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What does employer ‘duty of care’ mean?

Employer ‘duty of care’ is a term that is often thrown around at work, but what does it actually mean? Find out about your employer's legal responsibilities

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Employer duty of care and health and safety

You may have heard of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Employer duty of care is covered by this piece of legislation which means that your employer must take action to ensure that you are as safe as possible from any hazards in your place of work.

This means they must provide safe working equipment which is regularly maintained, they must provide training where appropriate, they must carry out risk assessments where hazards are identified and controlled and they must provide written reports on these assessments.

They must also ensure that there are adequate welfare facilities such as bathrooms and first aid equipment. If you have an accident at work as a result of your employers' breach of duty of care then you may be able to make a personal injury claim.

Working Environment

Your employer also must ensure that your working environment is suitable and comfortable for you and your fellow employees. There are various regulations which cover this such as the Working Time Regulations which outline suitable working hours and break times, or the Health Act 2006 which covers smoking in the workplace.

Employer duty of care in this case means that you must be comfortable in terms of temperature and equipment and your working environment must not adversely affect your health. There is also the Protection from Harassment Act.

This covers any bullying or unacceptable behaviour you may suffer at work and your employer is responsible for taking action under these circumstances. If they do not, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Everyone has a right to be comfortable at work.

You must take some of the responsibility to keep yourself and your fellow employees safe at all times. If you have been negligent in any way, this could affect any personal injury claims you make should you have an accident at work.

If you think your employer has breached their legal requirement of employer duty of care then you can call Accident Advice Helpline completely free to determine whether you may have a claim.

So for expert legal advice about a possible claim call Accident Advice Helpline today on: 0800 083 5045.

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