The Italian law, specifically Legislative Decree dated April 9, 2008, No. 81 and subsequent modifications (referred to as the Workplace regulations), incorporates the European Union directives related to workplace health and safety. This legislation introduces a collaborative approach to risk assessment, focusing on preventing accidents and preserving the well-being of workers in Italy.
As outlined in the decree, the risk management model mandates that individuals responsible for workplace health and safety receive assistance from professionals possessing technical and functional expertise. These professionals support the former in fulfilling their legal obligations. These regulations are applicable across various sectors, including remote work setups, and cover all types of risks.
Let's dive into this.
Over time, Legislative Decree no. 81 of 2008 has undergone several important revisions and additions. These alterations range from Legislative Decree No. 106 of August 3, 2009, to Legislative Decree No. 151 of September 14, 2015, and extend to regulations associated with the COVID-19 epidemiological emergency. Additionally, changes have been introduced through Decree Law No. 146 of October 21, 2021 (subsequently modified and converted into Law No. 215 of December 17, 2021).
Who is involved?
The individuals responsible for ensuring corporate security according to this regulation include:
The employer: This refers to the party holding the employment relationship with the worker or the person accountable for the organization or production unit. In public administrations, it applies to those exercising decision-making and spending powers. In cases of management autonomy, this role can be fulfilled by the manager (or the official).
The manager: This individual is tasked with executing the employer's directives by organizing and supervising work activities.
The person in charge: This person oversees work activities, ensures the implementation of received directives, and verifies correct execution by workers. They also possess functional initiative powers.
The worker: This term encompasses anyone receiving protections outlined in accident prevention regulations, regardless of remuneration. This includes those learning a trade, art, or profession, with the exception of domestic and family service workers.
Specifically concerning the appointed individual, it's worth mentioning that their role was significantly reinforced due to the alterations introduced by Decree Law No. 146 of October 21, 2021 (later modified and converted into Law No. 215 of December 17, 2021).
Employers and managers are required to designate the responsible individual (as stated in Article 18, paragraph 1, letter b-bis, T.U.) to carry out supervisory tasks under their jurisdiction. These responsibilities include:
Monitoring individual workers to ensure they adhere to legal obligations and company regulations regarding workplace health and safety. If non-compliant behavior is detected, intervening by providing necessary safety guidance.
If given instructions are not followed or non-compliance persists, halting the worker's activity and notifying immediate supervisors.
Is the employer the sole responsible for the safety of the employees? The answer is no.
In the current regulatory framework, the worker not only receives protection but also carries distinct responsibilities and actively participates, either directly or through representatives, in implementing the company's security system. According to Article 20, paragraph 1, each worker is obliged to ensure their own and others' health and safety at the workplace based on their training, instructions, and resources provided by the employer.
Furthermore, workers have specific obligations outlined in Article 20, paragraph 2. The duties of safety representatives for workers are defined by Legislative Decree No. 81/2008, unless modified through collective bargaining agreements.
Emergency management officers (outlined in articles 43-46) are integral to the corporate security system. Employers are mandated to appoint workers responsible for implementing fire prevention and firefighting measures, workplace evacuation in case of immediate danger, rescue operations, and first aid. These designated individuals must receive appropriate training and have suitable equipment, and they cannot refuse their designation without valid reasons.
The competent doctor, another figure identified by the decree, is appointed by the employer to assist in risk assessment and conduct health surveillance (articles 38-42). The competent doctor must possess specific qualifications. Health surveillance is required not only as specified by current legislation but also upon worker request related to work-related risks (Article 41, paragraph 1).
The Risk Assessment Document (DVR, Documento Valutazione Rischi) is a crucial document generated at the end of the risk assessment process. It must be dated and include various elements, as stipulated in Article 28, paragraph 2. The employer, in collaboration with the Head of the prevention and protection service, the competent doctor, and after consulting the Workers' Safety Representative (Article 29, paragraphs 1 and 2), conducts the assessment and prepares the DVR.
When significant changes occur in production processes, work organization impacting workers' health and safety, technical advancements, prevention, protection, or major accidents, or if health surveillance results indicate the need, the risk assessment and preventive measures must be revised.
The risk assessment must encompass all risks to workers' health and safety, including those concerning specific worker groups exposed to risks (considering gender differences, age, etc.) and those linked to the employment contract's specific nature. Exceptions aside, employers with up to 10 workers can conduct risk assessments using standardized procedures developed by the Standing Advisory Commission on Health and Safety at Work..
Protection measures and obligations
Legislative Decree No. 81/2008 aims to establish consistent protection standards for workers across the entire national territory.
Training and information
Another fundamental aspect of the regulatory structure detailed in the mentioned decree revolves around the education and communication provided to the staff. Specifically, all employees have the entitlement to receive comprehensive information regarding prevention and protection (Article 36). Simultaneously, individuals engaged in ensuring workplace safety must undergo particular training.
This training, encompassing both general and more specialized aspects, is mandatory for (Article 37, paragraph 4):
Managers and supervisors are obligated to receive appropriate and specialized training along with regular updates from the employer concerning their responsibilities in the realm of workplace health and safety.
In addition to the contractual obligations aimed at safeguarding the physical well-being and moral dignity of employees (stipulated in Article 2087 of the Civil Code), the relevant legislation imposes administrative fines and penalties (ranging from fines to arrest for criminal offenses) in the event of violations concerning workplace prevention and safety regulations (as outlined in articles 55-60). Moreover, certain prevention-related crimes are governed by the Criminal Code (Articles 437 and 451).
The oversight of workplace safety and health primarily falls under the jurisdiction of the ASL (Local Health Authorities) and the National Labor Inspectorate. For further information, please refer to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies' website, specifically the section titled "Safety at Work."
If you are interested in hearing more about Health and Safety of the workers in Italy or you have any questions on this, feel free to contact us!