You would think working in an office would offer a pretty safe, albeit mundane, working environment, but the UK’s courts are rife with claims for accidents that happen in the humble office. One would expect a high proportion of accidents in the agricultural, construction and manufacturing industries, but offices have their own hazards which have led to a rise in claims for illnesses and accidents at work. Although in many cases, it is an employer’s negligence that leads to accidents in the workplace, there are steps that you can take to make your working environment a healthier place to be.
Did you know that as an employee you hold a certain level of responsibility towards the safety of your working environment? There are simple steps you can take to ensure you do not endanger colleagues, and preserve your own safety at work.
- Report any loose wires, faulty equipment or potential hazards such as equipment and boxes in walkways and doorways
- Keep your work area clean and tidy: keep liquids away from computers and laptops; keep your work area free from obstructions; make your employer aware of any damaged or broken equipment
- Wash your hands – working with many people immediately puts you at risk of contracting any number of illnesses. If you share equipment such as computer keyboards and telephones, make sure they are cleaned regularly and always wash your hands after using the toilet.
- If you are ill and that illness may impact on your ability to do your job, or could be passed on to colleagues and other staff, inform your supervisor at the earliest opportunity.
Much legislation relating to responsibilities in the workplace is based on common sense, and further information about this and other employment matters can be found at GOV.UK.
Your Employer’s Responsibilities
Your employer has certain legal responsibilities to ensure your safety and the safety of your colleagues. The Health & Safety Executive provides extensive, free, information about your rights and responsibilities. Here are just some of the things your employer must do to make sure you are safe, wherever you work:
- Provide training and instruction in your particular role to ensure you can execute your responsibilities properly and with minimum risk to yourself and others
- Inform you about any risks involved, how they will be controlled and who is in charge of this
- Provide free health checks if you work night shifts
- Provide free health checks if there is a danger of ill health due to your job
- Tell you where to receive first-aid treatment and the procedure in an emergency
Your employer must also have a clearly visible Health & Safety law poster in a prominent place in your office. Alternatively, they can give each employer a health and safety pocket card which will contain all relevant health and safety information, and the contact details of people who can assist you. You should also be presented with the company’s health and safety policy statement. An Employers’ Liability Insurance certificate should be clearly visible at your place of work.
Claiming Compensation for an Accident at Work
Wherever you work, be it in an office or on a building site, if you are involved in an accident that was not your fault, you could be eligible to claim compensation. Our solicitors are here to provide help and support at a time that is convenient for you. To find out more about your rights and how to make a claim, call us on 08000 430 430. Call for a free initial consultation, or request a call back by completing the online contact form.
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