Personal Safety and the Law:

Everybody (with minor exceptions) owes everyone else a duty of care under Common Law. This means you have a duty of care to yourself, your employer, your colleagues, contractors and members of the public whom you interact in the context of your work.

Everyone has a right to a safe working environment and to:

  • to have any risks to your health and safety controlled
  • to be provided with any personal protective and safety equipment free of charge
  • to stop work and leave your work area, without being disciplined if you have reasonable concerns about your safety
  • to tell your employer about any health and safety concerns you have
  • to have rest breaks during the working day
  • to have time off from work during the working week
  • to have annual paid holiday

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - This is the primary piece of legislation covering health and safety in the workplace. It places duty of care on employers to take "reasonably practicable" steps to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all employees.

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 - The Act stipulates that employers are obliged to carry out a "suitable and sufficient" assessment of risks to which employees are exposed at work. The Act also requires assessments to be carried out regarding the personal safety of any person who may be affected by a work activity, not just employees. If an organisation has more than 5 employees, then the assessment should be written down and recorded.

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 - The Act outline the criminal liabilities of organisation when there has been a break of health and safety, resulting in death.

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) - Under RIDDOR, employers must notify their enforcing authority in the event of an incident at work resulting in death, major injury, or incapacity to complete the normal work of a worker for more than seven days.

This includes any act of violence committed against a person at work, provided that the violence is suffered or arises out of or in connection with work.

Protection from Harassment Act 1997 - The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 makes it a criminal offence for anyone to pursue a course of conduct they know, or ought to know would cause another person to be alarmed, distressed or in fear of violence. This Act was amended in 2012 to include 2 new offences of stalking.

Data protection Act 1998 - Often the argument of confidentiality is used as a reason withholding sensitive information. This cannot be justified where staff safety is an issue - safeguarding is paramount.