All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Under health and safety law, the primary responsibility for this is down to employers. Employers have a duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives, on health and safety matters.

Employees' health and safety responsibilities

Employers have legal responsibilities to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. As an employee you have rights and you have responsibilities for your own wellbeing and that of your colleagues.

Your rights

Your rights as an employee to work in a safe and healthy environment are given to you by law and generally can't be changed or removed by your employer. The most important of these rights are:

  • as far as possible, to have any risks to your health and safety properly controlled
  • to be provided with any personal protective and safety equipment free of charge
  • to stop work and leave your work area, without being disciplined if you have reasonable concerns about your safety
  • to tell your employer about any health and safety concerns you have
  • not to be disciplined if you contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), or your local authority, if your employer won't listen to your concerns
  • to have rest breaks during the working day
  • to have time off from work during the working week
  • to have annual paid holiday

For more information visit Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the HSE FAQ pages