Relevant sections on personal responsibility contained in the Health and Safety at Work Act are shown below, but what they are basically saying is that individuals must work in a manner which does not put themselves or anyone else in danger. They must comply with all safety requirements advised by their employer and they must not misuse or abuse any article supplied for safety purposes, for example protective clothing or fire extinguishers.
HASAWA Section 7 – General Duties of Employees at Work
It is your duty whilst at work:
To take care for your health and safety and that of any persons who may be affected by your acts or omissions at work.
You must also co-operate with your employer in health and safety matters.
Example: An employer has a responsibility to provide training to his employees; this is now being carried out with this toolbox talk. It is therefore your duty to co-operate with your employer and attend these sessions.
HASAWA Section 8 – Duty not to Interfere With or Misuse Anything Provided
You must not intentionally or recklessly interfere with, or misuse, anything provided in the interests of health and safety or welfare.
Example: The fooling with and misuse of a fire extinguisher; or using a helmet to carry substances in. Helmets are for head protection only.
The prospect of getting into an accident is something no one likes to think about. Time and time again we hear our managers, supervisors or co-workers telling us to be careful, work safely and use personal protective equipment. Yet, do we really listen? We hear the words, but do we really believe we’ll be the one who will have an accident?
There are those who take the safety message at work seriously, and those who do not. Safe work procedures have a purpose. Experience tells us that if we do things right, we’ll complete our work correctly and safely. When personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided, this is also for good reason. PPE prevents or minimises injury or illness to the user.
The next time you hear someone say, “be careful,” take a minute to really listen to the message and ask yourself “Why should I be careful?” The answer is, “because accidents happen when you least expect them”.