It is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe working environment for their staff and there are dangers and hazards in every workplace. Health and safety are of huge importance in every industry and this is an area that has undergone significant change over the years to protect employees.
The Industrial Revolution
The working conditions during the industrial revolution would shock by today’s standards with people and even children working in hazardous factory conditions with long hours and poor pay. Serious injuries and fatalities were common in these times as a result of this, which eventually led to the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802 (also known as the Factory Act). This was a major step forward by requiring factories to take steps to protect workers, including limiting working hours and improve working conditions.
The First Lawsuit
The Factory Act led to an increase in regulations in the years to come, including the idea that an employer had a duty of care to protect staff after an employee sued his employer after suffering serious injuries following a wagon cracking and overturning as a result of overloading by the employer in 1835 – this was the first time that an employee sued their employer over a work-related injury. The Employer’s Liability Act 1880 then enabled workers to seek compensation for injuries resulting from negligence of a fellow employee which led to a flurry of further acts and reforms.
Health & Safety at Work 1974
The next major landmark moment came in 1974 with the Health & Safety at Work Act. This became a revolutionary act that formed the basis for health and safety legislation all around the world and spread across all industries. Under the Act, both employer and employee were responsible for ensuring health, safety, and wellbeing throughout the workplace and saw an incredible 73% reduction in the number of workplace fatalities between 1974 and 2007.
Health & Safety Today
Health and safety has come a long way over the years, but employers still need to make sure that this is a priority and that they are doing all that they can as accidents do happen and if someone is injured they may want to contact a no win no fee solicitor. Improving health and safety should include carrying out regular inspections, creating a health and safety plan, maintaining records, and providing staff training.
Employers need to do all that they can to protect and look after their employees and there have been huge strides made over the years to provide greater protection for workers.