Tag Archives: Workplace

Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 89/654/EEC of 30 November 1989 concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace (first individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This Directive aims at protecting the health and safety of workers at their workplace * . It supplements the general provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC on matters of health and safety at work.

However, the Directive does not apply to:

  • means of transport used outside the undertaking or workplaces situated inside means of transport;
  • temporary or mobile work sites;
  • extractive industries;
  • fishing boats;
  • fields, woods and other land situated away from the buildings of an agricultural or forestry undertaking.

Employers’ obligations

The minimum health safety and conditions applicable are provided in Annex I to the Directive for cases where the workplaces were used for the first time after 31 December 1992 or when these locations were converted after this date.

If the workplaces were used before 1 January 1993, they must meet the requirements provided for in Annex II to the Directive.

In addition, the employer must ensure:

  • emergency exits are kept clear and can be used at all times;
  • good technical maintenance of the workplace, equipment and devices, and the quick rectification of defective elements which may present a risk;
  • adequate hygiene conditions;
  • regular maintenance and checks of safety equipment to prevent and eliminate hazards.

Information and consultation of workers

Workers and/or their representatives are informed of all measures to be taken in order to protect their health and safety.

They are consulted on all issues and measures connected with this area, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC.

Key terms
  • Workplace: means the workstations housed on the premises of the undertaking and/or establishment, and any other place within the area of the undertaking to which the worker has access in the course of his/her employment.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 89/654/EEC

15.12.89

31.12.1992 (31.12.94 for Greece)

OJ L 393 of 30.12.89

Amending Act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2007/30/EC

28.6.2007

31.12.2012

OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007

Extractive industries by means of boreholes

Extractive industries by means of boreholes

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Extractive industries by means of boreholes

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Extractive industries by means of boreholes

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 92/91/EEC of 3 November 1992 concerning minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers in the extractive industries (boreholes) (11th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [See amending acts].

Summary

This Directive lays down the minimum requirements for protecting the health and safety of workers in extractive industries by means of boreholes *.

General obligations of the employer:

In applying this Directive, employers are required to:

  • apply safety considerations to workplaces right from the design stage;
  • ensure that there is a supervisor in charge;
  • entrust work involving a special risk only to suitably qualified staff;
  • ensure that safety instructions are comprehensible to all the workers concerned;
  • provide first aid facilities and run safety exercises at regular intervals.

Before the commencement of work, the employer must satisfy himself that a document on safety and health is prepared and brought up to date (in accordance with Articles 6, 9 and 10 of Directive 89/391/EEC). This document must show, in particular, that the risks run by workers at the workplace have been determined and assessed, that appropriate measures have been taken and that the workplace is designed, operated and maintained in line with safety requirements.

Where workers from more than one firm are present at the same workplace, the employer responsible for the workplace must coordinate the health and safety measures applying to these workers and set them out in the document.

This coordination does not affect the liability of individual employers.

The employer must immediately report fatal and serious occupational accidents and dangerous occurrences.

In terms of protection against fire, explosions and health-endangering atmospheres, employers must take preventive measures appropriate to the nature of the operation in order to:

  • avoid, detect and combat the starting and spread of fires and explosions;
  • prevent the occurrence of explosive and/or health-endangering atmospheres.

Employers shall provide and maintain appropriate means of escape and rescue in order to ensure that workers have adequate opportunities for leaving the workplaces promptly and safely in the event of danger.

Employers shall take the requisite measures to provide the necessary warning and other communication systems to enable assistance, escape and rescue operations to be launched immediately if the need arises.

Furthermore, they must inform workers of all measures to be taken concerning safety and health at the workplace.

Every worker must receive or be subject to a health surveillance before they are assigned to duties related to the activities referred to in the Directive and at regular intervals thereafter.

Employers must ensure consultation and participation of workers on the matters covered by the Directive.

Lastly, workplaces used for exploration for and extraction of minerals by means of boreholes must satisfy the minimum health and safety requirements (listed in the Annex).

When workplaces undergo changes, extensions and/or conversions after the date on which this Directive is brought into effect, the employer shall take the measures necessary to ensure that they are in compliance with the minimum requirements laid down in the Annex.

Key terms of the Act
  • Extractive industries (boreholes): all industries engaged in prospecting and extraction activities and in the preparation of extracted materials for sale but not the processing of such extracted materials.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 92/91/EEC

11.11.1992

3.11.1994

OJ L 348 of 28.11.1992

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2007/30/EC

28.6.2007

31.12.2012

OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 92/91/EEC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

Health, hygiene and safety at work

Health, hygiene and safety at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Health, hygiene and safety at work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Health hygiene and safety at work

Health, hygiene and safety at work

Although one of the goals of the European Union is to create employment through the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, it also tries to ensure that these new jobs are of a higher quality. Health and safety at work is now one of the most important and most advanced areas of EU social policy. Community action in this area is not limited to legislation. The European Institutions carry out several activities providing information and guidance and promoting a safe and healthy working environment in cooperation with the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

  • Health and safety at work – general rules
  • Community strategy on health and safety at work (2007-2012)
  • Community programme for employment and solidarity – PROGRESS (2007-2013)
  • European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF)
  • Communication on the practical implementation of directives on health and safety at work
  • European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
  • European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND)
  • Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSHW)
  • Statistics on public health and health and safety at work
  • European schedule of occupational diseases
  • Organisation of working time: basic Directive
  • Community strategy on health and safety at work (2002-2006)

EQUIPMENT, SIGNS AND LOADS

  • Use of work equipment
  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Work with display screen equipment
  • Provision of health and safety signs at work
  • Manual handling of loads involving risk

PROTECTION OF SPECIFIC GROUPS OF WORKERS

  • Self-employed workers: health and safety at work
  • Health and safety for temporary workers
  • Protection of young people at work
  • Protection of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding

THE WORKPLACE

  • Health and safety of workers: conditions applicable to the workplace
  • Temporary and mobile work sites
  • Extractive industries by means of boreholes
  • Extractive industries in the surface and underground
  • Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres
  • Reassessing the regulatory social framework for more and better seafaring jobs in the EU
  • Strengthening of maritime labour standards
  • Fishing vessels
  • Improved medical treatment on board vessels

CHEMICAL, PHYSICAL AND BIOLOGICAL AGENTS

  • Protection of workers from exposure to biological agents
  • Protection of workers exposed to asbestos
  • Exposure to electromagnetic fields
  • Exposure to noise
  • Exposure to mechanical vibration
  • Risk of explosive atmospheres
  • Exposure to chemical agents
  • Dangers arising from ionising radiation
  • Exposure to artificial optical radiation
  • Exposure to carcinogens and mutagens
  • European system for registration of carriers of radioactive materials (Proposal)
  • Exposure to biological agents
  • Exposure to asbestos

Code of practice to clamp down on sexual harassment at work

Code of practice to clamp down on sexual harassment at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Code of practice to clamp down on sexual harassment at work

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Equality between men and women

Code of practice to clamp down on sexual harassment at work

Document or Iniciative

Commission code of practice on sexual harassment [Official Journal L 49 of 24.02.1992].

Summary

The Commission restates the general definition of sexual harassment contained in its Recommendation. National judges will still have to decide whether cases brought to their attention fall within this category and are to be regarded as a criminal offence, an infringement of statutory obligations (especially in health and safety matters) or a contravention of obligations imposed on employers by contract or otherwise. It calls on employers in the public and private sectors, trade unions and employees to follow the guidelines of the code and to include appropriate clauses in collective bargaining agreements.

Recommendations to employers

Prevention:

Employers should issue a policy statement which expressly states that sexual harassment will not be permitted or condoned and that employees have a right to complain about it should it occur. The policy statement should leave no doubt as to what is considered inappropriate behaviour which may, in certain circumstances, be unlawful. It should also explain the procedure to be followed for making a complaint or obtaining assistance, and should specify the disciplinary measures applicable. It should provide assurance that complaints will be dealt with seriously, expeditiously and confidentially, and that complainants will be protected against victimization. Once it has been drawn up, the statement must be communicated to everyone concerned, so as to ensure the widest possible awareness. Managers are to explain the organization’s policy to their staff, and are expected to take appropriate measures, act supportively towards victims and provide any information required. The provision of training for managers and supervisors is an important means of combating sexual harassment.

Procedures:

Clear and precise procedures must be developed, giving practical guidance on how to deal with this problem. Such guidance must draw the employees’ attention to their legal rights and to any time limits within which they must be exercised. Employees should be advised to try first of all to resolve the problem informally by explaining, either themselves or through a third party, that the behaviour in question is not welcome, offends them and interferes with their work. If the unwelcome conduct persists, there will be grounds for making a complaint. To this end, it is recommended that a formal procedure for dealing with complaints be set up, in which employees can place their trust and which specifies the person to whom the complaint should be brought. It is also recommended that someone be designated to provide advice and assistance. The complainant and the alleged harasser have the right to be represented by a trade union representative, a friend or a colleague. Employers should monitor and review these procedures in order to ensure that they are working effectively. Investigations of complaints are to be carried out with sensitivity by independent persons, with due respect for the rights of the complainant and the alleged harasser. Complaints must be resolved speedily and confidentially at the end of an investigation focusing on the facts. Any violation of the organization’s policy should be treated as a disciplinary offence. Disciplinary rules should make clear what is regarded as inappropriate behaviour and should indicate the range of penalties. Any victimization or retaliation against an employee bringing a complaint in good faith is to be considered as a disciplinary offence.

Recommendations to trade unions

Sexual harassment is a trade union issue which must be treated seriously and sympathetically when complaints arise. Trade unions are expected to formulate and issue clear policy statements on sexual harassment and to take steps to raise awareness of the problem, in order to help create a climate in which sexual harassment is neither condoned nor ignored. They should declare that sexual harassment is inappropriate behaviour and should inform staff about its consequences. It is also a good idea to ensure that there are sufficient female representatives to support women subjected to sexual harassment.

Employees’ responsibilities

Employees have a clear role to play in discouraging any form of reprehensible behaviour and making it unacceptable. They can contribute to preventing sexual harassment through awareness and sensitivity towards the issue and by ensuring that standards of conduct for themselves and for colleagues do not cause offence. Employees should lend support to victims of harassment and should inform management and/or their staff representative through the appropriate channels.

Related Acts

of 24 July 1996 on the Consultation of Management and Labour on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Work.

In 1996, the Commission adopted a communication launching the first phase of consultation of management and labour on the prevention of sexual harassment at work. At the same time, it presented a report assessing the 1991 recommendation on the protection of the dignity of men and women at work, which was drawn up on the basis of information sent by the Member States. Consultation of management and labour revealed differences in opinion on how to combat sexual harassment: the employers’ organisations wanted to limit measures to national initiatives, whereas the trade unions called for the adoption of a binding Community instrument. The Commission noted the failure of national repressive rules and therefore advocated implementing a general prevention policy comprising rules and procedures suited to the work environment. A second consultation phase was launched with the Commission communication of 19 March 1997. Since the social partners declined to give an opinion on the content of a general policy and to negotiate a collective agreement at European level, the Commission may, as announced in its 1997 Communication, seek other ways of preventing sexual harassment, including the adoption of a binding legal instrument.

Council Declaration of 19 December 1991 on the implementation of the Commission Recommendation on the protection of the dignity of women and men at work, including the code of practice to combat sexual harassment [Official Journal C 27 of 04.02.1992].

The Council, which fully endorses the Commission’s opinion, asks:

  • the Member States to intensify their efforts to promote the integration of women in the workplace;
  • the Commission to promote the exchange of information and good practice between the Member States;
  • the Commission to submit to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee the report provided for in Article 4 of the Commission’s recommendation, not more than three years after the adoption of this declaration.

Council Resolution of 29 May 1990 on the protection of the dignity of women and men at work [Official Journal C157 of 27.06.1990].