Collaborative Post¦ Getting to work can be hazardous enough, whether you’re a pedestrian or a driver, as there are all kinds of risks on the road.
But what should you do if your workplace is also hazardous?
You don’t come to work expecting to be involved in an accident, but if there are any health and safety problems at your place of work, you could be in danger.
It’s your employee’s responsibility to make sure you’re safe. So, what should you do if you spot any hazards?
#1: Speak to your employer
It’s your duty of care to yourself and your work colleagues to report any health and safety hazard that you see.
Health and safety hazards can include:
- Frayed carpets or rugs that could cause somebody to fall
- Chemical spills (which could include cleaning products)
- Office furniture that isn’t ergonomically designed
- Electrical problems within office appliances
- Cables that are strewn across the workplace
- A lack of protective gear for high-risk jobs
Of course, we aren’t only talking about physical safety. We are talking about mental injury as well, as your workplace isn’t safe if there are instances of unfair employer demands, workplace bullying and harassment of any kind.
For all of these instances, you should report them to your employer. Even when you can manage some of the hazards yourself, such as tidying up loose cables, you should still speak to your employer if such hazards become a constant problem. If you’re afraid to speak to your employer alone, gather up a posse from amongst your colleagues and talk to your boss together.
#2: Speak to your trade union representative
If your employer doesn’t take action, then your next course of action is to speak to the safety representative of your trade union. They will investigate your complaints and will stand up for your rights and the rights of the other people in your workplace. The safety rep will report your employer to the local authority or the HSE if they don’t make any attempt to make your workplace safer.
#3: Refuse to come to work
If you don’t feel safe in your workplace, you can refuse to attend. If you are then dismissed as a consequence or if you choose to resign, you have the right to seek legal help and take your employer to an unemployment tribunal. You can also do the same if you have been dismissed for being a whistleblower!
You will need to have a good case, of course. Your concerns about your workplace need to be justified so if your employer has taken reasonable steps to protect you and your colleagues, it would be unwise to stay away from work if adequate safety measures have been put in place.
But if you genuinely feel your safety is at risk and your employer has been negligent, you can take legal action if you wish to do so.
You can also take legal action if you have been injured at work. An injury claims solicitor can advise you further.
How safe is your workplace?
If your workplace isn’t safe, don’t accept the situation. Your health matters as does the health of the people around you. Follow our suggestions and seek further advice, be that from a union rep or a solicitor, as you have the right to stand up for your rights and make a positive difference at your place of work!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.