HSE chief: Choose to be safe at work - Palmers Solicitors

HSE chief: Choose to be safe at work

The chairwoman of the Health and Safety Executive has highlighted the importance of individuals “choosing to be safe” at work.

Writing in a blog on 19 March, Judith Hackitt said that Jason Anker, a speaker at a conference she recently attended, had forcefully reminded her of every employee’s duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act to “while at work to take reasonable care for the health and safety of him/herself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work”.

Jason was paralysed from the waist down due to an avoidable accident when he fell off a ladder in 1993, aged 24. Ms Hackitt said: “For more than a decade Jason was angry about what had happened to him, the life he had to get used to and the effect it had on his family.

“He admits to still getting angry, but more often than not he channels that anger into his passion to prevent others making the same mistakes he made. What makes Jason’s story so powerful is that he hasn’t become a victim – he recognises that he took a decision to do something unsafe – and lives changed because of a decision he took, a choice he made.

“The message is very simple – every single one of us has a choice to make about being safe – or unsafe – at work, and we bear responsibility for the consequences.”

As Ms Hackitt points out, workers have a duty of care to their own health and safety and that of others but they are also entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled.

All employers are legally required to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees and any other people who might be affected by their activities, by assessing risks of injury or damage to health that could occur in the workplace and taking steps to manage and control these risks.

As part of our Palmers’ health and safety services, we can advise on health and safety rules and requirements and assist employers on putting in place practical measures to ensure their business stays compliant and that their employees are aware of their own responsibilities. We can also provide expert legal advice and representation at health and safety-related interviews and prosecutions.

For more information on our health and safety compliance services, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.