How to complain about health and safety in your workplace


safety-1Health and safety laws

There are many different statutes governing health and safety in the workplace. Your employer is under a duty to take reasonable care of your  health and safety in the course of employment. The duty to take reasonable care was explained by in the case of Wilsons and Clyde Coal Company v English [1938]. Your employer has to exercise due care and skill in four particular areas;

  1. Provide competent staff
  2. Provide adequate plant and equipment
  3. Provide a safe system of work, and
  4. Provide safe premises

Health and safety is not only governed by legislation. Under what is known as ‘common law’ all employers have a duty of care imposed on them to protect their employees. Many of these common law duties are confirmed or strengthened by statute and regulations.

If your employer fails in any of these obligations to you, you will have a number of avenues to claim compensation. You can resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal. See Employee Rescue resources on Constructive Dismissal. You can also make a personal injury claim in certain cases. See Employee Rescue resources – I was injured at work, and Discrimination in Employment.



You can complain informally to your employer or raise a formal grievance.  Raising a formal grievance is very important because if you end up going to the Employment Tribunal, the tribunal may reduce your compensation if you didn’t raise a grievance first.


Grievance cover   PI Cover  Employee Rep cover 1   Schedule of loss cover   cilinniesaysebook121515b


Resources available

Disciplinary action and capability

Discrimination at work


Health and Safety Dismissal

How to fight dismissal on Probation

How to write a Grievance about discrimination at work

How to prepare a discrimination schedule of loss for the employment tribunal

How to win your workplace personal injury claim

Employee Representative Guide for non-union workplaces






ACAS Early Conciliation

ACAS Early conciliation is compulsory before bringing an employment tribunal claim against any employer. ACAS has a duty to conciliate in an attempt to reach an agreement between you and your employer before it goes to the Employment Tribunal for a hearing. You can first file your claim in the Employment Tribunal, and the ACAS Conciliator will be sent copies of the tribunal claim forms automatically and will contact you and your employer to promote resolution. You must be careful during Conciliation because some of what you say during Conciliation cannot be repeated in a subsequent employment tribunal hearing. The time limit for filing your claim is paused whilst the conciliation process is going on.


Voluntary Early Conciliation

You can use Voluntary Early Conciliation for a serious problem that you can’t resolve through the grievance process. You don’t necessarily have to file a claim in the employment tribunal. If the ACAS Conciliator decides that conciliation is impossible, or the problem is not resolved (settled) within one month, a Conciliation Certificate will be issued and your claim can proceed to the Employment Tribunal. You will need to show the Conciliation Certificate for your claim to proceed in the tribunal.


The Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunals are an independent judicial body established to resolve disputes between employers and employees over employment rights. The tribunal will hear claims about employment matters such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, wages and redundancy payments. You make your tribunal claim on a special form known as the ET1. Your employer replies to your claim on a form called the ET3. Go to Employee Rescue resources on employment tribunals for detailed information.


Best of the web

Workplace health and safety concerns

Raising your concern

How ACAS can help – Early Conciliation explained

Early conciliation – how it works

Make a claim to an employment tribunal



This resource is published by Employee Rescue Limited. Please note that the information and any commentary on the law contained herein is provided free of charge for information purposes only. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. Employee Rescue accepts no responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this update. Further specialist advice should be taken before relying on the contents of this summary. No part of this summary may be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the prior permission of Employee Rescue Ltd.

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