Following the recent closure of a retail outlet in Co.Wexford due to unsanitary conditions on their premises, we thought now would be a good time to highlight the importance of health and safety in the workplace.

Health and safety laws apply to all employers, self-employed people, and employees in their workplaces. This includes fixed-term employees and temporary employees.

We offer training courses that could help improve the health and safety standards of your business and better help educate you and your employees about health and safety in the workplace. Some of the courses we offer that could help are Safe Pass, Manual Handling, Primary Food Safety(HACCP) and Fire Safety Awareness & Fire Warden. You can find a full list of these courses and how to apply for them by clicking HERE.

The rights and obligations of both employers and employees in relation to health and safety at work are set out in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (as amended). This Act also provides for substantial fines and penalties for any breaches of the health and safety laws.


Employee’s responsibilities

As an employee, your duties at work include:

  • Taking reasonable care to protect the health and safety of yourself and other people in the workplace
  • Not engaging in improper behaviour that will endanger yourself or others
  • Not being under the influence of drink or drugs in the workplace
  • Undergoing any reasonable medical assessment (or other assessment) if requested by your employer
  • Reporting any defects (faults) in equipment or the workplace that might be a danger to health and safety

Employer’s responsibilities

As far as reasonably practicable, employers must ensure their employees’ safety, health, and welfare at work.

To prevent workplace injuries and ill-health, the employer must:

  • Provide and maintain a safe workplace (which uses safe plant and equipment)
  • Prevent risks from employees using any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise, and vibration
  • Prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health, and welfare of employees at risk
  • Provide instruction and training to employees on health and safety
  • Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees
  • Appoint a competent person as the organisation’s safety officer

Risk assessment and safety statement

Every employer must carry out a workplace risk assessment to:

  • Identify any hazards in the workplace
  • Assess the risks arising from such hazards
  • Identify the steps to be taken to deal with any risks

The employer must also prepare a safety statement, based on the risk assessment. The statement should include details of people in the workforce who are responsible for safety issues. Employees should have access to this statement and employers should review it regularly.

For more information about health and safety at work please visit Citizens Information