Every job has certain risks. But the vast majority can be managed if employers and staff work together to keep everyone safe and healthy at work.

By law, your employer must carry out a risk assessment of the workplace. That means that they need to work out what hazards there are and judge what level of risk they pose to workers’ health and safety. Then they have to figure out ways to minimise the risk of harm.

Workers also have a legal duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others who could be affected by their actions. They must also cooperate with their employer to make sure health and safety laws are followed.

If you’re worried about your health or safety at work, you have a right to raise your concerns and you mustn’t be punished or dismissed for doing this.

In a unionised workplace, you can approach your safety rep with any concerns. Otherwise, consider working with together with colleagues to negotiate solutions.

When workers act together, employers are more likely to pay attention, and to introduce new policies that make the workplace safer for everyone.

Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section

Common
questions
What are risk assessments and how are they used?
A risk assessment is carried out to determine what risks exist in the workplace and what measures are needed to combat them...
How often should a risk assessment take place?
Risk should be assessed every time there are new machines, substances and procedures, which could lead to new hazards.
What are the five steps to risk assessment?
Identify hazards, decide who may be harmed, assess the risks and take action, make a record of the findings, review the risk assessment.