In a typical workplace, unbiased health and safety management also covers the employers, just as it covers the employees. Employers are required to provide safe workplace to its constituents while employees are expected to adhere to the rules and regulations brought about and introduced during work orientation. This is usually discussed by a Compensation and Benefits Specialist or anybody from the Human Resource Group. There’s supposed to be a designated health and safety manager assigned to handle relevant issues concerning the workplace conditions as explained in workplace safety certification. These guidelines and standard information are available for perusal anytime through the conformance of Occupational Safety & Health Administration. On top of these, employers are also expected to perform the following:
- Keep the employees informed of the hazards likely to occur in the workplace during health and safety jobs training, precautionary labels, emergency alarms, color codes, chemical information sheets, and similar stuff.
- Bookkeeping and safeguard of medical records related to injuries and illnesses in case an incident affecting an employee happens in the work area where medical history of the patient will immediately become a need.
- Run battery of tests in the workplace ensuring everything in the workplace is safe for workers as mandated by the OSHA standards and other health authorities in case there may arise issues about the work area environment being a risk to the workforce.
- Perform exams and other medical screening procedures to ensure maximum health of all employees which can be detrimental if there are illnesses left unchecked and can likely harm the majority.
- Update bulletins of citations, injuries and illness records, and a poster of OSHA in the company’s visible walls where the majority, if not all of the employees will have the capability to read and review.
- Immediately inform OSHA in the first 8 hours in case a workplace accident happens, when there is death, or when there are three or more employees sent to hospitals for emergency as decided by the company resident doctor or nurse.
- Avoid retaliation or discrimination of employees in case they attempt or they actually use their right against the company which is likely within or under the discretion of the health and safety manager.
The above closures the discussion as to what exactly are the employer’s responsibility in keeping and maintaining occupational health and safety jobs while employees are within the work areas. On the other hand, employees have equally similar responsibilities in adhering to workplace healthy and safety guidance, as well as in performing the expected activities to follow in cases of emergency, dangerous occasions, and hazardous times. Below are the OSHA-approved responsibilities for employees:
- As a worker, you should report work-related cases resulting in injury and illnesses in case your employer fails or declines to do so. The process has it that workers can inform OSHA anytime in case something hazardous happened in the workplace.
- In case of punishment or discrimination from the employer, it is the employee’s responsibility to immediately inform OSHA so necessary sanction will be imposed of after the issue is accordingly dealt with.
- It is an employee’s responsibility to assess working conditions as to whether the workplace is unsafe and unhealthy or otherwise, so necessary actions can be performed by OSHA in order to protect the safety and the common good of the majority.
- The employee has the responsibility of confirming whether the company he or she is engaged with have ever been inspected by OSHA, and if it isn’t, he or she can ask how likely can it be done in order to promote workplace health and safety.
- An employee has the responsibility to know Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code of the company so as to eventually learn and understand the most common industry hazard cited so far.
Both the employer and the employees are supposed to understand every aspect of their workplace rights and its corresponding responsibilities in order to avoid possible workplace bullying or discrimination. At the same time, knowing these things will inhibit both parties to take advantage of unlikable incidents or ignore events that requires immediate attention. At the end of the day, OSHA is just after the health and safety of everyone making a worker-friendly environment possible not only for the company owners, but also for the workforce.
This article explains the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers.
|Important! If you are a self-employed worker, this article doesn't apply to you as an employee. However, it might apply to you as an employer if you hire employees.|
Main Responsibilities of Employees
Employees have responsibilities towards their employers, even if they work part time or don't have a written contract with their employers.
These are the main responsibilities of employees:
- to personally do the work they were hired to do
- to do their work carefully and seriously (In some cases, they could be fired or disciplined if they're often late for work, or if they're absent too often or for no good reason.)
- to avoid putting themselves or others in danger
- to follow their employer's instructions (There are some exceptions. For example, if an employer asks an employee to do something dangerous or illegal, the employee doesn't have to.)
When Employees Don't Respect Their Responsibilities
If employees don't respect their responsibilities, the employer is allowed to take certain actions:
- discipline employees, such as giving a written warning, or suspending them
- take other action against employees, such as giving a letter evaluating their performance, or demoting them (that is, giving them a lower job)
- fire employees if they do something very serious, such as stealing from the office
- take employees to court to make them pay an amount of money (for example, if an employee quits without telling the employer in advance, or if an employee quits before the date in the employment contract)
- take employees to court to stop them from doing things that are harmful to the business
Employers' Responsibilities Towards Employees
These are the main ones:
- Employers must give their employees a place to work and make sure they have access to it. They must give them the tools, equipment and other things they need to do their work.
- Employers must pay their employees the salary and benefits they agreed to, including vacation, paid holidays and other types of holidays.
- Employers must make sure their employees' working conditions are safe.
- In some cases, employers must give their employees written notice that their contracts are ending or that they are being laid off. Note that employers can pay employees a sum of money instead of giving the notice.
- Employers must treat their employees with respect. They must make sure their employees are not harassed or discriminated against.
NOTE: If an employee signs a written contract with the employer, it might place more responsibilities on the employer than the ones required by law.
For example, an employment contract might say that the employer has to pay employees who have to use their own cars to do their jobs. Or the contract might also say that the employer has to pay back their employees for travel or entertainment expenses if they show their receipts.
When Employers Don't Respect Their Responsibilities
Employees and employers can try to settle things by talking to each other. In some cases, employees must try talking to their employer before taking any further steps.
Employees can file a complaint with the following:
Where an employee files a complaint depends on which law applies to the situation, the jurisdiction, the amount of money the employee is asking for and whether the employee belongs to a union.
If the employee belongs to a union, the union can usually present a grievance (a complaint) on the employee's behalf for situations like these:
- The employee disagrees with the employer about what the union contract (called a "collective agreement") says.
- The employer did not respect one of the employee's legal rights.
A person called the "grievance arbitrator" decides whether the grievance is justified. If the grievance is about the employee's health and safety at work, the Tribunal administratif du travail can also decide whether the grievance is justified.
Employees should talk to a labour law expert before quitting a job. The expert can tell employees how quitting will affect their rights to file a complaint. The expert can also tell them how to prevent their employer from taking them to court after quitting.
The employer and the union can agree on the employees' working conditions, for example, annual vacations, pay increases and sick leave. These working conditions are then written in the collective agreement.
A collective agreement is a contract between the employer and all the employees. It is the union that negotiates the collective agreement with the employer. The union acts on behalf of all the employees. The responsibilities contained in the collective agreement are in addition to the responsibilities contained in the law.