What is Health and Safety and What does it Mean for Me?

No matter what your job is, whether you are a construction worker, a miner, a window cleaner, a secretary or a teacher; health and safety is important. You will hear all about health and safety procedures and training and you will be told to follow these guidelines at all times when you are on the job. But exactly what is health and safety and what does it mean?

What is Health and Safety?

Health and Safety Definition

Occupational health and safety refers to programs, guidelines and procedures that protect the safety, welfare and health of any person engaged in work or employment. The overall goal of any health and safety program is to create the ultimate safe working environment and to reduce the risk of accidents, injuries and fatalities on the job. Occupational health and safety also protects the health of customers and the general public as well as anyone else that might be affected by the particular working environment.

When health and safety procedures are followed correctly, they can help to prevent accidents and reduce the risk of employee injury and illness. They will also reduce costs such as sick leave, medical care and disability benefits.

Every organisation, no matter what they do, has a responsibility to uphold health and safety standards within the workplace. These guidelines are clearly outlined if a company does not follow them, they can be liable for any damages or accidents that occur. Not only does the company have a legal and financial obligation to conform to health and safety standards, they also have a moral responsibility to care for the well-being of their employees.

What does it Mean for Me?

So now you know the answer to “what is health and safety?” you might be wondering how it affects you. Read on to find out how health and safety affects employees and employers.

As an Employee

How does health and safety affect your day to day life on the job? If you are an employee, it is important that you have the appropriate health and safety training for the position that you are working in. If you are working with specific hazards, such as toxic substances, working at heights or enclosed spaces, you will need to have additional specialised health and safety courses for these specific risks.

As an employee, you should always follow the correct health and safety procedures as laid out by your employer. Don’t be tempted to cut corners to make your job easier, as you might end up putting yourself in very serious danger.

Of course, if your employer is asking you to do something that violates health and safety regulations, you do not have to do it. You have the right to refuse a task that puts you in potential danger without worrying about getting reprimanded or losing your job. If your employer disagrees, you can always enlist the help of your union or Health and Safety Executive.

As an Employer

If you are an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your workers. Make sure that they are properly trained in the appropriate health and safety courses and that they have been fully briefed on the regulations of their specific job.

Ensure the workplace is kept in a safe condition at all times and never ask your workers to do a task that violates health and safety regulations. Set a good example and foster a healthy and safe workplace.

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