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Occupational safety and health in Ukraine: main requirements

Ukrainian legislation sets an obligation for all employers to provide safe and harmless work environment. Article 19 of the Law of Ukraine “On occupational safety and health” provides that expenses defrayed for occupational safety and health must be not less than 0.5% from the amount of salary fund from the previous year. Non fulfillment of regulatory requirements related to occupational safety and health may result in imposition of sanctions which may even include prohibition for an enterprise to conduct its activities.

In order to avoid troubles with representatives of occupational safety and health inspection and eliminate risk of enterprise existence an employer should take care of many things the main of which are listed below:

1. Create occupational safety and health department.

Article 15 of the Law of Ukraine “On occupational safety and health” provides that such department must be created at an enterprise with 50 and more employees in compliance with the Typical regulation on occupational safety and health department that is approved by the Order of the State Committee of occupational safety and health supervision number 255 dated 15.11.2004. Based on this document it is required to draft the Regulation on occupational safety and health department of a particular enterprise, define structure of such department, number of its employees, main tasks, functions and rights of its employees. Besides, it is required to approve job descriptions for department’s officials which define their duties, rights and liability.

If there are less than 50 employees, functions of occupational safety and health department can be transferred as secondary job to persons who have proper training. And enterprises with less than 20 employees can hire independent occupational safety practitioners who have not less than 3 years of work experience and education in the field of occupational safety and health.

2. Create and approve instructions and other documents on occupational safety and health at the enterprise.

Employer’s obligation to approve such documents is provided by Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “On occupational safety and health”. They must provide rules for conduction of work and employees’ behavior within the territory of enterprise, in manufacturing facilities, on construction sites and working places. Instructions and other documentation on occupational safety and health are created based on provisions of legislation in the field of occupational safety and health, typical instructions and technical documentation of an enterprise with consideration of type of enterprise’s specialty and particular working environment of it.

3. Organize conduction of trainings on issues of occupational safety and health in Ukraine.

Article 29 of the Code of labor laws provides that prior to the beginning of work of a new employee the employer is obligated to inform him about work conditions of his working place and the employee has to confirm his acknowledgement by means of signature. This includes information about all dangerous or harmful industrial factors which haven’t been eliminated yet and about possible consequences of their influence on employee’s health as well as about possible exemptions and compensations for such working environment.

Besides, after employment all the employees must attend initial briefing, undergo training, examination of theory knowledge, primary briefing at a workplace, internship and obtainment of skills of occupational safety and health. Only after this, employees are allowed to work unsupervised. Initial briefing is given by occupational safety specialist while primary one – by the direct superior of the employee. After this employees must attend regular scheduled briefings (once per quarter or once per 6 months), unscheduled once (when occupational safety and health rules are amended, when machinery is changed or when an employee breaks occupational safety and health rules) and special briefings (in particular in case of one time works that are not related to employee’s specialty). Information about briefings conduction is to be included in a special log which must have signatures of the person who was instructed and the person who gave instructions.

4. Organize training and examination of knowledge of employees on matters of occupational safety and health.

Article 18 of the Law of Ukraine “On occupational safety and health” provides that employees engaged in high-risk works or occupy positions which require professional selection must undergo annual training and examination of knowledge on the matters of occupational safety and health. Occupational safety and health training of such employees can be organized directly at an enterprise or by another business entity which provides such training. Examination of knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health must be conducted by the enterprise’s commission which consists of persons that are approved by the director of the enterprise.

Every three year business executives of enterprises with the amount of employees which exceeds 1000 persons, heads and specialists of occupational safety and health departments and members of commissions on occupational safety and health of such enterprises must undergo training at the Main scientific and methodical center of the State Service of Mining Supervision and Industrial Safety of Ukraine. Business executives of enterprises with the amount of employees which is less than 1000 persons, heads and specialists of occupational safety departments and members of commissions on occupational safety of such enterprises must undergo training at specialized training centers or at educational institutions and establishments that provide occupational safety and health training. Officials of small enterprises undergo training at the same place.

More detailed procedure of training and examination of knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health is provided by the Order of the State Committee on occupational safety and health number 15 dated 26.01.2005. The same document provides that an enterprise must have its own approved regulations on occupational safety and health training as well as schedules of training and examination of knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health. All the employees must be acknowledged with the documents.

5. Organize medical examinations.

Article 169 of the Code of labor laws of Ukraine provides that the employer at his own expense is obligated to organize pre-employment medical examination (when an employee is hired) and regular (during the period of employment) medical examinations of employees engaged in works with harmful or dangerous labor conditions or of those who are subject to professional selection. Also he is obligated to organize annual obligatory medical examination of employees who are under 21.

List of professions, manufacturing processes and organizations employees of which are subject to obligatory professional medical examinations and procedures of their conduction are approved by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine number 559 dated 23.05.2001. Term of such medical examinations conduction is set by the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine. Their schedule, location and list of doctors who conduct the examination are approved by chief physicians of medical establishments which conduct such examinations. Medical examinations result in expert’s report about ability of an employee to perform his duties which are included in his medical record that are to be kept by the employer.

6. Provide employees with personal protective equipment, soap, milk, special mineral water, etc.

Article 164 of the Code of labor laws of Ukraine provides that workers who work in harmful or dangerous environment or do work which deals with pollution or adverse temperatures receive special clothing, footwear and other means of individual protection free of charge. Regulation on costless provision of means of individual protection are approved by orders of leading ministries or other governmental bodies for particular types of industries. It is prohibited to provide materials for creation of means of individual protection or money for their purchase. If an employee buys the means of individual protection himself dues to delay in their provision at his enterprise then the employer is obligated to reimburse him the amount of money spent for such purchase.

Besides, workers who perform works related to pollution must receive special soap for home use (in the amount of 400 grams per month) excluding the soap that is provided at their enterprises. Workers who perform works which may result in influence of harmful substances on their skin must receive cleaning and disinfecting products free of charge. In accordance with regulatory provisions workers who work in dangerous environment must receive milk (0.5 liter per shift) or other similar food product and if the environment is extremely harmful they receive preventive nutrition. Also the employer is obligated to provide salty mineral water to employees that work under influence of high temperatures in premises.

7. Complete certification of workplaces.

Enterprises, the technological process of which involves equipment, raw materials that are potential sources of harmful and dangerous industrial factors which can negatively influence health of workers must undergo certification of workplaces. Such certification is performed by certification commission members and authority of which are approved by the order within term that is provided by the collective bargain but not less than once in 5 years. Procedure of such certification conduction is provided by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine number 442 dated 01.08.1992. Information about results of such certification is included in work environment card.

8. Keep records of work accidents.

Article 22 of the Law of Ukraine “On occupational safety and health” provides that the employer is obligated to organize investigation and keep record of work accidents and occupational diseases in accordance with the procedure set by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine number 1232 dated 30.11.2011. Such investigation must result in drafting of an act in accordance with form N-5 (if an accident is recognized as such that is not related to production) or form N-1 (if it is related to production). One of copies must be provided for an injured person or another interested person not later than 3 days since the moment of investigation completion.

In addition to mentioned points the employer has a number of other obligations related to occupational safety and health. Part of them seem to be declarative (for example obligation to implement progressive technologies) but other must be obligatorily fulfilled by employers (for example requirements related to labor of women, underage and disabled persons, requirement to file reports about level of occupational safety and health).

This material was written by exerts of law firm “Pravova Dopomoga”.

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