Accidents in the Workplace – Employees have duties!Accident Report Form

All too often in today’s society, people seem intent on blaming somebody else when something goes wrong.

Media coverage of health and safety accidents would have you believe two untruths:

  1. There is no such thing as a genuine, unpreventable accident, and
  2. Employers are at fault for all workplace-related incidents and accidents.

However; whilst the employer has overall responsibility for health and safety at work, they are not always at fault for problems that occur. This article looks at the responsibility of the employee.

This week’s 2 recent HSE cases look at accidents which should never have happened.

  • A gas meter and a gas pipe that had been installed were found to be leaking gas which is an incredibly dangerous situation and it is only by sheer good fortune that the escaping gas did not ignite
  • The worker suffered severe crush injuries when his arm became trapped and it took the combined effort of three fire crews, a specialist major rescue unit, two air ambulances, a medical team from Manchester Royal Infirmary and three ambulance crews to rescue him.

As ever, if you have a subject that you would like us to cover one week, please contact us by phone 01458 253682, email  or via our Facebook page or by Twitter.


Accidents in the Workplace –Employees have duties

Media coverage of health and safety accidents in the Workplace would have you believe two untruths:Circular Saw

  1. There is no such thing as a genuine, unpreventable accident, and
  2. Employers are at fault for all workplace-related incidents and accidents.

However genuine unforeseeable accidents really do happen from time to time, and employers are not always at fault for problems that occur at work.

Employees have responsibilities too

Although the main burden of responsibility for health and safety lies with the employer, every single employee has their part to play. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there are five key duties that each of your workers needs to carry out.

To maintain personal safety

From the moment your employees arrive at work they are responsible for using their own common sense and training to maintain their personal safety (Section 7 of The Health & Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974). But sadly too many operatives forget this and take stupid risks, (see the photo above). Equally important is the obligation to protect the welfare of their colleagues and the general public.

Obviously your employees need to have been properly trained to ensure they can do their jobs safely. This will include the relevant safety training, dependent on their duties, as well as regular reminders in the form of tool-box talks, risk assessments and method statements. But after that they shoulder much of the responsibility for working safely within the guidelines you set.

To help you meet obligations

building siteAs a responsible employer you should already be aware of your company’s health and safety obligations and have instituted programs and plans to ensure you meet them. These plans will of course involve your employees who will need to do their part to ensure equipment and conditions are safe.

If you look at this photo you will see a dangerous untidy site.

It is the Employer’s duty to ensure the working area is safe to work in and that people are able to enter and leave safely. However it is the employees and self-employed that have created this mess.

Failure to carry out these duties could result in an accident for which they, the employees, will be at fault.

To follow instructions

Your employees and any sub-contractors or self-employed, are duty bound to follow any instructions and training that your business has provided to improve health and safety. As a responsible employer you will have written your risk assessments and method statements. From these you will have issued your instructions and made your workforce aware of the known dangers and of the safety procedures in place to keep them safe as long as they follow them.

If employees and/or sub-contractors fail to follow instructions, they could be personally liable for any injuries or harm caused by their actions – even if they are the injured party! See the first case in this week’s newsletter – Building sub-contractor’s safety neglect led to his own injuries

To warn of dangers

building safetyIn the event that one of your employees identifies a situation that presents an immediate health and safety risk, they are duty-bound to report it to their line manager or your company’s responsible person. This then allows you to re-assess any risk and implement measures that prevent accidents.

Employees need to be reminded of this responsibility, and your business should encourage workers to come forward whenever they spot a problem.

Do you have a user friendly system that enables your employees to report any hazards or risks that they may see in confidence? If you do, why not tell others about it by starting a conversation on our Facebook page.

To warn of failings

Very similar to the responsibility to report dangers, employees also have a duty to make you aware of failings in your current health and safety provisions. This means that employees need to understand current provisions and always stay alert for ways by they can be improved.

Again your employees need to be empowered to give feedback whenever necessary. Also, if your employees have been able to give their input into your method statements and safety procedures, they are more likely to follow them and, of course, they cannot claim ignorance if they don’t.

And now it’s your turn

How does your business make employees aware of their health and safety responsibilities?

Do you have any good tips to share?

Let us know either by commenting on our Facebook page or send us an email.


Jon Wilkins Training

We shall be running new courses again in 2016 and the dates and details of forthcoming courses will be published here each week.

But remember we are still available for running “In House” courses and we have now also added a new training service for our customers.

Site Manager Safety Training Scheme

(Part of Construction Skills “Site Safety Plus” Suite of Courses)

We have formed an association with a local company TQ Excel who are one of the UK’s leading providers of accredited training to the highways sector of the construction industry.

AS a result of this we can now offer the SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme)

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme forms part of the Construction Skills (CITB) Site Safety Plus range of courses which are highly regarded within the construction industry.

The 5 day training course is aimed at site managers wishing to develop a more in depth legal, moral and social understanding of their role and also teaches delegates how to manage on-site health and safety in accordance with current legislation.

We also offer the 2 day SSSTS Training Course (Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme) which is a 2 day course aimed at those with on-site supervisory responsibilities.

We also can now offer NRSWA courses.

These qualifications are for those involved in the Excavation and Re-instatement of the highway and are specified under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. They are a legal requirement for “statutory undertakers” (i.e. Utility Contractors) and for those working under “section 50 licenses” (Drainage works etc).

Where works are subject to the Act there must be a minimum of 1 qualified operative on every site that is qualified for the operations being carried out and there must be a Supervisor available to visit the site at least on a daily basis.

The qualifications are also often specified by client organisations and local authorities when appointing contractors for works involving excavation or reinstatement of the highway for other purposes.

The first of our courses are:

Site Manager Safety Training Scheme (Part of Construction Skills “Site Safety Plus” Suite of Courses)

Target AudienceSite Manager Safety Training Scheme

Site managers, agents and persons who are, or are about to be, responsible for planning, organising, monitoring, controlling or administering groups of staff and workforce.

Aims & Objectives

To help site managers, agents and supervisors to:

  • Manage health & safety on site in accordance with urrent legal provisions, and within the context of their management or supervisory role
  • Develop an understanding of responsibilities and accountability for site health, safety and welfare
  • Recognise that a safe site is efficient, economical and productive

Delegates will, at the end of the training, be aware of and able to:

  • Implement all health, safety, welfare and environmental legislation which affects them during their work
  • Implement new guidance and industry best practice
  • State their duties and responsibilities with regards to health, safety, welfare and the environment

Course Notes / Assessment / Certification

Candidates will be issued a copy of GE700/16 – Site Safety Simplified and the course study notes.

Candidates will be assessed through 3 Core Exercises and an end of course examination.

Certificates are issued by Construction Skills and are valid for 5 years.

This 5 day Course will be held at The Oaktree, Bristol Road, Edithmead, Highbridge, Somerset TA9 4HA (14th – 16th March inc and 22nd & 23rd  March 2016).

The all-inclusive rate of £495.00 + vat per delegate will be payable at the time of booking.



Re-qualification First Aid at WorkFirst-Aid

This First Aid at Work Refresher course is designed for anyone who has previously completed the 3 day First Aid at Work qualification and needs to renew their skill-set and certification. This refresher lasts 2 days and secures the delegates’ qualification for a further 3 years before the course will need to be retaken.

Updated to cover the control of catastrophic bleeding


  • Course introduction.
  • Legal compliance.
  • Managing incidents.
  • Examining a casualty.
  • Conscious/unconscious casualties.
  • Treating a casualty.
  • Further emergency action.
  • General common illnesses.
  • Basic life support.
  • First aid kits/equipment.
  • Recording/reporting injuries.

Course Duration:  2 Days

COURSE REF                                DATE(s)                            LOCATION

WSG. RFAW. 1601                    14th & 15th April 2016                6 Amor Place, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4SG

The all-inclusive rate of £165.00 + vat per delegate will be payable at the time of booking.

Your staff can attend three months before the expiry date on their certificate and still retain the month of expiry on their new certificate.

They must renew no later than 28 days after their expiry date.



Dates for other courses will follow soon

If you have any questions about these courses or any other training or would like us to run a particular course for you, call Jon Wilkins of the Wilkins Safety Group on 01458 253682 or email him.


Your business is safer in our hands