Over the past two decades there has been a number of pieces of legislation that have confused company owners about their obligations for the duty of care of their employees.
Since the corporate acts of manslaughter and homicide in 2000, all companies regardless of their size, are responsible for all of their employees within the workplace.
Legally, they must abide to relevant health and employment laws including the common care of duty law.
They must ensure crucial steps are taken to guarantee an employees health, safety and well-being are at all times cared for and this includes full-time and part-time staff.
Each business must have a moral duty not to cause, or fail to prevent any physical or psychological injuries and must fulfill their responsibility with any cases of negligence or personal injury.
These requirements are wide ranging and can be presented in many ways such as:
• Clearly defining jobs and undertaking risk assessments
• Ensuring a safe work environment
• Providing adequate training and feedback on performance
• Ensuring that staff do not work excessive hours
• Providing areas for rest and relaxation
• Protecting staff from bullying or harassment, either from colleagues or third parties
• Protecting staff from discrimination
• Providing communication channels for employees to raise concerns
• Consulting employees on issues which concern them
As an employer you must be careful to enforce each of the above or you could be deemed to have breached your duty of care for your employees.
Your staff must also be reminded that they have a duty and responsibility for their health and well-being in the workplace.
It is vital that you log all incidents that occur and provide a paper trail to prove that you have considered the risks associated with any accident and you have all the necessary documents to protect you against a claim of negligence.
A best practice policy would be to provide each employee with a Duty of Care handbook, highlighting the information they need to provide you. It would also include information on road safety, driver responsibilities, company policy and procedures and a list what to do in case of an accident.
Need any help with your employer commitment to duty of care, then talk to our team on 01270 611 800 who can help get you started.