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From this article, you will learn:
- What is the validity period of the initial OHS training?
- Who is excused from attending OHS trainings?
- Can OHS training be conducted online?
Junior HR & Payroll Specialist at RSM Poland
The Labor Code imposes an obligation on employers to provide the workers with safe and hygienic work conditions and to conduct the trainings in the field of OHS. It should be noted that the trainings should take place during working time and their cost should be paid by the employer.
The Regulation of the Minister of Economy and Labor dated 27 July 2004 regarding the OHS training precisely describes the rules of training, its scope, frequency and method of documentation.
There are many concerns about the dates when the knowledge of the workers should be refreshed via OHS trainings. It results from the fact that the deadlines are different depending on the workplace. For instance, the frequency of the repetition of the trainings is different for the employees of the Human Resources and Payroll Department and the construction workers.
The initial OHS training
Before being allowed to work, every employee has to do the initial OHS training. It is divided into two parts:
- general instruction – allowing the workers to get acquainted with the fundamental health and safety provisions included in The Labor Code and in the work regulations,
- on-the-job training – allowing the workers to get acquainted with their duties and the threats to which they can be exposed on a given workstation.
It also should be noted that when an employee does the work in a couple of workplaces, they have to attend the instruction of each one of them.
The validity period of the initial training depends on the post occupied by the worker. According to the provisions, it is:
- half a year – for the people in charge of the employees,
- a year – for the engineering-technical workers, the administrative and office workers and for the physical workers.
Periodic OHS training
During employment, the employer is obligated to send the workers for the periodic OHS training in order to refresh their knowledge in this field. Similar to the initial OHS trainings, the obligation to undergo the periodic training is different depending on the occupied workplace. The first periodic OHS training should be carried out after:
- 6 years – in the case of the administrative and office workers,
- 5 years – in the case of the engineering-technical workers,
- 5 years – in the case of the mangers,
- 5 years – in the case of the workers exposed to harmful, burdensome, dangerous factors,
- 5 years – in the case of the OHS service workers,
- 3 years – in the case of the physical workers,
- 1 year – in the case of the physical workers performing especially dangerous work, e.g. the work within the technical equipment.
Who is excused from attending the OHS training?
There are cases when the worker is not obliged to attend the OHS training before being allowed to work. The training is not required when the worker takes up the work in the same position they occupied under a given employer immediately before establishing another employment contract with this employer.
The people who can be excused from attending the periodic OHS training:
- attended the periodic training required on the workplace from the different group of workplaces within the same time limit, if the scope of the training covered the training applied in the new workplace,
- will present a valid certificate about undertaking the required periodic training while working for another employer.
From 1 January 2019 there is no obligation to conduct the periodical OHS trainings for the administrative and office workers hired by the employer qualified for the professional group which is specified with not higher risk category than the third. These are the groups of activities which are least exposed to harmful factors for human health and have the lowest accident rates. However, please note, this does not apply to the office workers in management positions.
In the case when the employer’s type of the prevailing activity changes (and consequently they will be specified with the group of activity with a higher risk category than the third), this employer will be obliged to conduct the periodical training for the administrative and office workers – within six months, counting from the day of being qualified to the higher risk category.
Is it possible to conduct OHS online?
The pandemic has made it necessary for many aspects of life to look for new solutions enabling a safe functioning of the company while maintaining the sanitary regime. It also applied to the issue of conducting the health and safety trainings.
The Act on special solutions for prevention, counteraction and eradication of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and the crisis situations caused by them, is informing that during the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemic, it is allowed to conduct the initial health and safety at work trainings via electronic means of communication. However, it does not apply to on-the-job training of:
- workers of manual labor positions;
- workers of positions exposed to harmful factors;
- workers transferred to positions mentioned in points 1 and 2;
- students receiving practical professional training and students doing apprenticeship.
The extension of the validity period of the OHS due to the COVID-19 pandemic
According to the Coronavirus Act, if the date of conducting the periodical training regarding health and safety at work falls:
- during the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemic
- within 30 days from the day of canceling the state of epidemic or state of epidemic threat (if the state of epidemic is not introduced),
the time is extended to 60 days from the day of canceling the state of epidemic or state of epidemic threat (if the state of epidemic is not introduced).
Position training and periodical OHS training in the workplace, what to keep in mind?
In conclusion, employer cannot allow anyone who does not have the qualifications required for the given job and does not have the basic knowledge about OHS. Consequently, every worker has to undergo the initial OHS training, then during the employment relationship, has to attend the periodical trainings.
The frequency for the repetition of the OHS trainings depends on the post occupied. The pandemic has enforced the possibility to conduct the initial OHS training online and extended the validity period of the periodical trainings.