All employers have a duty of care to their employees, as well as a legal responsibility to protect their safety at work, by preventing or reducing risks of harm.
What is personal safety in the workplace?
Personal safety is not just about employees’ physical safety, but also their psychological safety. It covers protection from the threat or fear of physical and emotional abuse including bullying, aggression, hostility and harassment.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sets out duties for both employers and employees in relation to work-related violence and personal safety. The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination at work and also provides a framework for employees to take their employer to an employment tribunal.
Abuse at work can happen on your premises, in a public place or out in the community. The risk of abuse can be from managers and colleagues, members of the public or customers, depending on the role. Some roles may place employees at a higher risk of violence and aggression, such as health care professionals, lone workers or housing officers.
Whatever the source, verbal and physical abuse can cause great harm, affecting your employees’ confidence and ability to work. It’s important therefore that, as an employer, you do all you can to help employees manage any incidents and reduce their risk.
As well as being a legal requirement, protecting the personal safety of your employees brings numerous benefits. It improves morale, reduces sickness absence and resignations and helps protect your reputation. Employees who feel supported are likely to perform better, be more productive and take less time off work due to stress, sickness or injury.
What you can do to support Personal Safety
There are many things you can do to protect the personal safety of your employees at work, including:
Encourage your employees to take the following measures when working outdoors:
Best-You is a free online platform and app that you and your employees can use as your own personal platform to communicate, create goals and track your progress
Best-You is full of helpful guidance on healthy lifestyles with a specialised area on mood and stress. Employees can complete self-assessments and discuss this with their employer, if they want to
Employees can take the Hydration Test on Best-You to check they are drinking enough
Protection against sun exposure is another important measure to support the physical safety of your employees, particularly outdoor workers. Too much exposure to the sun causes skin damage and can also lead to eye damage, dehydration, overheating and, in the long term, an increased risk of developing skin cancer. These risks affect people of all skin colours, not just fair skinned people. You should therefore educate all your employees about the risks and the safety measures they should take to protect themselves while working outdoors.
Useful Resources and Support for Employers
There are lots of resources online that can support you with personal safety and sun safety at work and that you can recommend to employees, if appropriate.
The Health and Safety Executive provide information for all employers and employees on their rights and responsibilities that affect health and safety at work.
ACAS gives employees and employers free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice. They also offer some free online training courses.
The Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) offer a range of resources advice and support for HR professionals to champion better work and working lives.
Personal Safety Advice website has a range of links and information on personal safety at work.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust offer guidance, training and advice on personal safety with a particular focus on lone working practices and keeping safe from violence and aggression.
Information from Cancer Research UK –on Ways to Enjoy the Sun Safely can be found here.
Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire – provide free behavioural support to help people make positive steps towards a healthier lifestyle and improve their mental and physical wellbeing.
0800 122 3788