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Coronavirus Blog Series:
Worried about safety issues in the workplace?

Published 18 May 2020

So what should you do if you have concerns that your Employer is not taking all the appropriate measures to protect you or others from the Coronavirus?

Employers have a duty of care to employees and they should make your workplace as safe as possible. In the event you are have concerns, you are likely to have the following main options (depending on the circumstances);

1. Take appropriate steps to protect yourselves and/or others from the danger
The Employment Rights (NI) Order 1996 provides protection for employees where;

“in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent, he took (or proposed to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or other persons from the danger.”

2. Report your employer to the relevant bodies
The Employment Rights (NI) Order 1996 provides protection for employees where they make a disclosure;

“(d) that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,”

3. Lodge a grievance informally or formally with your employer
Your employer should have a grievance procedure however even if there is no such procedure in writing you can still lodge a grievance informally or formally with your Employer in an effort to resolve the issue.

The Employment Rights (NI) Order 1996 provides protection where;

“(c) being an employee at a place where—
(i) there was no such representative or safety committee, or
(ii) there was such a representative or safety committee but it was not reasonably practicable for the employee to raise the matter by those means,
he brought to his employer’s attention, by reasonable means, circumstances connected with his work which he reasonably believed were harmful or potentially harmful to health or safety,”

4. Leave the area of the workplace posing the threat, or the place of work

The Employment Rights (NI) Order 1996 provides protection for employees where;

“in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he left (or proposed to leave) or (while the danger persisted) refused to return to, his place of work or any dangerous part of his place of work”

Depending on the circumstances and severity of the situation any one or combination of the above options may be used and your employer cannot treat you detrimentally for taking such action in accordance with the legislation. Should you need advice on this or any other employment matter, please do not hesitate to contact our employment team.

 For further advice, please contact Suzanne Keenan or Sancha O’Neill at MKB Law

Suzanne Keenan
Associate Director
sk@mkblaw.co.uk
028 9099 3112

Sancha O’Neill
Solicitor
son@mkblaw.co.uk
028 9099 3157

This article is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional legal advice.

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