Employment & labor law /

Awaited easements for entrepreneurs in the field of occupational health and safety

On November 29, 2018, the President of the Republic of Poland signed the Act of November 9, 2018 amending certain acts in order to introduce simplifications for entrepreneurs in tax and economic law (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 2244). Part of the changes that are ahead of persons conducting business activities, which will come into force on January 1, 2019, concerns health and safety at work. Pursuant to the Act, the legislator introduces two basic easements:

  1. Limiting the obligation to conduct OHS training for administrative and office employees.

How is it regulated now?

Currently, the provisions of the Labor Code are unambiguous – art. 2373 of the Labor Code states that an employee must not be allowed to work, for which he or she does not have the required qualifications or skills required, as well as sufficient knowledge of the regulations and principles of occupational health and safety. In addition, employer is obliged to ensure that the employee is trained in the field of occupational health and safety before being allowed to work, and to provide periodic training in this area.

This provision applies to every employee, without exception.

What will change?

From the beginning of a new year, employers will be exempted from the obligation to conduct periodic trainings in the case of employees working in office and administration positions, when the type of employer’s predominant activity, within the meaning of the provisions regulating public statistics, is in the group of activities for which the risk category is not higher than the third category within the meaning of social security provisions for accidents at work and occupational diseases, unless the risk assessment indicates that those trainings are necessary.

  1. Expanding the catalog of employers who can independently perform the tasks of the occupational health and safety service for employers employing from 21 to 50 employees.

How is it now?

So far, employers who met the general requirements to perform the tasks of the occupational health and safety service and employed over 20 employees, were not able to perform the functions of the occupational health and safety service.

What will change?

The amendment will introduce the possibility of independent performance of the OHS services by an employer who: employs up to 50 employees, conducts activities that fall into the category with a risk category not higher than the third and which have completed dedicated training.

What does the term „risk category” mean?

The risk category of a given group of activities is defined in the Regulation of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy of 29th of November 2002 on the differentiation of the interest rate for social security contributions for accidents at work and occupational diseases depending on occupational hazards and consequences (Journal of Laws from 2016 item 1005). The indicated regulation defines up to 30 categories – starting from the lowest risk. These categories have been determined based on accident rates, assessment of working environment conditions, where the least harmful health factors occur and frequency ratio referring to: injured in accidents at work in general, injured at work fatally and severely, diagnosed occupational diseases, employed in hazardous conditions. It should be emphasized that the obligation to carry out the risk assessment rests on the employer, as according to the provisions of art. 226 of Labor Code the employer evaluates and documents the occupational risk related to the work performed and applies the necessary preventive measures to reduce the risk. What is also important, determining the risk category of a given activity applies only to employers employing from 11 to 50 employees.

Author team leader DKP Legal Alicja Myśluk-Landowska
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