Basic information on  occupational safety and health for employees

Basic rights and obligations of the employee are provided for in the Act of 26 June 1974 – Labour Code (Journal of Laws of 1998, No 21, item 94, as amended),  mainly in its SECTION TEN “ “Occupational safety and health” The key obligation of the employee is to comply with the rules and principles of  occupational safety and health (OSH). Pursuant to Art. 211 of the Labour Code, the employee is  in particular obligated to:
–  know the rules and principles of  OSH, participate in the relevant training and instruction and  take  required  examinations,
– perform his or her work in compliance with the principles and standards of  OSH as well as comply with all instructions and guidelines of the  superiors in this respect,
–  ensure the proper condition of  machinery,  equipment, tools and devices as well as the order and  neatness at the  workstation,
– use collective protection measures, as well as the assigned personal protection measures, clothing and working footwear in accordance with their intended use,
– undergo initial, periodical, control as well as other recommended health assessment and comply with all medical guidelines,
– immediately notify the  superior of any accident or hazard  to human life or health occurring at work as well as warn colleagues and other persons present in the danger zone about the hazard,
– cooperate with the employer and  superiors in complying with the OSH obligations.

Basic information on   occupational safety and health for employers

Basic obligations of the employer are provided for in the Act of 26 June 1974 – Labour Code (Journal of Laws of 1998, No 21, item 94, as amended),  mainly in its SECTION TEN „  “Occupational safety and health”. Pursuant to Art. 207 § 1, the employer, who is responsible for the status of  occupational safety and health (OSH) at the  establishment, is  obligated to protect the employees’ life and health by ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for them, making appropriate use of the progress in science and technology. Under § 2 and 3 of the said article, the employer is in particular obligated to:
•   organise work in a manner that ensures safe and healthy working conditions,
•   ensure compliance at the  establishment with OSH rules and principles , give instructions to remedy any  failures in this respect as well as check whether such instructions are complied with,
•  ensure the development of coherent policy to prevent accidents at work and occupational diseases, taking account of technical issues, work organization, social relationships and impact of the working environment agents;
∙ consider the protection of health of young people, pregnant or breastfeeding female employees and disabled employees within the undertaken preventive actions;
∙ ensure compliance with orders, statements/submissions, decisions and instructions issued by the entities supervising working conditions;
•   ensure compliance with the recommendations of the social labour inspector, and
•   be  acquainted, so far as to be able to comply with the relevant obligations, with the regulations on labour protection,  including OSH rules and principles.

Detailed obligations of employers in respect of  occupational safety and health include, among others:
•   assess and  document  occupational risk  resulting from the work performed and apply  the required preventative measures that reduce the risk as well as  advise employees of the  occupational risk  related to the work performed as well as of rules of protection against the occurring hazards.(Art. 226 of LC),
•    undertake, at  his or her own expense, tests and measurements of  agents that are harmful to health,  keep the results of such tests and measurements and  make them available to the employees (Art. 227 § 1 section 2 of LC),
•    undertake initial, periodical and control health assessment for the newly employed and already employed workers (Art, 229 § 1 – 3 of LC) and  comply with the prohibition  of employing a person  without a valid medical certificate stating no counter indications to render work at a given  workstation (Art. 229 § 4 of LC),
•    provide the employees employed in particularly  onerous conditions with free-of-charge, appropriate food and drinks, insofar as is required for prevention (Art. 232 of LC),
•   systematically  analyse the reasons  of accidents at work,  occupational diseases and other diseases  related to working conditions and  apply the appropriate preventative measures in line with the results of such analysis (Art. 236 of LC),
•    ensure training for employees in respect of  occupational safety and health prior to their commencement of work and holding periodical trainings  in this respect (Art. 2373 § 2 of LC),
•   undergo a training in  occupational safety and health  as is required to fulfil the obligations of the employer in this respect; the training should be held periodically (Art. 2373 § 21 of LC),
•     provide the employees free of charge with personal protection measures, protecting them against hazardous and harmful agents present in the working environment and  give them  instructions for use of such measures effectively (Art. 2376 § 1 of LC),
•    provide the employees free of charge with working clothing and footwear that meet the requirements specified in the Polish  regulations:
– if the employee’s own clothing could   be destroyed or soiled considerably,
– in case of the relevant technological, sanitary or  OSH requirements (Art. 2377 § 1 of LC),
•   in the case when more than 100 employees are employed –  establish a service for  occupational safety and health, to perform advisory and control function, and in the case when less than 100 employees are employed, a person with  other working duties or, in case of no competent employees at the establishment, a specialist from outside the  establishment should be tasked with duties to be performed by the  OSH service. The employer who completed the training necessary to perform  safety and health service tasks may  carry out these tasks on his or her own if he or she:
1) employs up to 10 employees, or
2) employs up to 20 employees and is classified into a business activity group where the risk category, within the meaning of regulations on social insurance for accidents at work and  occupational diseases, is defined as level three or lower (Art. 23711 § 1 and § 2 of LC),
•    consult with employees or their representatives all  measures related to  occupational safety and health (Art. 23711a § 1 of LC),
•   in the case when more than 250 employees are employed –  establish  occupational safety and health committee, to act as an advisory and opinion-making body to the employer (Art. 23712 and 23713 of LC); consultations as regards  OSH may take place within this committee (Art. 23711a § 5 of LC),
•    comply with the prohibition to employ women for particularly  onerous jobs or jobs that are harmful to their health (Art. 176 of LC) and prohibition to employ minors for jobs they are not allowed to take up (Art. 204 § 1 of LC).

The obligations of the employer as regards  occupational safety and health are also provided in the executive (secondary) regulations issued on the basis of authorisations given by the Labour Code.

up Last update: 25-09-2017
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