The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 ensures every employer in Ireland has clear obligations to ensure the health and welfare at work of both full-time employees and agency staff. It does not matter if the workplace is a small shop or a large construction site. The employee is also expected to act responsibly and avoid intentionally putting themselves at risk of an injury. Both parties need to make an effort to avoid work hazards.
Avoiding workplace accidents
Depending on the employee’s role, they can check below to determine whether the employer had complied with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and provide the safest workplace possible.
An employer must:
- Maintain a safe workplace, machinery and equipment.
- Use appropriate measures to prevent risks that may come from the use of any article or substance and prevent risks from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration.
- Prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare of employees at risk.
- Ensure that employees are always up to date with all health and safety measures needed for their role. An example of this would be manual handling courses.
- Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees (at no cost to employees).
- Appoint a competent person as the organisation’s Safety Officer.
- Carry out a risk assessment for the workplace, which should identify potential hazards that could lead to a workplace accident.
In conclusion, employers have a legal duty to ensure safe operations are in place to protect their employees.
Where an accident at work occurs, an employer must report the accident to the Health and Safety Authority. Employers are legally obliged to report the accident if the worker cannot perform their duties for three consecutive days. Furthermore, it is worth noting that in this three-day count, the day of the accident is excluded.
Will my job security be affected?
Employees often worry they will lose their job if they bring a claim forward against their employer. This is not the case as job security legislation protects employees against dismissal if a claim is brought forward after a workplace accident.
Most prudent employers have employer liability insurance in place. The insurance will take an active role in the claim and often remove the personal element out of the process.