Your safety at work
All workers have a right to be safe at work, wherever they work and whatever they do.
The coronavirus pandemic has made this even more important.
Preston City Council is working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy throughout this pandemic, at home, in the community, and at work. It is important to know your rights and what to do if you encounter an issue at work.
Here are four things you need to know to help protect your health and safety at work.
1. Unions make work safer
More than 6.5 million people in the UK are members of trade unions. Statistically, workplaces with trade unions have fewer cases of work-related illness, injury and fatalities.
Where trade unions are recognised, they have special rights to health and safety representatives, access to information from employers and involvement in the risk assessment processes.
If you ever encounter a problem at work, a trade union can support you with representation and legal advice.
We encourage all residents to learn more about trade unions.
2. Employers must assess risks
Your employer has a legal duty to keep you safe at work.
Full assessments must be carried out to identify any risks to health and safety employees may encounter while at work. Employers must also put measures into place to mitigate these risks.
If your employer has more than five employees they must have a written risk assessment and share this document with you.
Risk assessments also apply to home working, find out more in this guide to assessing risks at home.
3. If you're worried seek advice
Workplaces with a Union
If you have concerns about your safety at work you should speak with your union safety rep.
You can also contact the TUC's Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.
You have a right to see the risk assessment and any actions outlined to avoid risks. If you feel there is a problem, contact your union safety rep, or ask your employer to resolve the problem you are worried about. If you don't want to raise the issue individually, you can ask your union to represent you.
Workplaces with no Union
The Environmental Health department cannot get involved in disputes between employers and employees.
The ACAS website has a dedicated COVID-19 section which gives advice on topics such as working safely, working from home, furlough and pay, shielding and vulnerable, sick pay for isolation, holidays and leave and redundancy etc.
4. Report a breach
If problems persist you, or your union, must escalate the matter to the 'enforcing authority'. This will either be the Health and Safety Executive (Factories, Farms, Schools, Local Government) or your local authority (Shops, Hotels, Tourism, Leisure facilities, Pubs & Restaurants, Offices)
You can also call the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 0300 003 1647.
Your enforcing authority has a wide range of powers to make sure your employer is making your workplace safe.
You or your union should always contact them straight away if, after raising concerns, you are still worried that you are in serious or imminent danger.
For more information visit the 'Your health, your safety - A Guide for Workers', published jointly by the HSE and TUC.