Take a look at the changes that will take effect in the Occupational Health and Safety Act from 1 March
In total 21 amendments will take effect in the Occupational Health and Safety Act on 1 March. An important change imposes new obligations on employers in a situation where an individual providing services is working at a place of work together with the employees of an employer.
Employers’ obligations to increase in relation to service providers who are natural persons
If a natural person providing services is working at a place of work together with the employees of another company, the employer of such employees must inform the natural person who provides the service of the risks present at the place of work and instruct how to prevent them. Furthermore, the employer must inform the service provider of the organisation of rescue work and first aid. Today, employers are obliged to do so only if the services provider is a sole proprietor.
With the proposal from the Chamber of Commerce, a principle is added to the law, according to which employers will be required to inform the service provider of risks at the place of work and organisation of first aid as necessary. For example, the obligation to inform might not be relevant if the service provider gives a lecture at a university, i.e. work is done during a limited time and the work does not involve increased risks.
An obligation to carry out activities related to an accident at work is placed on a person organising the work or, if not available, employer if an accident at work occurs to a service provider at a place of work where the service provider and employees are working together. This means that according to the amendment, the person organising work or employer is obliged to investigate and register the accident at work and if necessary carry out the necessary notification procedures.
From 1 March, a service provider who is a natural person shall be obliged to notify the person organising the work or if not available, employers, of the risks related to their activities and ensure that their activity does not put the employees at risk. This requirement is applicable in a situation where a service provider works at a place of work together with the employees of another company. Currently this requirement is applicable only for sole proprietors.
Furthermore, a requirement shall be enforced according to which two service providers must inform each other of the risks related to their activities and ensure safety of the workers if work is carried out in one working environment. The aim of the amendment is to ensure minimum protection in the working environment where several service providers are operating together instead of employees.
Safety instructions are not required for every item of work equipment
At the moment, employers are required to draw up safety instructions for the work performed and work equipment used. This obligation allows for interpretation according to which employers are required to draw up safety instructions for any item of work equipment, including pens and staplers. However, such approach is not reasonable.
Based on the proposal from the Chamber of Commerce, an amendment will enter into force on 1 March, according to which employers are from now on required to prepare safety instructions for performed work and used equipment only on the basis of risk analysis. This means that if no considerable risk arises from an item of work equipment, and this risk has not been set out in the risk analysis, employer should not be obliged to prepare safety instructions for that.
Term of authorisation of working environment representatives will become more flexible
At the moment, employees can choose a representative in issues related to occupational health and safety and their authorisations shall be valid for up to 4 years. Based on the proposal by the Chamber of Commerce, the term of validity of the authorisation of the working environment representative will become more flexible. This means that from 1 March, the term of the authorisation is no longer limited with four years, i.e. employees may choose their representative for five or six years.
The same amendment will enter into force also in relation to the authorisations of the members of the working environment council. While according to the currently applicable law, the authorisation of the members are valid for up to four years, from now on, employers and employees can freely decide how long the authorisations should be valid.