In December 2020 the UK government implemented 2 EU directives into UK law, updating employee health and safety legislation after losing a high court battle to a trade union about health and safety in the workplace and the health and safety responsibility of employers. The government only implemented this for employees and the high court ruled that the 2 directives should apply to workers too as of 31st of May.
What is a worker
According to the government’s website, a person is generally classed as a worker if:
- They have a contract of agreement to personally do work or services for a reward
- The reward they receive for completing the work can be money or benefit in kind
- They have limited rights to get someone else to do the work or subcontract
- They are obligated to turn up to work, even if they don’t want to
- Their employer has to have work for them for as long as the contract/agreement lasts
- They are not self-employed, and their employers is not a customer or client
The new health and safety legislation
As of 31st May, workers will be protected in the workplace from penalisation if they reasonably believe there is a serious or imminent danger to their health and safety. They can take action to protect themselves and others and leave the workplace as well as refuse to return without suffering any consequences.
What this means for businesses
The new legislation applies to any health and safety situation in the workplace. It will also apply to COVID-19, which was labelled as a serious and imminent danger in the Coronavirus Act 2020, affecting nearly all businesses in the UK for some time to come.
How to protect your business from worker health and safety claims
The best way to protect your business if a worker or an employee files a claim against you is to make sure you follow all the health and safety government guidelines your business should adhere to (including COVID secure workplaces).
You’ll then need to make sure you police and make sure these rules and standards out in place are being abided by and that they have been communicated clearly to workers and employees.
The easiest way to make sure your business is compliant with health and safety is to sign up and use CreditFocus’ bolt-on feature, Legal Manager.
It has a complete, up to date guide on everything related to health and safety in the workplace and with the simple question and answer document creator, you can create the health and safety documents your business needs in minutes!
Click here and sign up to CreditFocus, once you’re on the dashboard, scroll down and add the Legal Manager bolt-on. From employment to e-commerce to intellectual property, you’ll find all the guides and documents your business could need!