EUROPEAN DIRECTIVES ON SAFETY & HEALTH AT WORK

A directive is a legal act provided for in the EU Treaty. It is binding in its entirety and obliges Member States to transpose it into national law within a set deadline.

Article 153 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union gives the EU the authority to adopt directives in the field of safety and health at work. The Framework Directive, with its wide scope of application, and further directives focusing on specific aspects of safety and health at work are the fundamentals of European safety & health legislation.

Member States are free to adopt stricter rules for the protection of workers when transposing EU directives into national law. Therefore, legislative requirements in the field of safety & health at work can vary across EU Member States.

THE OSH FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE

The European Framework Directive on Safety & Health at Work (Directive 89/391 EEC) adopted in 1989 was a substantial milestone in improving safety & health at work. It guarantees minimum safety and health requirements throughout Europe while Member States are allowed to maintain or establish more stringent measures.

The aim of this Directive is to introduce measures to encourage improvements in the safety & health of workers at work. It applies to all sectors of activity, both public and private, except for specific public service activities, such as the armed forces, the police or certain civil protection services.

It is of fundamental importance as it the basic safety & health legal act which lays down general principles concerning the prevention and protection of workers against occupational accidents and diseases. It contains principles concerning the prevention of risks, the protection of safety & health, the assessment of risks, the elimination of risks and accident factors, the informing, consultation and balanced participation and training of workers and their representatives.


EEC DIRECTIVE OF 12 JUNE 1989 ON THE INTRODUCTION OF MEASURES TO ENCOURAGE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE SAFETY & HEALTH OF WORKERS AT WORK (89/391/EEC)

The Directive covers all aspects of Occupational Health & Safety and below we highlight an employers obligations along with Articles in the Directive that specifically relate to First Aid & Fire Safety.

EMPLOYERS OBLIGATIONS

AN EMPLOYER SHALL:

▸ Evaluate all the risks to the safety & health of workers, inter alia in the choice of work equipment, the chemical substances or preparations used, and the fitting-out of work places
▸ Implement measures which assure an improvement in the level of protection afforded to workers and are integrated into all the activities of the undertaking and/or establishment at all hierarchical levels
▸ Take into consideration the worker's capabilities as regards health & safety when he entrusts tasks to workers
▸ Consult workers on introduction of new technologies
▸ Designate worker(s) to carry out activities related to the protection and prevention of occupational risks
▸ Take the necessary measures for first aid, fire-fighting, evacuation and action required in the event of serious and imminent danger
▸ Keep a list of occupational accidents and record for the responsible authorities reports on occupational accidents suffered at work
▸ Inform and consult workers and allow them to take part in discussions on all matters relating to safety & health at work
▸ Ensure that each worker receives adequate safety & health training


ARTICLE 8: FIRST AID, FIRE-FIGHTING AND EVACUATION OF WORKERS, SERIOUS AND IMMINENT DANGER

1. THE EMPLOYER SHALL:

▸ Take the necessary measures for first aid, fire-fighting and evacuation of workers, adapted to the nature of the activities and the size of the undertaking and/ or establishment and taking into account other persons present
▸ Arrange any necessary contacts with external services, particularly as regards first aid, emergency medical care, rescue work and firefighting.

2. PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 1, THE EMPLOYER SHALL:

▸ Inter alia, for first aid, fire-fighting and the evacuation of workers, designate the workers required to implement such measures. The number of such workers, their training and the equipment available to them shall be adequate, taking account of the size and/ or specific hazards of the undertaking and/ or establishment.


ARTICLE 12: TRAINING OF WORKERS

1. THE EMPLOYER SHALL:

▸ Ensure that each worker receives adequate safety & health training, in particular in the form of information and instructions specific to his workstation or job.

THE TRAINING SHALL BE:

▸ Adapted to take account of new or changed risks
▸ Repeated periodically if necessary

2. THE EMPLOYER SHALL:

▸ Ensure that workers from outside undertakings and/ or establishments engaged in work in his undertaking and/ or establishment have in fact received appropriate instructions regarding health & safety risks during their activities in his undertaking and/ or establishment.

3. WORKERS' REPRESENTATIVES:

▸ With a specific role in protecting the safety & health of workers shall be entitled to appropriate training.

4.THE TRAINING REFERRED TO IN PARAGRAPHS 1 AND 3:

▸ May not be at the workers' expense or at that of the workers' representatives.
▸ The training referred to in paragraph 1 must take place during working hours
▸ The training referred to in paragraph 3 must take place during working hours, in accordance with national practice either within or outside the undertaking and/ or the establishment.


SPANISH LEGISLATION: LEY 31/1995, DE 8 DE NOVIEMBRE, DE PREVENCIÓN DE RIESGOS LABORALES. BOE Nº 269 10/11/1995

Spain, as with all European countries, have adopted the EEC Council Directive into legislation, and this can be found within the Ley 31/1995, de 8 de noviembre, de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales. BOE nº 269 10/11/1995, specifically under Artículo 19, Formación de los Trabajadores.


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