What Does “Duty of Care” Actually Mean?

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April
1

Assaulted at Work explores the contentious topic of employer responsibility.

Most of us know that employers have a “duty of care” towards employees. However, we are usually only familiar with just that phrase and not what it actually entails. There are several aspects to this law, including:

  • Protecting employees from discrimination, bullying and harassment

  • Providing rest areas

  • Informing employees of possible risks

  • Providing safety training where applicable

  • Giving employees the chance to voice concerns

Protecting workers is a key aspect of health and safety. It cannot be ignored if an employer wants to operate their business within the parameters of the law.

Does Your Employer Provide a Safe Working Environment?

If a stable working environment is not provided, then employees are left vulnerable to injuries, accidents, bullying, harassment and even assault. You have the right to be safe at work, and that right is guaranteed by your employer as a condition of your continued employment. Perhaps you work in a medical facility with high-risk patients who are known to be aggressive. In this instance your employer should not only provide you with control and restraint training, but with adequate staff so that you are never left alone with an unstable patient. Failure to do so could result in you being attacked and injured. This is just one example of what can happen when the duty of care is not followed. The effects of situations such as these can be quantified and tracked, which proves that the threat of workplace violence is a serious issue.

According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 27 million working days were lost in 2012 and 2013 due to workplace injuries and work-related illnesses. In 2011 and 2012, there were 175,000 workplace injuries that resulted in employee absences of over seven days. Violence at work is another major issue that can arise from a lack of duty of care. Additional statistics show that 51 percent of violent assaults at work result in injury. This has a decidedly negative effect on mental health and job performance.

In especially egregious cases, employers may end up being responsible for instances of corporate manslaughter due to their negligence. This occurs when an employee is killed or permanently incapacitated because of working conditions that ignore the duty of care that is enshrined in law. Again, this can easily be prevented by providing a stable and safe working area.

Let Assaulted at Work Help You!

If you think that your employer’s failure to provide a safe working environment was the primary cause for the assault you suffered, then you should contact Assaulted at Work as soon as possible. We can provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation in which we discuss the facts of your case in clear, simple language. Call us today at 0800 038 5321 and start working towards the solution that you deserve.

Links

http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/index.htm

http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/index.htm

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg417.pdf

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