Safe Place of Work

“Safe System of Work” – “Safe Place of Work”

Your employer is statutory bound to provide its employees’ with [a safe system of work] and [a safe place of work]. Should an employee hold a [belief] that there exists a “risk of harm” [danger] to his/her health or safety, the employee is completely within their legal right to remove themselves from their place of work, with immediate effect. The employee does not have to have factual evidence that a palpable “risk of harm” actually exists – only a “reasonable belief”. This is significant, as in our own case, we ‘removed’ ourselves from the working environment due to workplace “dangers” – [workplace harassment and workplace stress being injurious to our health].

A workplace “danger” could constitute a “risk of harm” should it in any way affect an employee’s “safety” and or be “prejudicial” to an employee’s “health”. I have enclosed the following sentence from the European Commissions Code Of Practice on Sex Harassment 1991, which drives home this point.

“Sexual harassment pollutes the working environment and can have a ‘devastating effect’ upon the ‘health’, confidence, morale and performance of those affected by it. The anxiety and stress produced by sexual harassment commonly leads to those subjected to it taking time off work due to sickness, being less efficient at work, or leaving their job to seek work elsewhere.”

Webmaster’s thought: If using this example in cases of harassment, you would need to establish to the Employment Tribunal, that a “risk of harm” potentially existed, which either was “materially injurious” to your health, or was “prejudicial to your health” had you not removed yourself from the working environment. Therefore, I would suggest that PRIOR to lodging a letter of grievance with your employer, you consult your doctor and state on the record that the “unwanted conduct” by your workplace colleague/s is “prejudicial to your health”. I would also make sure that it is imputed on your medical records, that “stress” causedby the ‘unwanted conduct’ [harassment] is a “trigger” for either your (i) panic attacks, (ii) bouts of fainting, (iii) migranes, (iv) anxiety, (v) asthma attacks, (vi) depression – anything which amounts to a ‘risk of harm’ to your health’.

See: Whistle-blowing.

See: Work-Related Stress