Did you know that when you go to work each day, you enter a contract with your employer? It’s one that you might not have been aware of and may never have been raised in a meeting, but it’s there. You signed up for it without even realising, and that’s a duty of care. As an employee of a business, your employer has a responsibility to keep you safe and look after you on their property. That includes both your physical and mental health. You may have had an employer tell you that your safety is not their responsibility. This is totally untrue. They are accountable for whatever happens to you while you’re in the office or any place of work. Let’s look at some of the things they need to do to keep you safe and what you can do if they fail.
Steps Your Employer Should Be Taking
Your employee has a duty of care to both your physical and mental health. To look after your physical care, they need to make sure that their work environment is safe. There shouldn’t be hazards that could cause an accidental injury. Hazards could be anything from loose wires on the floor to a flickering light in the stairwell. You might not realise that a flickering light is a hazard. But if it’s dark enough that the stairs are difficult to see, it could cause you to fall. If that happens, your employer is responsible. They should have replaced the bulb and made sure that you could clearly see where you were going. Obviously, this is a basic example.
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To ensure the work environment is safe, your employer might appoint health and safety officers. These individuals could be separate from your business. But they might also be colleagues who have accepted the responsibility for a slightly higher pay level. Health and safety officers will be the first person you should talk to if there is an incident in the office.
Of course, employers also need to look after your mental health, monitoring stress levels and other issues. You may think that it is natural to feel stressed at work. While it is no doubt common for workers to feel stress, it shouldn’t be constant. This points to an issue with how the business is run. You may notice that you regularly receive occupational health assessments. This is normal, and one of the easiest ways to check employees are healthy and happy.
What You Should Do If You Feel Unhappy Or Unsafe
If you don’t feel safe in your job, there are a few steps you can take. You may want to notify your employer and give them time to resolve the situation. Whether it is a physical or mental issue, they should help you through it. If you feel your concern has been ignored, take your complaint to a higher level. This should ensure that some form of action is taken. You may also want to speak to your union if you have a union representative in your career.
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If after these steps have been taken you feel the issue is not resolved, you could contact a lawyer. A lawyer will help you tackle any of the issues causing you concern head on. However, to take legal action, you must be able to show damages. For instance, feeling uncomfortable in the office is not enough to make a legal claim. Unless you have evidence that your employer’s behaviour has caused you distress. An example of this type of evidence might be an instance of harassment. If they have treated you differently based on a social status, this could be considered a case of harassment.
If you are injured or experience emotional distress at work, legal action should be taken. But first, you must go to see a doctor. Make sure you get an official record of the injury or the emotional issue. For instance, if you constantly suffer from stress you may get sick leave. This shows you had an issue at work that you couldn’t handle.
No one wants to find themselves in a position where they have to take action against their employer. But at the same time, you shouldn’t feel as though you need to suffer in silence. It is important that you understand there are routes to resolve a situation like this. Whether you take it up with a higher level of authority in the business or seek out legal assistance. The bottom line is that employers do have a responsibility to keep you safe. If they are failing in this responsibility, you have rights to protect your health and well-being.