Employers duty of care – What you need to know

Last checked and updated on 20 June 2022

If you’re an employer in the UK, it’s important to be aware of your duty of care obligations. This includes ensuring that your employees are safe and protected while at work.

In this article, we’ll explain what employers duty of care is, and outline some key steps that you need to take to meet your obligations.

Employers duty of care explained

So, what is employers duty of care? In the UK, employers have a legal responsibility to take reasonable care of the health and safety of their employees.

This means that you need to provide a safe working environment, and ensure that any risks are properly managed. You also have a duty to provide appropriate training and information to your employees.

Steps to get started

There are a few key steps that you need to take to meet your duty of care obligations.

  1. First, you need to carry out a risk assessment of your workplace. This will help you identify any potential hazards, and put in place measures to control the risks.
  2. You should also have an effective health and safety policy in place, which sets out your commitment to keeping your employees safe.
  3. Finally, you need to provide appropriate training for your employees, so that they know how to stay safe at work.

By following these steps, you can be sure that you’re meeting your obligations as an employer. Duty of care is an important responsibility, and one that should not be taken lightly. By taking steps to ensure the safety of your employees, you can create a safer workplace for everyone.

Consulting with your employees

It’s not enough to simply put the right policies and procedures in place – you also need to consult with your employees on health and safety matters.

This means involving them in the risk assessment process, and listening to their concerns. By doing this, you can ensure that everyone is aware of the risks involved in their work, and that they know what they need to do to stay safe.

Employers duty of care is a legal requirement – but not just that

Duty of care is a legal responsibility, but it’s also about more than that. It’s about creating a safe and healthy workplace for your employees, and ensuring that they can go home to their families at the end of the day. By taking steps to meet your duty of care obligations, you can make a real difference to the lives of your employees.

Creating a safe workplace

The steps that we’ve outlined above will help you to create a safe workplace for your employees. However, there are also some other things that you can do to promote safety in the workplace.

One of the most important things is to create a culture of safety in your organisation – this can be mentioned during the onboarding of new employees. This means encouraging employees to report any hazards or concerns that they have.

Making sure that health and safety is given priority, and not being afraid to make changes if something isn’t working.

By creating a culture of safety, you can make sure that your employees feel safe at work, and that they know that their safety is a priority for you.

Duty of care and mental health

It’s not just physical safety that you need to be aware of as an employer. You also have a duty of care to your employees’ mental health.

This means taking steps to ensure that your employees are mentally well, and able to cope with the demands of their job.

There are a number of things you can do to support your employees’ mental health.

You can provide training on stress management and mental health awareness, and put in place support mechanisms such as an employee assistance program.

You should also create a culture of open communication, where employees feel able to speak up about any concerns they have.

By taking these steps, you can create a mentally healthy workplace for your employees.

Things that are not covered by duty of care

There are some things that are not covered by employers duty of care.

  • For example, you are not required to provide a safe working environment if your employees are working from home.
  • You also are not responsible for the health and safety of your employees outside of work hours.
  • However, there may be other obligations that you have, such as a duty to provide a safe working environment for contractors.

It’s important to be aware of all of your obligations as an employer, so that you can ensure that you’re meeting your responsibilities.

Where to get help and advice

If you’re not sure whether you’re meeting your duty of care obligations, there are a number of places you can get help and advice.

You can speak to your local authority’s environmental health department, or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

You can also get help from professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) or the British Safety Council (BSC).

Getting expert advice will help you to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to create a safe and healthy workplace for your employees.

This blog post has been written to provide information on employers duty of care. It is not intended to be exhaustive, and you should always get expert advice if you’re unsure whether you’re meeting your obligations.

Frequently asked questions

We’ve compiled a list of some frequently asked questions about employers duty of care.

If you have any other questions, or need more information, you can contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

What is employers duty of care?

In the UK, employers have a legal responsibility to take reasonable care of the health and safety of their employees. This is known as employers duty of care.

What does employers duty of care mean?

Employers duty of care means that you have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect your employees from harm. This includes providing a safe working environment, and appropriate training and information.

What are the consequences of not meeting employers duty of care?

If you do not meet your obligations as an employer, you could be liable for any injuries or illnesses that your employees suffer as a result. You may also face criminal charges.

How can I ensure that I am meeting my employers duty of care?

There are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that you are meeting your obligations. These include creating a safe working environment, providing training and information, and encouraging employees to report any concerns.

Who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace?

In the UK, employers have a legal responsibility to take reasonable care of the health and safety of their employees. This is known as employers duty of care.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

As an employer, you have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect your employees from harm. This includes providing a safe working environment, and appropriate training and information.

What is a safe working environment?

A safe working environment is one where employees are not exposed to risks that could cause them harm. This includes risks to their health, safety, and wellbeing.

How can I create a safe working environment?

There are a number of steps that you can take to create a safe working environment. These include identifying hazards, assessing risks, and putting in place controls to reduce or eliminate risks.

What is a hazard?

A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm. This includes risks to health, safety, and wellbeing.

How can I identify hazards in the workplace?

There are a number of ways that you can identify hazards in the workplace. These include observing the work environment, listening to employees, and reviewing incident reports.

What is a risk?

A risk is the likelihood that a hazard will cause harm. This includes risks to health, safety, and wellbeing.

How can I assess risks in the workplace?

There are a number of ways that you can assess risks in the workplace. These include identifying hazards, assessing the likelihood of harm, and assessing the potential consequences.

What are controls?

Controls are measures that you put in place to reduce or eliminate risks. This includes measures to protect employees from harm.

How can I put in place controls to reduce or eliminate risks?

There are a number of ways that you can put in place controls to reduce or eliminate risks. These include implementing safe work practices, providing training and information, and using personal protective equipment.

Important – The information provided in our articles is intended to be for general purpose use only, and not advice for you or your business. We strive to publish accurate information, but encourage you to fact-check and seek expert guidance. We recommend that you always speak to a qualified professional to get advice about how to operate your business under your specific requirements and circumstances.