Occupational Health and Safety - a necessary element of work
Health and Safety, or occupational health and safety, is a set of regulations that allow work to be carried out safely and hygienically in a company. With knowledge of health and safety at work, an employee knows how to prepare for his or her duties in the workplace, as well as what to avoid and how to behave in the event of an emergency (such as a fire). OSH covers areas such as ergonomics, technical safety, labour economics, occupational medicine or occupational psychology. The essence of the principles of OSH is to ensure that work can be carried out safely under hygienic conditions. Safety can be understood as keeping a hazard under control (where the hazard is acceptable) or as a relatively safe condition that complies with a safety standard. Compliance with health and safety requirements at workplaces is supervised by the State Labour Inspectorate. Regulations on health and safety rules and labour law are contained in Section X of the Labour Code. Both employees and employers have a number of obligations towards each other. In particular, the employer should ensure safe and hygienic working conditions and take care to protect the health and life of the employee.
Occupational health and safety - initial training
One type of health and safety training is initial training. Its purpose is to familiarise and introduce the employee to the company environment, i.e. to explain the company's rules and procedures. The hiring of any new employee implies the obligation to carry out initial safety and health training, even if the employee has already had such training in a previous company. Different workplaces have different rules, but also different risks, and for this reason initial training is almost always necessary. The most important thing is the safety of the employees. Initial training is valid until 12 months from starting work as an employee, and managers who manage a group of people must undergo such training as 6 months. The initial training consists of general instruction and on-the-job training. General instruction is a policy that applies to all jobs. It applies to every employee in the company and everyone must be familiar with it. Job-specific instruction relates to work in a specific position. It is the employer's responsibility to provide training for new employees. You need to make sure that everyone in the company knows the basic safety rules. A person who is not familiar with health and safety rules can cause a lot of damage and undermine the productivity of the whole establishment.
General instruction is a general explanation of health and safety rules in the workplace. It cannot be done remotely, and its duration is minimum 90 minutes. This must be attended by all apprentices and new employees. It is the responsibility of a specialised person with a health and safety qualification to organise and conduct such instruction. However, if there is an employee in the company who has the necessary skills, backed up by a qualification, he or she can be entrusted with this task. As a rule, such training must be organised during the first day at the new workplace and the trainer has a number of teaching aids at his/her disposal, such as presentations, films, an overhead projector and props.
This type of training is more specialised, focused on a specific job. In this case, the employee learns about the risks of the job and the hazards that await him or her while performing his or her duties. In addition, he or she is equipped with the knowledge of how to keep himself or herself and others safe while on the job. Apprenticeship students, as well as students undertaking an apprenticeship in an occupation, must pass this type of training. The duration of such instruction depends on the type of hazards that are present on the job or the length of the person's work experience. The professional experience of the person being trained is also important. The person in charge of a particular group of workers may provide job-related instruction, provided they are qualified to do so.
Occupational health and safety - periodic training
Periodic training is a type of training conducted to update employees with new information that has emerged over time. Those carrying out such training may, with prior notice from the employer, draw attention to any particularly relevant issues. The first periodic training should, as a general rule, be carried out within one year of employment. For managerial positions, this cut-off period is six months. It is important to respect the deadlines for health and safety training, so it is the employer's responsibility to organise these training courses according to a schedule. In the event of a possible inspection by the State Labour Inspectorate, failure to meet OSH training deadlines - risks the company receiving a hefty fine. It is therefore very important to appoint people who are responsible for observing and keeping track of the training schedule. Training deadlines vary depending on the type of job and can be up to six years. The following are examples of jobs with information on how long training is valid:
- workstations - 3 years (hazardous work - 1 year),
- people in managerial positions, managing a group of people - 5 years,
- engineers, technicians, constructors - 5 years,
- office and administration employees - 6 years (sometimes it is possible to exempt from training under certain conditions)
Periodic training usually ends with an examination, which is prepared by the trainer. The completion of periodic training results in a certificate, which is later placed in the employee's personal file. When the training takes place after the employee's usual working hours, i.e. 'after hours', the employee is entitled to payment for so-called overtime or free time. Periodic training can take place both online and on-site. The online form is also sometimes referred to as e-learning. This is a very convenient way of training for the employee, as he or she can go through the various stages of training on their own and do so at a time of day of their own choosing. This form of training is legally recognised for most occupational groups (except for blue-collar workers - due to the form of instruction required there).