Employer & Employee Requirements
A Duty of Care for Employers & Employees
Achieving a safe place of work requires both the employer and the employee to meet their respective sets of responsibilities and to work cooperatively. The term "duty of care" refers to the legal responsibilities of employees and employers to provide and maintain a safe place of work. It is important to realise that the Work Health & Safety Act places separate duties on both employers and employees regarding safety in the workplace.
Achieving a safe place of work requires both the employer and the employee to meet their respective sets of responsibilities and to work cooperatively. For example, an employer is obliged, to provide employees with adequate Personal Protective Equipment and employees are required to correctly use and maintain that equipment.
Many in this industry fail to realise that refusing, ignoring and/or neglecting to observe safety rules and company safety procedures or instructions can be an offence, as can failure to establish such procedures in the first place.
Like employers, employees need to appreciate that they too have legal obligations with regard to their own safety and the safety of others in the workplace. Workplace safety legislation operates in the same fashion as other aspects of the law. Ignorance of the law is no defence if an offence is committed.
Where employees and employers fail in their responsibilities, there is always the potential or likelihood of an accident not to mention the imposition of legal prosecution resulting in heavy penalties.
A summary on the Employer's and Employee's Duty of Care Requirements is detailed below.
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