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Duties of Employees and the General Public

Health and SafetyAlthough the employer has various obligations under employment law, the employee also has obligations under the same legislation.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 [1] states that every employee must take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and of other persons who might be affected by what the employee does, or fails to do, at work. This applies to negligent behaviour and also places a positive obligation on the employee to understand the hazards faced in the workplace, to comply with any safety rules and procedures laid down by the employer and to ensure that nothing they do or fail to do puts themselves or others at risk. Furthermore, the employee must cooperate with the employer regarding health and safety issues, and failure to comply renders the employee liable to prosecution.

A self-employed individual (e.g. an associate dentist) also has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 [1] to carry out their business in such a way as to ensure that, as far as is reasonably practicable, they do not risk their own health and safety.

Even patients and other practice visitors (including children over the age of 8) have a duty not to intentionally interfere with or misuse anything that has been provided in the interests of health and safety.

Explain to staff and self-employed individuals their responsibilities with respect to health and safety, including their attendance for health and safety training, and ensure they are aware of the need to comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 [1] and the practice’s policies on health and safety.

Sources of Information

  1. Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37/contents)