Working in a safe environment is beneficial for the entire organization. When workers feel safe at work, their productivity increases, and they remain motivated at all times. As long as the workplace protocol favors employees, there are higher chances of success for the business. Regardless of the nature and type of organization you are running, taking care of the employee’s health and safety is crucial. Consider this a necessary procedure in your workplace that needs immediate attention.
It is best to learn about various health and safety laws of employees. As a worker, you deserve to know your ultimate rights and how to speak up when needed. Safety and healthy laws exist to protect workers from any mishap or unfortunate event. Therefore, one must know their rights at the workplace and work safely. Moreover, risking your life to earn money is not a wise move at all. By identifying various health and safety laws at work, you are protecting yourself against harm and raising awareness at the same time.
If you are unaware of your fundamental rights as a worker, read the following health and safety laws. The Occupational Health and Safety (also known as OHS) Act has listed many regulations for employees. Every employee is entitled to these fundamental rights, and the sooner they learn about them, the better.
Awareness of safety and health issues
The OHS Act’s Section 9 says that it is the employer’s responsibility to inform employees about organizational matters as much as possible. From providing them relevant information about workplace safety to training and instructing them, employees must know everything. Employees have the right to know about issues that can affect their health and safety.
Now, the organization can provide the necessary details in a code of conduct, datasheets, safety procedures, product labels, etc. If instructions are in textual format, employees will understand them easily. If they are too complicated to understand, employers should provide training from experts.
For instance, workers in the construction and chemical industry often get exposed to a harmful mineral known as asbestos. It can cause severe lung scarring and the development of mesothelioma cancer. Therefore, employers must provide adequate training and safety equipment to ensure that workers don’t develop mesothelioma. If they fail to do so, workers have the right to approach the mesothelioma law firm and seek the compensation they deserve.
Furthermore, employers can meet the due diligence by discussing the following details:
- Mentioning safety hazards at the workplace, with daily inspection of heavy machinery, tools, and equipment
- Maintaining the required standard of work conditions and describing the safety mechanism of working alone
- Developing health and safety policies and highlighting legal guidelines related to work
- Training employees about emergency evacuation and using first-aid properly
Contribute to issues affecting their safety and health
Employees also have the right to participate in different organizational matters that can impact their safety and health. According to this right, employees can ask for necessary safety measures and protect themselves against possible harm.
This right plays an integral role as employees get the chance to suggest safety requirements at the workplace. Employees can also become a safety and health representative at work and report any quality issues they encounter. They can suggest measures for anything that threatens their well-being at work.
Moreover, employers or managers should take prompt action on any underlying health and safety concerns. If not, it goes against the OSHA guidelines and can raise legal issues for the specific organization. Therefore, employers must consider employee’s suggestions and see what they can do about them.
Discontinue working in risky conditions
This right is undertaken when companies fail to follow the above two rights properly. Employees should not underestimate the critical importance of it, neither use it to solve minor workplace issues. Regardless, they can exercise this right whenever they think that the workplace conditions are below par and hazardous to their health. They can also use this right when their colleagues are endangering their lives at work. Refusing to work further includes certain conditions that employees must follow:
- Employees should inform their managers or supervisors about the health and safety issues at the workplace. If the manager resolves the problems, then there is no need to exercise this workplace right. If not, the manager must give a valid reason for not taking any corrective action.
- If employees are unsatisfied with how their manager handled the issue, they can take it to the upper management. If the higher management does not listen to the employees’ concerns, you can refuse to work.
Protection of employee’s rights against any discriminatory act
Employers, managers, or unions cannot discriminate against employee’s rights. There exists a legal prohibition from threatening any employee who exercises their workplace rights or coercing them in any way.
Additionally, workers also have the right to file a legal complaint about a discriminatory act against them at work. It further protects them at the workplace and keeps discrimination at bay. In some countries, workers can protest as well if enterprises are depriving them of their rights.
As much as organizations are responsible for educating employees about their workplace rights, workers are responsible for using them wisely. Exposure to critical information like this is essential, but not speaking up for your health and safety is unfair.
Therefore, you must spread awareness about workplace rights and know your true potential as a worker. If not, you will not just jeopardize your career but risk your life and indirectly let such malpractices slip by.