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  7. Outline the main health and safety responsibilities of:...

Outline the main health and safety responsibilities of: self, the employer or manager, others in the work setting

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2021 as per our Quality Assurance policy.

We all have responsibilities towards good health and safety practice in the workplace, so it is important to understand not only what your own responsibilities are but also the responsibilities of others.

Health and safety responsibilities of yourself

Your primary responsibility is to take reasonable care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of yourself and others. This means not putting yourself or others at risk by your actions or your inactions. Other responsibilities that reinforce this are:

  • Adhere to agreed ways of working, policies and procedures – if you do not work in the way that your employer requests, it could result in damage or harm, as well as be breaking the law.
  • Report and remove hazards or risks in the workplace – if you discover a hazard in the workplace, you should do what you can to make it safe and report it to your manager immediately.
  • Report any hazards, risks or concerns immediately – all hazards should be reported to your manager immediately, even if you are able to make them safe without assistance. This allows the manager to investigate why it happened so that measures can be put in place to prevent it from happening again.
  • Attend health and safety training – you must attend any health and training provided by your employer. This supports you to understand your responsibilities and what to do in certain situations.
  • Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as instructed by your employer – if your employer requires you to use PPE, you must do so and you must ensure you use it in compliance with your employer’s agreed ways of working.
  • Use other equipment as instructed by your employer – other equipment such as mobility aids, kitchen appliances and motor vehicles should also be in compliance with your employer’s agreed ways of working. You should also ensure that you do not use equipment that you have been trained to use.
  • Use equipment for its intended purpose – equipment and other items, such as bandages from a first aid box, should only be used for their intended purpose.
  • Adhere to warning signs – you should read, understand and comply with warning signs in your workplace, whether they are permanent or temporary (e.g. wet floor signs).
  • Use welfare facilities – you should use any welfare facilities provided by your employer, such as soap dispensers and hand-washing basins in line with agreed ways of working.
  • Do not come into work if you are sick – if you have a contagious illness, you should protect others by staying at home until you are well again. Similarly, if you have a condition that prevents you from performing some aspect of your role (e.g. you have pulled your back or you are using medication that prevents you from driving), you should report this to your manager immediately.
  • Report any accidents, injuries or disease – these should be reported immediately.
  • Understand the scope your role – you should ensure that you know what you can and cannot do as part of your work role. For example, you should not perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) without the relevant first training (unless you are instructed to do so by an emergency responder).

Employees also have the legal rights to work in a safe environment, report any concerns that they have any equipment and PPE that they need to perform their role provided for free by their employer.

Health and safety responsibilities of your manager/employer

Your employer’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the workplace is safe and that employees have everything that they need to perform their role in a safe way. This includes:

  • Assess and reduce/eliminate any risks in the workplace – all areas of the workplace must be risk-assessed to ensure that health and safety risks are minimised
  • Put necessary policies and procedures in place to ensure safety – employees must have access to agreed ways of working that enable them to work in a safe and legal way
  • Provide necessary training – employers must provide health and safety training to their employees as well as relevant training on any tasks that they perform as part of their role (e.g. using a hoist, disposing of hazardous waste etc.) Training will also include acces to relevant information and supervision.
  • Provide PPE for free – employers must provide their employees with any PPE that they require to carry out their roles for free
  • Provide adequate work equipment – similarly, employers must also provide any necessary equipment for free. The employer must also ensure that it is well-maintained and if any faults are found, the equipment is repaired or replaced.
  • Provide safety signage and warning labels – employers must provide signage that can warn individuals in the workplace about potential risks. Risk assessments will establish if, when and where signage is needed.
  • Provide first-aid facilities – employers must provide first-aid facilities in the workplace to be used in the event of an accident.
  • Provide welfare facilities – employers must provide welfare facilities, such as hand-washing stations.
  • Report incidents, disease or dangerous occurrences – employers must report these to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Document emergency procedures – employers must make plans in the event of an emergency (e.g. fire evacuation plan, including emergency exits and routes out of the building)

Health and safety responsibilities of others in the workplace

Other individuals, such as visitors and service users (dependent on capacity) also have responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace. These include:

  • Take reasonable care of themselves and others – they must not put themselves or others at risk
  • Report hazards and risks – if an individual identifies a risk, they should report it to a member of staff
  • Comply with health and safety procedures – for example, washing hands, signing in the visitor’s book

As noted, one of the duties of employees is to ensure that they follow organisational policies and procedures or agreed ways of working. These are provided by the employer to ensure that employees work within legal and regulatory frameworks, whilst maintaining best practice.

As well as a general health and safety policy, many organisations will also have additional policies and procedures relating to other health and safety tasks, such as medication administration, using and storing cleaning products and fire safety. There may also be procedures for using and maintaining specialist equipment, such as hoists or wheelchairs. It is important that employees read these documents thoroughly and follow procedures accurately to ensure that they are complying with their legal duties. If an accident occurs due to an employee not following protocols correctly, it could result in injury to themselves or others or disciplinary or legal action being taken against them.

For Seniors/Supervisors (Level 3)

For those in senior or management positions, it is important to support others’ understanding of health and safety policies, procedures and practices.

This can help to mitigate risk and support the personal development of co-workers. Support can be provided by being approachable to answer questions that less experienced employees may have or challenging any poor practice that is observed – when colleagues are not following agreed ways of working, it is essential that it is not ignored and a dialogue is opened to discuss how practice can be improved.

Often, discussions about the reasons why an action is performed in a particular way can help others to understand the reasons why they must adhere to policies and procedures – and this will inevitably lead to an improvement in their practice.

It is also important for those in a supervisory role to model best practice themselves so that others can learn from them. A supervisor that displays bad practice will only encourage their co-workers to do likewise. This is especially important when inducting new staff into the organisation as bad habits are difficult to break.

For Level 3, it is also necessary to demonstrate that you adhere to agreed ways of working by being observed to use policies and procedures in your everyday practice.

This could be achieved by:

  • following organisational protocols with regards to the use of a piece of equipment (such as a hoist or wheelchair)
  • reporting a hazard (such as a frayed carpet)
  • ensuring a visitor (maybe even your assessor) signs in when entering the building
  • storing cleaning materials correctly
  • using and disposing of PPE correctly
  • disposing of out-of-date food