The vast majority of people of a working age will spend a whole lot of their time in a designated professional workplace. This will generally be a commercial premises and often takes the form of an office environment. When you spend eight hours a day, five days a week in a set environment, it can quickly become a central part of your life and you’re going to want to make sure that you’re as happy, safe and comfortable within this space as possible. Hopefully, your work life will be plain sailing and you won’t experience any problems within the commercial space. But occasionally, issues may arise and you may find yourself facing troubles. It’s important that you know what to do in these kinds of situations in order to protect your health and wellbeing at work and to protect your rights as best possible. Here are a few different things to be aware of and focus on!
Health and Safety
If you’re employed, it’s your employer’s responsibility and duty to ensure that your workplace is safe and that you are only being asked to complete tasks that you have been fully trained to complete and that have had a risk assessment carried out. Be aware of health and safety legislation that your employer should be abiding by and don’t be scared to highlight any deviation from them with the HR department, or if there isn’t a HR department, with your employer themselves. Try to keep correspondence on email so you have written proof of complaints raised and action taken to resolve them. Within your workplace, there shouldn’t be any unnecessary risks present. If any risks establish themselves over time, they need to be resolved as quickly as possible. Examples of permanent risks include low ceilings or unexpected steps, which should have warning signs around them. Temporary risks, such as a wet floor, should be taken seriously too. Your employer should have temporary signage for these, such as a wet floor sign. You should also ensure that your employer provides you with any necessary personal protective equipment (or PPE) that is necessary to protect you while you complete any jobs that require it. If your employer fails to rectify any issues and any harm comes from them, you’re entitled to take legal action without any repercussions. This could see you receive workers compensation settlements which can go towards the cost of any medical bills or loss of earnings that you may incur as a result of illness or injury that has taken place in or been caused by your workplace.
Protecting Yourself from Prejudice
It’s important that you don’t experience any prejudice at work. Remember that you cannot be discriminated against in the workplace for any protected characteristics. These protected characteristics include age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, or being or becoming a transgender person. If you feel that you are experiencing prejudice because of any of these things, it’s important that you raise the issue to your HR department who will need to take action to hold individuals involved accountable. If you feel that the HR department doesn’t do a good job, you may, once again, want to reach out for legal help and intervention. This can see wrongs put to rights.
Ensure Your Working Hours are Correct
There are working time regulations in place to ensure that you aren’t overworked by your employer. Everybody needs time outside of work and a life of their own and this working time directive can help to secure this. Generally speaking, you should not have to work more than 48 hours a week on average (this average is usually averaged over the time period of 17 weeks). Of course, this will differ depending on the country you work in and your field of work – people working in the emergency services, armed forces, in security and surveillance or work in another industry where 24 hour staffing is required may need to work longer hours. If you feel that you are being asked to work too much highlight this. If you aren’t listened to, legal intervention is again key to implementing your rights.
These are just a few different areas you’ll need to focus on when it comes to protecting yourself and ensuring your safety and wellbeing in the workplace. As you can see, highlighting issues is extremely important and – if you are not listened to – seeking legal advice can help to ensure that you are!