Just as you must follow safety training, you must also implement precautions outlined in the company’s health and safety policies. Health and safety policies provide information specific to your company or project. In contrast, training only delivers general health and safety knowledge.   

You must follow the safety procedures detailed in the company policy and implement any required safety precautions before starting a task.  

Keep up to date with health and safety policies

Employers should communicate health and safety policies with employees. When they do so, you must take the time to digest the information as an employee. You should read health and safety policies, ensure you understand them and ask any questions to your manager about anything you might be unsure about.   

Suppose any updates to the company’s policies or procedures are communicated. In that case, you need to read and implement these changes as soon as possible.   

If you need to refresh your knowledge of health and safety information, you should use your initiative to revisit training materials or health and safety documents such as company policies, risk assessments and method statements.  

Work with employers to ensure good health and safety 

Working with employers to ensure good health and safety involves providing full and honest opinions when consulted about health and safety matters. By providing your expertise and knowledge, you can help employers create relevant and effective health and safety policies that promote a safer and healthier work environment for all employees.  

Report safety risks and inadequate precautions   

As an employee, you use the workspace and carry out potentially risky activities every day, so you may be more likely to spot hazards and failings in safety procedures. If you come across hazards such as faulty electrical equipment, broken or ineffective PPE, or you notice safety precautions aren’t effectively reducing the risk, you’re required to report this to your employer or a senior member of staff.  

It is worth noting that these duties apply to all employees. Still, senior staff may be required to better understand health and safety policies and regulations. Following these responsibilities can help create a safe and healthy workplace for everyone.  

Health and Safety Courses at trainingEXP  

At trainingEXP, we’re on a mission to make health and safety training less of a snooze-fest and more of a breeze. That’s why we offer a range of online courses that are convenient, engaging, and effective.  

Our courses are designed to help you meet your legal responsibilities and create a safe workplace. Our online platform lets you complete the courses whenever and wherever you want. So, whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, you can learn at your own pace and on your terms.  

We know that time is money, which is why our eLearning courses can be purchased in bulk and taken on an as-needed basis. That way, you can integrate them into your busy schedule without disrupting your day-to-day business activities.  

These courses cover various topics, from basic fire safety awareness to first aid, manual handling, and banksman training. We’ve got you covered, no matter what your business needs.  

Invest In Health & Safety Training Today   

Employers and employees share the responsibility for health and safety in the workplace.  

By working together, employers and employees can create a culture of safety in the workplace. This involves open communication, regular training, and a commitment to identifying and addressing potential hazards.  

By investing in health and safety training, employers can equip their employees with the knowledge and skills needed to work safely and responsibly. Contact us now to learn more about our courses and get started.