You have the right to be safe at work, wherever you work and whatever you do. The coronavirus pandemic has made this even more important.
Make sure you know your rights about health and safety at work, and what to do if you experience a problem.
Know the risks
Your employer has a legal duty to keep you safe at work. They must provide information and training to help you do your job safely.
They must assess your workplace to identify any potential risks to health and safety, and install precautions and procedures to mitigate them.
If your employer has more than 5 employees they must share a written risk assessment with you.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) provides an employees’ guide to risk assessment and safely returning to the workplace.
If you are working from home during the pandemic, the TUC also provides a guide to risk assessment for homeworkers.
Join a union
Workplaces that recognise trade unions have fewer cases of work-related illness, injury and death. They involve unions in risk-assessment processes.
If you encounter a problem at work, a union can support you with representation and legal advice.
More than 6.5 million people in the UK belong to a trade union. We encourage you to join one.
- Use the TUC’s join a union tool to find the most appropriate union for your place of work
Seek advice if you have concerns
Contact your union if you have concerns about safety at work. You can also contact the TUC’s helpline on 0800 917 2368.
You should also discuss the problem with your manager and colleagues, and ask your employer to resolve it. Your union can represent you if you do not want to raise the issue yourself.
You are entitled to see your employer’s risk assessments and any actions outlined to avoid risks.
Report a breach
If a problem is not resolved, you or your union must escalate the matter to the ‘enforcing authority’. This will usually be the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local council.
Enforcing authorities have powers to ensure your employer makes your workplace safe.
If the enforcing authority is your local council, contact us if you work in Cambridge. If you work somewhere else, find your local council on the government website.
You or your union should contact the HSE immediately if, after reporting a problem, you remain worried that you are in danger.
- Your health, your safety – A guide for workers published by the HSE and TUC