The pandemic has seen many workers across the UK working from home to help maintain social distancing rules. But as lockdown restrictions are eased more and more of us are being asked to return to the workplace. It is understandable that some people may be concerned for their safety and that accidents at work could happen when they return.
Accident at work specialists, First4Lawyers say if you are concerned about this the first thing to remember is that it is the duty of your employer to put safety measures in place to protect their employees and ensure accidents at work do not occur. In fact, business owners have been warned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that they could be prosecuted if they don’t stick to safety rules.
As a result, you have the right to report your employer to the HSE if you feel unsafe and think there is a chance that accidents at work could occur. The HSE has the power to inspect workplaces and order them to take immediate action. In really extreme cases they can even ban certain activities if there is a risk of serious injury. Failing to comply with the rules is a criminal offence so your employer could face prosecution.
So, what should you do if you feel that there is a risk of accidents at work? Although it is possible to report your employer to the HSE, the first step should be to approach your boss informally to raise your concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask them to provide their response in writing to you. Always remember, your employer has a duty of care to protect you at work.
If you don’t get the response you would have hoped for you can raise a formal grievance or go to the HSE. Many would ask if they have a right to refuse to work if you feel unsafe? The answer is that you do. The law states that you have the right to refuse to attend, or leave if you have just arrived. The law protects you when it comes to your safety and states that you should not receive any unfair treatment as a result.
While returning to work in the current climate is understandably stressful it is important to remember that your safety is protected by law. Don’t be afraid to speak up, as doing so could prevent you or one of your colleagues from being involved in an accident at work.