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Safety and Occupational Medicine

Price.
Security has one.
Failure has a very high one.
Health does not have any.

ISTAT informs us that from 2015 to 2019, the decline in workplace fatalities and those classified as “en route” was 12.7 percent.

This has been able to happen because occupational safety involves, of course, the evolution of the world of work and technological development but also, and above all, regulatory interventions, business organization, education and training, the spread, in short, of a real safety culture.

Despite this progress, however, ISTAT data on irregularities found during labor inspectorate checks tell us that there is still much to be done and we must not let our guard down!

In 2020, 8,068 irregularities were found out of the 10,179 assessments conducted: 79.3 percent of cases.

Irregularity means risk.

Risk to workers’ lives, risk of employer sanctions, risk to company’s welfare and reputation.

The legislation governing workplace safety is vast and often complicated to understand for the very people on whom the fundamental obligations fall: employers.

Therefore, in this section we have created a kind of guide to answer the most common security questions quickly, easily and effectively.

1) WHAT IS MEANT BY OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY?

Occupational safety is defined as the set of measures, measures, and evaluations, both internal and external to the company, aimed at ensuring the safety of workers and personnel present in workplaces.

The goal of the regulations governing it is to minimize workers’ exposure to work-related hazards in order to avoid injuries or accidents or, worse, contracting occupational diseases.

Occupational safety activities are aimed at:

Prevention

Measures provided to prevent a harmful event from occurring;

Protection

The measures planned to limit the consequences of a harmful event occurring.

Recent industry surveys show how a proper policy geared toward workers’ health, also brings a positive return to the company in terms of profitability.

Mental and physical well-being, environmental tranquility, widespread positivity and increased productivity are just some of the benefits that can develop in the workplace through targeted investment in prevention and safety.

2) WHAT IS THE RELEVANT LEGISLATION?

Rules regarding workplace safety and obligations for workers and companies are governed by Legislative Decree 81/2008, better known as the Occupational Safety Consolidation Act.

The Occupational Safety Consolidation Act replaced, repealed or absorbed all previous regulations, streamlining the various aspects of the subject and defining more precisely principles, obligations, responsibilities and penalties.

Decree 81/2008 is therefore a guide on safety in the workplace that you need to refer to in order to ensure that your company complies with all regulations, not only national but also European.

3) WHAT ARE THE GENERAL PROTECTION MEASURES IN THE SINGLE TEXT?

Make a list of all the measures present in Leg. 81/08 for safety in companies and its benefits is not simple, we can, however, mention the main measures applied not only to employees, both private and public, but also to those self-employed who should find themselves working within a certain company:

  • Risk assessment related to each activity carried out by workers
  • Management and reduction of risks, through prevention service
  • Special care in the use of physical, chemical and biological agents in work environments
  • Health control of operators
  • Specific training for workers, supervisors, managers and workers’ safety representatives.
  • Updating the subjects listed in the previous point through insights in accordance with changes in labor safety legislation
  • Supervision of the effective effectiveness and implementation of these security measures.

4) WHEN IS THE OBLIGATION TRIGGERED?

The obligations enshrined in the Consolidation Act apply in all companies where there is at least one employee.

The specific definition of worker, in order to avoid misunderstandings, applies to all of the following categories of workers or equivalent figures:

  • worker members of cooperatives or companies
  • interns
  • students engaged in school-work alternation
  • participants in vocational training courses
  • volunteers
  • project workers
  • on-call workers
  • apprentices.

The risk index related to the type of company (Ateco code) and the specificity of the work task then determine the route to be chosen and the relevant preventive measures for individual protection.

5) WHAT ARE THE EMPLOYER'S OBLIGATIONS?

The employer is the legal figure guaranteeing and responsible for safety in his or her company.

The main obligations of the employer, which are set out in Article 18 of Legislative Decree 81/08, are:

  • Carry out risk assessment and prepare the relevant document (DVR)
  • Appoint the main figures involved in safety: Prevention and Protection Service Manager (R S P P), Workers’ Representative (RLS), Competent Doctor
  • Scheduling Health Surveillance
  • Take care of the training of workers, managers and the employer through the appropriate courses on the subject and their possible updates
  • Ensure the presence of a corporate security plan
  • Choose and purchase personal protective equipment

6) WHAT IS THE RISK ASSESSMENT DOCUMENT (DVR)?

The first and fundamental action under the protocol for safety in the workplace is the drafting of the DVR: a document that highlights all the possible risks to which workers are exposed, as well as the risk from related stress.

Depending on the type of safety risk present (physical agents, chemicals, use of plant or particular equipment), the DVR must contain all the procedures necessary to implement preventive measures and must also specify the figures who will have to implement, monitor and maintain these measures over time.

The responsibility for drafting the DVR lies with the employer, who often lacks the requirements and professional competence to finalize it; in addition The DVR should be subjected to periodic updates, according to the provisions of the law and the failure to keep it up to date entails even very serious liability on the part of the employer.

For these reasons, it is inadvisable to resort to DIY and instead it is good to Rely on the advice of occupational safety experts that can relieve the employer of any compliance-related burdens and avoid incurring complaints, penalties and other legal quarrels.

7) RSPP, RLS, COMPETENT DOCTOR. WHAT DO THESE FIGURES DEAL WITH?

These are three figures provided for in the Consolidation Act and support the employer by performing different functions.

The person in charge of worker safety is called the Prevention and Protection Service Manager (RSPP) and is appointed by the employer; this role can be filled by employers and also by an employee, but only after proper training.

TheRSPP must mainly deal with the following tasks:

  • Carry out the inspection of the work environments resulting in the verification of hazardous conditions for the health of workers
  • Present training and information plans for staff on prevention issues
  • Monitor the status of corporate security and plan interventions to maintain and improve it
  • Check the proper use of personal protective equipment and work equipment

In addition to the RSPPs, the actors involved in the prevention service are the Workers’ Safety Representative (RLS) and the Medical Officer.

TheRLS is the specially trained worker who is elected by coworkers as their representative for everything related to health and safety in the workplace. He is concerned with

  • Carry out consultation regarding risk assessment
  • Providing advice on prevention workers
  • Provide for the collection of company documents related to general risk protection measures
  • Make recourse to the relevant authorities if the measures taken in the company are not in accordance with ensuring safety.

The Competent Doctor is the professional figure in charge of the Health Surveillance of workers through a Health Protocol drawn up according to the company’s risks and tasks.

  • Through periodic examinations, the doctor determines the mental and physical health status of workers and decides whether or not they are fit for their specific task or responsibility.

8) WHO ARE SAFETY TRAINING COURSES INTENDED FOR?

The Employer must ensure that every worker has the opportunity to receive sufficient and appropriate health and safety training.

Training that, mandatorily, must be carried out at the same time as employment or completed within a maximum of 60 days.

The content, duration, and topics of the courses vary according to the worker’s degree of responsibility, the tasks to be performed, and especially according to the level of risk present in the company.

It is very important to emphasize that workers should not see themselves as just passive subjects of safety regulations but as actors personally engaged in protecting their own health and that of their colleagues. Every worker must be aware of the conditions of his or her work environment, the related risks and his or her share of responsibility for avoiding them.

As a reminder, the courses must be held during working hours and their cost should not be borne by the worker.

Conducting occupational safety training and refresher courses, in addition to being essential in order to protect the health and integrity of workers, is a legal obligation under Articles 36 and 37 of Legislative Decree 81.

Penalties are imposed on the employer for transgressions, failures or defaults.

We quote them below.

9) WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE? (LINK ZERO SANCTIONS)

We respond by indicating how much the penalties are for failure to train occupational safety guarantors. As a reminder, payment of penalties is the responsibility of the employer or safety manager where appointed.

Workers

Arrest from 2 to 4 months or fine from € 1,474.21 to € 6,388.23

Employer assuming the role of RSPP

Arrest from 3 to 6 months or fine from €3,071.27 to €7,862.44

RSPP

Arrest between 3 and 6 months or a fine of €2,740.00 to €7,014.00

RLS

Arrest from 2 to 4 months or fine from € 1,474.21 to € 6,388.23

Managers and Supervisors

Arrest from 2 to 4 months or fine from € 1,474.21 to € 6,388.23

Fire Prevention and First Aid Officers

Arrest from 2 to 4 months or fine from € 1,474.21 to € 6,388.23

Work equipment operators

Arrest from 3 to 6 months or fine from €3,071.27 to €7,862.44

10) WHAT DOES SALTECH DO FOR YOU?

Occupational health and safety protection with a focus on:

  • The preparation of mandatory documentation, instrumental measurements, and obligations related to the role of the RSPP
  • Mandatory training (it is possible to attend courses at “multi-company” classrooms)
  • Compliance in the regulation of construction sites in both safety and occupational hygiene.
  • The duties associated with the position of Medical Officer.
  • The management of the Health Surveillance service and related deadlines
  • The management of Periodic Fitness-for-Duty Visits from health protocol
  • The management of any Specialist (Second Level) Visits.