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Your safety at work

All workers have a right to be safe at work, wherever they work and whatever they do. The coronavirus pandemic has made this even more important.

Islington Council’s top priority is keeping everyone safe and healthy throughout this pandemic, at home, in the community, and at work. It is important to know your rights and what to do if you encounter an issue at work.

Here are five things you need to know to help protect your health and safety at work.

1. Unions make work safer

More than 6.5 million people in the UK are members of trade unions. Statistically, workplaces with trade unions have fewer cases of work-related illness, injury and fatalities.

Where trade unions are recognised, they have special rights to health and safety representatives, access to information from employers and involvement in the risk assessment processes.

If you ever encounter a problem at work, a trade union can support you with representation and legal advice.

Islington Council encourages all its residents to join a trade union. You can find out which union is the most appropriate for your place of work by using this Join a union tool from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) which represents most trade unions in the UK.

2. Employers must assess risks

Your employer has a legal duty to keep you safe at work.

They must assess the workplace to identify any risks to health and safety that you may be exposed to whilst at work, and put safety precautions in place. If your employer has more than five employees they must have a written risk assessment and share this document with you.

They must provide information and training to help you do your job safely.

You can find out more about the risk assessment process and what it should cover with the return to safe workplaces guide from the TUC

And if you’re one of the many people who could be working from home for the foreseeable future, risk assessments still apply to home working. See this guide to assessing risks at home, from the TUC

3. Worried? Seek advice

You may want to discuss this with your workmates, but you must contact your union if you have concerns about safety at work. You can also contact the TUC’s Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.

You have a right to see the risk assessment and any actions outlined to avoid risks. If you feel there is a problem, contact your union safety rep, or ask your employer to resolve the problem you are worried about. If you don’t want to raise the issue individually, you can ask your union to represent you.

4. Report a breach

If problems persist you, or your union, must escalate the matter to the ‘enforcing authority’. This will either be the Health and Safety Executive, or the local authority.

If you work in Islington email us at or phone 020 7527 3816

If you work somewhere else, you can find your local authority here - find out which here.

To make a report to the Health and Safety Executive, click here (report to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or phone HSE on 0300 003 1647.

Your enforcing authority has a wide range of powers to make sure your employer is making your workplace safe.

You or your union should always contact them straight away if, after raising concerns, you are still worried that you are in serious or imminent danger. To find out more, read ‘Your health, your safety – A Guide for Workers’, published jointly by the HSE and TUC.

Unions stand up for the workers. In times of trouble you need them - Join a union

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