As a worker you are entitled to work in a healthy and safe role.
The Health and Safety Regulations protect you and ensure your working environment is properly controlled.
You have the right to:
- work in places where all the risks to your health and safety are properly controlled;
- stop working and leave the area if you think you are in danger;
- be consulted on matters related to your health and safety at work;
- inform your employer about health and safety issues or concerns;
- contact HSE or your local authority, if you still have health and safety concerns, without getting into trouble;
- join a trade union and be a safety representative;
- paid time off work for training if you are a safety representative;
- a rest break of at least 20 minutes if you work more than six hours at a stretch and to an annual period of paid leave;
- suitable and sufficient toilets, washing facilities and drinking water;
- adequate first-aid facilities.
You must be provided by your employer with all the necessary items to perform your role: if you need protective clothing (PPE), training, health checks etc. then ask you employer for these and remind them it could then be their fault if you were injured without having the use of any of these.
When performing your role, employers should give employees and representatives information that lets them understand:
- what the risks and dangers are for their work, or could be if there are changes to their work which will affect health and safety;
- what is done, or will be done to reduce or stop the risks and dangers;
- what they ought to do when they come across a risk or dangerous situation; and
- the identity of the competent person (this is a trained individual who has the correct level of training, experience and knowledge to assist).
However, you do have a general duty to take care of yourself during the working day. For example if you know you should wear a safety hat, all Managers repeatedly remind you to wear a safety hat but then you are injured without wearing one, it is unlikely you will have the ability to bring a claim against your employer. If, on the other hand, the employer does not provide a safety hat or the safety hat is not fit for purpose and you are injured, then you could potentially have an avenue of recovering money from them.