OSH system at national level - Greece

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  IOM

Spyros Dontas, ELINYAE, Greece

Occupational safety and health legislative framework

Historically, the first legislation in Greece concerning occupational safety and health (OSH) was a law 3134/1911 on “Workers’ health and safety and working hours” [1] and the Presidential Decree (PD) 14/3/1934 on “Workers’ hygiene and safety in industries, manufactures, workshops etc” [2]. A milestone in the development of OSH in the country was Law 1568/1985 “On Health and Safety at Work” [3]. This framework legislation has allowed the establishment of a number of institutions, like the Hygiene and Safety at Work Committees at the enterprise level and The Hygiene and Safety at Work Council at the national level. It has also defined the role of the Safety Engineer and the Occupational Physician at a workplace. The Presidential Decree 294/1988 on “The minimum working time for safety engineers and occupational physicians and their qualifications” [4] has detailed different aspects of Law 1568/1985.

The framework Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 [5] and the Council Directive 91/383/EEC of 25 June 1991 [6] have been transposed into Greek law in the Presidential Decree 17/1996 “On Measures for the Improvement of Safety and Health of Employees during their Work Activities” [7]. The decree was applied to both the private and the public sector and to all employers with at least one worker. It stipulated employers’ obligations, such as to perform risk assessment, to provide training and to carry out health monitoring. The law stated that the employees should take part of any risk assessment scheme. It also prescribes the role of the Protective and Preventive Services, either in the form of the Internal Protective and Preventive Services-ESYPP (a legal duty in those companies where at least two safety technicians are fully occupied) or in the form of the External Protective and Preventive Services-EXYPP (private companies providing OSH services to the employers). The Presidential Decree 95/1999 “On Conditions for the Establishment and Function of Protective and Preventive Services” provided more details on this matter [8]. Further important framework legislation was the Presidential Decree 159/1999 “Modification of PD 17/96” and Law 3144/2003 “On Social Dialogue for the Promotion of Employment, Social Protection and other Provisions” [9].

Given the complexity of the legislative framework, Law 3850 of 2 June 2010 has collated all the above OSH matters in a “Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees” [10]. This legal document covers a wide range of issues:

  • The Committees for Health and Safety at Work (EYAE) (details in paragraph 3.3) at the enterprise level (election procedure, role and number of representatives, etc.)
  • The Safety Technician (qualifications, duties, etc.)
  • Protective and preventive services (either external or internal, minimum conditions for their establishment and function)
  • Classification of enterprises in three different risk categories (A: high, B: medium, C: low)
  • The Occupational Physician (qualifications, duties, minimum working time in an enterprise)
  • Health monitoring
  • Training of employees, safety engineers and occupational physicians
  • The Council for Health and Safety at Work (SYAE) (details in paragraph 3.1) at the national level
  • Prefectural Committees for Health and Safety at Work (NEYAE) (details in paragraph 3.2)
  • Special Committees for Health and Safety at Work (e.g. in the shipyards)
  • General requirements for buildings
  • Protection of workers from physical, chemical and biological agents, fire protection, etc.
  • Employers’ obligations (e.g. risk assessment, social dialogue).

National strategy and programmes

The response to the Commission Communication “Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work” was a “Draft for the National Strategy for Health and Safety at Work 2010-2013” [11]. This draft was worked out by the General Directorate of Work Conditions and Health (Ministry of Labour, Social Security & Welfare) and was the product following an extensive dialogue between state representatives, social partners and professional associations within the frame of the Council for Health and Safety at Work (SYAE). On the 17th of May 2011, the official Draft document was presented to the Permanent Parliamentary Committee for Social Affairs by the Deputy Minister responsible for the OSH issues in the Ministry of Labour, Social Security & Welfare, supported by the senior executives of the General Directorate of Working Conditions and Health [12], a state agency which is belonging to the organizational structure of the above mentioned Ministry. Since then and following its approval, this Draft document became the official National Strategy for Health and Safety at Work for the period 2010-2013. The basic aims of the National Strategy for Health and Safety at Work (2010-2013) are the following:

  • To promote a prevention and safety culture,
  • To evaluate and minimize risks, in particular new and emerging risks, and to take appropriate measures to face them,
  • To reduce occupational accidents and occupational diseases,
  • To promote health and safety issues in the workplace in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The ultimate goal is to improve present work conditions and, more importantly, to protect the workers from adverse health effects.

The Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Welfare has set out ten strategic key points:

Key point 1: Simplification of the existing legislation

Key point 2: Enforcement of legislation
Key point 3: Formation and promotion of a prevention culture (e.g. campaigns in association with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, support from the National Information Network, promotion of health programmes in the workplace, support by the Labour Inspectorate)
Key point 4: Training on OSH (e.g. training programmes for both, employers and employees, usually in conjunction with the Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety [ELINYAE])
Key point 5: Information management on OSH issues (e.g. support of the Greek Focal Point tasks, printed and electronic publications)
Key point 6: Support of small and medium enterprises (e.g. promotion of good practices and co operations on OSH issues)
Key point 7: Mainstreaming of OSH principles into education and training (e.g. introduction and incorporation of OSH principles in the curriculum of both general and technical education)
Key point 8: Support and promote research on OSH issues, especially on new and emerging risks (e.g. cooperation with universities and institutes)
Key point 9: Upgrading the role of social partners (active support of social dialogue schemes such as the Council for Health and Safety at Work [SYAE] and the Council for Social Inspection of the Labour Inspectorate [SKEE])
Key point 10: Enhancing cooperation on OSH issues at national, european and international level.
Each of these key points is actually translated into a number of tasks or activities.

In continuation to the previous implementation period and based on the national priorities and needs on OSH as well as on the context and the general guidelines of the EU OSH Strategic Framework for the period 2014-2020, the new National OSH Strategy for the period 2016-2020 has been recently approved. Following a period of more than 18 months tripartite consultation among the representatives of the social partners, the scientific associations and the govermental authorities  participating as members in SYAE, the national Council for the Health and Safety of Workers, the new National OSH Strategy 2016-2020 will be published in the official gazette of the Hellenic Republic following a ministerial decision by the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity.

With the vision for “"creating safer, healthier and more productive workplaces in the private and public sector that will ensure the health and will promote the well-being of workers, while contributing in parallel to the sustainability of the enterprises and supporting the development of the economy", the main strategic policy objective of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security & Social Solidarity in the field of Occupational Health and Safety for the period 2016-2020 is the  official establishment of the "National Occupational Health and Safety System”.

In this general framework, the following (4) four more specific strategic objectives are set:

1. Strengthening of policies and measures to prevent accidents at work,occupational diseases and other work-related illnesses for all workers, with emphasis to the more  vulnerable groups.

2. Fostering of a participative occupational risks prevention culture through the provision of information education and training on OSH.

3. Improving reporting procedures and systems for recording accidents at work and occupational diseases.

4. Establishment of an occupational risks insurance body.

Specific tasks or activities in the form of measures to be implemented during each year of the period 2016-2020 have been included in the following (12) twelve priority axes consisting the multi-annual official programming document of the new National OSH Strategy 2016-2020:

Priority axes

Axis 1st. Official establishment of the National Occupational Health and Safety System

Axis 2nd. Simplifying and improving the legislative framework on OSH

Axis 3rd. Strengthening the implementation of the OSH legislation

Axis 4th. Strengthening prevention and improving the reporting procedures and systems for recording accidents at work and occupational diseases

Axis 5th. Supporting micro, small and medium-sized companies

Axis 6th. Fostering and promoting of an OSH risks prevention culture

Axis 7th. Mainstreaming OSH into education and vocational training

Axis 8th. Provision of training to the OSH stakeholders

Axis 9th. Workplace health promotion and tackling of the demographic change

Axis 10th.Encouraging scientific progress and research on OSH- Tackling of new and emerging risks

Axis 11th. Strengthening the role of the OSH social partners and of the workers participation

Axis 12th. Networking and development of synergies on OSH

Social dialogue

Social dialogue at national level

At the national level there are two councils, which through legislation have been commissioned to promote dialogue between social partners, professional associations and the state. These are:

The Council for Health and Safety of Workers [SYAE]: Article 26 of Law 3850 [13] stipulates that this council is the consultative body on OSH matters. It consists of representatives from the Technical Chamber (TEE), the Panhellenic Medical Association (PIS), the Greek Chemists’ Association (EEX), the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the National Association of the Municipalities and the Local Communities (KEDKE), the Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY), the Panhellenic Federation of workers in the Municipalities and Local Communities of Greece (POE-OTA), the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE), the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) as well as representatives from the the Ministry of Labour, Social Security & Social Solidarity, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Economy and Development and the Ministry of Finance.

The Social Monitoring Council of the Labour Inspectorate [SKEE] [14]: The council is a consulting body of the Labour Inspectorate and at the same time examines, evaluates and controls its function. It consists of representatives from the employees’ organizations such as such as the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY), from employers organizations, such as the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE), the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE) and the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), a representative from the Labour Inspectorate and a representative from the Union of Prefectures (ENAE).

Social dialogue at regional level

According to article 27 of Law 3850 [15] each prefecture of the country is obliged to have a Prefectural Committee for Health and Safety at Work (NEYAE). These committees also act as consulting bodies on OSH matters and coordinating centres for the local authorities. They consist of the prefect, a labour inspector in the region, a representative from the Ministry of Health, representatives from the Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY), the Organizations of Local Authorities (OTA) etc.

Social dialogue at enterprise level

Articles 4 through 7 of Law 3850 [16] describe the function and role of the Committees for Health and Safety at Work (EYAE) at the enterprise level. The number of members of the committee (ranging from 2 to 7) is dependent on the number of employees. In companies with less than 20 employees, one person is elected to fulfil this role. The committee can play an active role in the elaboration of the risk assessment study of the company, thus supporting the safety engineer in his task, and propose measures for the minimization of risks. It has the right to be informed on the accident record of the company and to demand withdrawal for dangerous work practices.

OSH infrastructure

OSH infrastructure scheme

Figure 1: OSH Infrastructure in Greece on an implementation level

OSH Infrastructure-Greece.JPG


Source: Overview by the author (Spyros Dontas)

National competent bodies

OSH authorities and Inspection services

At national level all issues concerning occupational safety and health are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security & Social Solidarity and its top authorities, that is the Directorate for Safety & Health at Work [17] and the Labour Inspectorate (SEPE) [18]. According to the Regulation of Mining and Quarrying Activities, the Mines Inspectorate is responsible for the work conditions in these workplaces [19].

Directorate for Safety & Health at Work

The Directorate for Safety & Health at Work [20] which promotes all issues related to occupational safety and health (except of the inspection and the enforcement of the national OSH legislation), is the principal OSH administration authority in the Ministry of Labour, Social Security & Social Solidarity. The Directorate is responsible among other duties for the planning, organization, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the national OSH strategy and policies, the national OSH System as well as the National OSH Programme, in accordance to the national priorities and the running EU OSH strategy. It’s activities are mainly directed in the fields of OSH legislation, policy making, decision making, administration, information management and documentation, awareness raising, networking, education, training and research.

To bring out these actions the aforementioned Directorate, with principle operational objective to plan, monitor and evaluate actions under the National Strategy for Safety and Health at Work, is divided into the following (6) six departments:

  • Department of Working Conditions.
  • Department of Health Promotion, Harmful factors, Safety and Ergonomics.
  • Department of the National Focal Point for OSH Information and Documentation.
  • Department for the Major Accidents (under the Seveso Directive).
  • Department for OSH Training and Monitoring of Policies on OSH issues.
  • Department for People with Disabilities.
Department of Working Conditions

The Department is responsible for the legislation and administration issues of OSH in Greece. Its legislative activities include the preparation of Presidential Decrees and Ministerial Decisions on OSH matters as well as the transposition of European Directives into Greek legislation. The legislative drafts are then submitted to the Council for Health and Safety of Workers [SYAE]. Special emphasis is given in the elaboration of legislation concerning persons with special needs, young or elderly workers and working women during pregnancy and following childbirth. The department participates to all OSH institutions within the frame of the European Union. It also participates in the international conferences organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Its administrative activities include the composition of circulars that clarify aspects of legislation and technical guides concerning the methods and practices of labour inspectors. It collects and evaluates statistical data on occupational accidents provided by the technical and hygiene directorate of the Labour Inspectorate. It also produces reports concerning the implementation of international agreements on OSH. Finally, it provides answers and expert opinion on legal matters.

Department of Health Promotion, Harmful factors, Safety and Ergonomics.

The main operational aims of the Department are the promotion of health at work programs, the operational management of the National Information Network on Workplace Health Promotion, the implementation of initiatives, actions and programs in the field of the various harmful factors for OSH as well in the field of safety and ergonomics. The Department holds the laboratories for measuring various harmful physical, chemical and biological agents such as noise, humidity, vibrations, chemical substances, dust in air, metabolites in biological fluids etc. and participates in applied research programmes for conducting research studies on OSH  in various industrial sectors. It also supports the Hellenic Organization for Standardization (ELOT) in defining specifications for personal protective equipment and electro-mechanical equipment.

In addition the Department supports the function of the Labour Inspectorate by providing advice, information and equipment. It also participates in training programmes for safety technicians, occupational physicians, members of Committees for Health and Safety at Work, labour inspectors etc.

Department of the National Focal Point for OSH Information and Documentation

The Department is responsible for the organization and the daily operation of the Greek Focal Point of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the officially appointed state agency for the implementation of the EU-OSHA’s Annual Programme at national level (as the member of its pan-european network of Focal Points representing Greece). In general it aims to the provision of information, experience and knowledge, to the raising of awareness on OSH and to the development and promotion of a risk prevention culture and of an OSH culture in general, through specific information, networking, communication, raising of awareness, educational and promotional activities. It also supports EU-OSHA in the dissemination and exchange of the available OSH information, experience and knowledge and it organizes, implements and evaluates its European campaigns in Greece, mainly through the operation and management of the National OSH Information Network.

In addition, the Department organizes targeted campaigns for public awareness on OSH, provides information through the development of webpages dedicated to OSH, supports the Ministry’s OSH databases and proposes information policies as well the development of printed and electronic information and promotion products on various OSH issues. It is also responsible for mainstreaming OSH into other policies, with emphasis paid to the integration of OSH basic principles to the various level of education, including the technical education and the vocational training and supports the development and promotion of the OiRA program and the OiRA tools for supporting the micro, small and medium enterprises in their legal duty for conducting RA.

Department for the Major accidents (under the Seveso Directive)

The Department is responsible for the audit, the evaluation and the provision of an expert opinion on the safety reports submitted by the undertakings which are obliged from the existing legislation for the major accidents (under the Seveso Directive), in close cooperation with regional competent OSH authorities of the Labour Inspectorate, with competent state authorities of other ministries as well as with universities and  scientific bodies acting in the specific scientific field implied by the Seveso Directive.

Other main operational aims are the inspections of those industrial installations having the risk of a major accident, the preparation of these inspections with the personnel of the co-responsible authorities and the industry representatives, the implementation of possible re-compliance on-site checks to prevent the impacts mitigation of such accidents, the participation with other competent authorities to a committee responsible to investigate the causes behind a major accident, the mitigation of the expected effects and the conditions for avoiding recurrence.

The Department with other competent authorities is also responsible for the preparation and updating of external emergency plans as well as for the National Master Plan "XENOKRATIS" in cooperation with the relevant General Secretary of Civil Protection, participates to an inter-ministerial committee for the examination and decision-making on various issues related to the examination of the safety reports submitted by the enterprises, for the harmonization of the national legislation with the corresponding european directive and for the related implementation criteria under the Seveso directive. Finally, it  prepares answers and clarifications on questions of legal or regulatory content and on any other question or complaint falling within the competence of the Department.

Department for OSH Training and Monitoring of Policies on OSH issues.

The Department examines the applications submitted by the External Protective and Preventive Services (EXYPP) and by the Internal Protective and Preventive Services (ESYPP) in order to receive the required authorization for their operation with respect to the fulfillment of the their legal requirements. It also examines the annual data submitted by both EXYPP and ESYPP with respect to their organization and the means by which they provide their services to other companies.

In addition, the Department gives expert opinion to the Council for Health and Safety of Workers [SYAE] on the approval of the various vocational training programmes taking place nationwide according to the existing legislation, supports the organization of seminars and educational programmes for safety technicians, occupational physicians, members of Committees for Health and Safety at Work, labour inspectors, workers, employees and executives and it also provides check lists, other tools, guidance and advices, which aid the work of labour inspectors.

Finally the Department is responsible for the authorization and the auditing of the legal conditions for the operation of enterprises in the field of Asbestos Removal and Demolition Works (EAK) under the existing national legislation.

Department for People with Disabilities

The specific Department is responsible for the drafting of accessibility standards for people with disabilities at the workplaces taking into consideration the provisions and the implementation of the existing legislation, as well as the evolution of the new technology. In addition it has responsibilities in the fields of sites auditing, of the documentation of the accessibility problems in the Ministry’s premises as well as of the solution suggestions from the “people with disabilities” point of view.

It is important to note that following a restructuring process within 2017 applied in the organizational structure of all operational units of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity, the aforementioned structure of the Directorate for Safety and Health at Work has been officially decided that will receive a new name and form, consisting of the following (5) five operational units, sharing -more or less- the same responsibilities as it was in the previous form:

Directorate for Health and Safety at Work
  • Department of Working Conditions and OSH Strategic Planning.
  • Center for OSH Research and Measurements on Harmful Factors.
  • Department of the National Focal Point and the Promotion of OSH Policies.
  • Department for the Major Accidents (under the Seveso Directive).
  • Department for Monitoring the OSH Services Providers.
The Labour Inspectorate (SEPE)

Law 2639/1998 [21] instituted the Labour Inspectorate (SEPE) [22] in its current form. Its Central Services are located in Athens and a number of Regional Services are located throughout the country. The Regional Services are divided into two categories: Sixteen (16) Regional Directorates for the Inspection of Social Matters such as illegal occupation, lack of social security cover etc and five (5) Regional Directorates for the Inspection of Safety and Health at Work (former Centres for the Prevention of Occupational Risk-KEPEK) which involve inspection of work conditions for safety, health and hygiene matters. The Labour Inspectorate is responsible for the inspection and application of the national legislation either on social matters (work times, wages, social security, occupational legality) or on the physical conditions of work (safety and health) and plays also an important consulting role for properly informing and guiding the employers in order to achieve a better compliance level. Law 3996/2011 [23] has introduced reforms to the Inspectorate.

To fulfil its role, the  inspectors for the safety and health at work can enter at any time in private or public workplaces without prior notice. It examines the implementation of OSH legislation. In case of violations it can impose administrative sanctions and fines. In case of major violations the inspectorate can order the temporary or permanent closure of a section or of the entire company. It investigates and reports on the causes of serious and fatal accidents. It investigates the causes of occupational diseases, takes samples and determines physical, chemical and biological parameters. Finally, it intervenes to resolve disputes in the workplace.

OSH services

Article 9 of Law 3850 [24] stipulates that the employer, in order to fulfil his duties according to OSH legislation, can either form an Internal Protective and Preventive Service (ESYPP) using safety technicians and occupational physicians which are employed by the company, or use the services provided by an External Protective and Preventive Service (EXYPP). Those companies must by law occupy full time at least (2) two safety technicians are obliged to form an Internal Protective and Preventive Service (ESYPP). With regards to their role within the company, there is no difference between an ESYPP and an EXYPP.

Article 23 of Law 3850 [25] examines the conditions under which an External Protective and Preventive Services (EXYPP) can be established. These conditions include organisational, technical and ethical competence. Article 24 describes the role and the composition of the Committee, which operates within the Ministry of Labour and licences the External Protective and Preventive Services (EXYPP).

Compensation and insurance bodies

The Social Insurance Institute (IKA) [26] is by far the largest social security organization in Greece. IKA covers salaried employees in Greece or abroad for an employer who is based in Greece, as well as those employees who offer full-time or part-time personal labour on commissioned work agreements and who are not insured with any other main insurance agency.

In Greece the old Royal Decree 473/1961 [27] concerning "Contributions for Occupational Risk” is still in force. This Decree obliges nearly all employers to pay an insurance contribution to IKA amounting to 1% of the total wages. Theoretically this contribution is paid for protection against occupational risks. However, in reality the sum is not used for this purpose and is redirected to further finance IKA’s obligations (pensions etc). Given that occupational diseases are significantly underreported, this leads to reduced insurance coverage. A continuous demand by the Trade Unions is the establishment of a Body of Insurance against Occupational Risks under IKA’s umbrella.

More recently and since the 1st of  January 2017 a single State Social Security Organization named EFKA has been put in operation as the result of the unification of the pre-existing social security institutions operating in Greece. Regulated by the law n.4387 (FEK 85/A’/12-5-2016) and with a view to ensuring a decent living and social protection, in terms of equality, social justice, redistribution and solidarity of generations, all state social benefits are granted within the framework of the umbrella organization EFKA which includes the National Health System for health benefits, the National Social Solidarity System for the welfare benefits and the National Social Security Funds for the  insurance benefits.Everyone is now insured with EFKA, employers and employees either as wage earners or self-employed pay their contributions to EFKA and all pensioners receive their main pension from the same organization.

Other OSH bodies

The Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (ELINYAE):
The Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (ELINYAE) [28] is a bipartite (employers – employees) non-profit organization. The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE), the Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (GSEVEE) founded the Institute in 1992. Its objectives are:

  • to detect, record, process, investigate and analyse the various hazardous agents and conditions in the work environment and the effects they may have on the health and safety of the employees,
  • to support the state to elaborate regulations, rules and relevant legislation,
  • to monitor international developments and experiences and forward documentation on OSH matters,
  • to promote the exchange of information within the social partners on issues of occupational health and safety,
  • to contribute to the investigation and solution of problems, arising from the interaction between the work environment, the general environment and expectations for work and living standards,
  • to study the impact of applications of new technologies and of new preventative measures for occupational risks,
  • to provide expertise on issues of occupational health and safety.

The main financial source of the ELINYAE is from the Account for Employment and Vocational Training (LAEK) as specified by the National General Collective Labor Agreement (EGSSE) and the European Union (Technical Support, second and third Community Support Framework). Other financial sources are from services provided by the Institute, donations, income from publishing activities, seminars etc. In addition, contributions are obtained from European programmes, assets from property, subsides, specific contributions and funding from public and private enterprises, institutions, individuals, and other organizations in Greece and abroad.

The Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (ELINYAE) consists of four centres:

1. Occupational Safety Centre:
The centre deals with safety issues and ergonomic aspects in order to improve working conditions and prevent accidents at work. It performs safety audits and ergonomic analysis in the work environment, provides expertise in cases of occupational accidents upon request and collaborates in EU research projects.
2. Occupational Health and Hygiene Centre:
The centre consists of the Department of occupational medicine, the Laboratory of Industrial Hygiene and the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Analytical Toxicology. It has developed sampling and analytical methods for the detection of chemical, physical and biological hazards in the work environment and carries out biological monitoring of hazardous substances.
3. Documentation and Information Centre:
The centre collects, organizes, maintains and disseminates information concerning occupational health and safety. Its library provides access to relevant literature and information resources. The centre produces and distributes the publications of the Institute (books, pamphlets, CDs, quarterly journal and electronic newsletter).
4. Vocational Training Centre:
The centre organizes and conducts training programmes, seminars, half-day seminars, presentations etc., for members of Committees for Health and Safety at Work (EYAE), employees, unionists executives, employers, business managers, safety engineers, occupational physicians, etc.

Apart from the headquarters in Athens, the Institute has six regional branches in operation in the cities of Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Tripoli, Volos, Komotini and Iraklio.

Professional and Scientific associations:

Professional and scientific associations provide services to their members on OSH matters. They help them fulfil their duties as safety engineers, occupational physicians, members of Committees for Health and Safety at Work (EYAE), unionists, researchers etc. They also participate via their representatives in the national OSH tripartite social dialogue which is taking place at the national Council for the Safety and Health of Workers (S.Y.A.E.). Three examples of professional associations providing such services are:

  • The Permanent Committee on Occupational Safety and Health of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) [29].
  • The Department for the Environment and Health and Safety at Work of the Greek Chemists’ Association (EEX) [30].
  • The Greek Society for Environmental and Occupational Medicine (EEIEP) [31].

Education, training and awareness raising

Legally required training for OSH specialists

Article 13 of Law 3850 [32] specifies academic qualifications for graduates of universities and technological educational institutes (TEI) as a prerequisite to be appointed as safety technicians in different economic activities (e.g. food, chemical or textile industry, agriculture, fisheries etc). In addition, according to Article 11, in order to be able to exercise the role of safety technician, university graduates and TEI graduates have to accumulate 2 and 5 years’ work experience respectively. However, if the above graduates have attended a 100-hour seminar on OSH matters, then university graduates can become safety technicians with 1-year work experience and TEI graduates with 2 years experience. Although Article 16 of Law 3850 refers to occupational physicians, it does not stipulate special OSH training for them, as long as they have a specialty in Occupational Medicine or have obtained experience as medical practitioners in a company. Safety technicians, occupational physicians, members of Committees for Health and Safety at Work, employers etc usually insist on further training on OSH matters in order to respond more effectively to the needs of their role. Vocational Training Centres (KEK) authorized by the National Organization for Accreditation of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) [33] provide training on OSH. These centres can either be administered by private or public organisations (e.g. prefectures, local communities, universities etc). Article 22 of Law 3850 [34] describes the procedure followed by the Ministry of Labour for the approval of a vocational training course developed by the above centres. The Council for the Health and Safety of Workers [SYAE] provides expert opinion before approval of a course. The content and the duration of a course will depend on the target group (e.g. safety technicians working in companies with high, middle or low risk levels, occupational physicians, members of Committees for Health and Safety at Work, employers etc). The law does not prescribe the content and the duration of a training course. Law 3850 also does not foresee additional training in order to face new and emerging risks.

Other vocational training

Most of the professional associations have established Vocational Training Centres (KEK) for their members and other professionals. Many of them provide courses on occupational health and safety. These training courses can provide not only the basic OSH knowledge but also knowledge on specialised matters.

Awareness raising networks

The Department of the National Focal Point for OSH Information and Documentation (the Greek Focal Point of the European Agency EU-OSHA) coordinates national OSH campaigns and other networking, communication, raising of awareness, educational, training and promotional activities on various OSH issues, mainly through the operation and management of the National OSH Information Network (relative information is provided by the Ministry of Labour’s website). The operation of the above mentioned network is supported by its active collaboration and close cooperation with the social partners organizations and networks as well as other national information networks such as the National WHP Information Network (promoting health issues at the workplace), the Enterprise Europe Network-Hellas (providing consulting services to SMEs) or the national section of the Europe Direct Centres (providing information services on various EU initiatives and programmes to the general public).

Specialized technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

The only research institute in Greece on OSH is the Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (ELINYAE).

Research in the field of health and safety at work is also carried out by research groups in universities, predominantly in technical universities or medical schools, the National School for Public Health (ESDY), Technological Educational Institutes (TEI), etc.

Standardization bodies

The Hellenic Organization for Standardization (ELOT) [35] is the national body responsible for the elaboration, approval, publication and distribution of Hellenic Standards. The elaboration of Standards is entrusted to ELOT’s Technical Committees and Working Groups. Representatives from both the public and the private sector express their opinions on the different issues in order to achieve maximum possible consensus among them. The Technical Committee 59 (Health and Safety at Work) is responsible for the elaboration of standards on OSH issues. The Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Development, the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE), the Greek Chemists Association (EEX), the Greek Society for Environmental and Occupational Medicine (EEIEP), the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) as well as representatives from the private sector provide their expert opinion to this Technical Committee.

==Institutions and organizations==

The Council for Social Inspection of the Labour Inspectorate [SKEE]: http://www.ypakp.gr/

The Directorate for Safety and Health at Work: http://www.ypakp.gr/

The Labour Inspectorate (SEPE): http://www.ypakp.gr/

The Social Insurance Institute (IKA): http://www.ika.gr/en/home.cfm

The Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (ELINYAE): http://www.elinyae.gr/el/index.jsp

The Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE): http://portal.tee.gr/portal/page/portal/TEE_HOME

The Greek Chemists’ Association (EEX): http://www.eex.gr/Pages/Default.aspx

The Greek Society for Environmental and Occupational Medicine (EEIEP): http://www.iatrikiergasias.gr/

The National Organization for Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP): http://www.eoppep.gr/

The Hellenic Organization for Standardization (ELOT): http://www.elot.gr/default_en.aspx

References

  1. Law 3934/1911 on Workers’ Health and Safety and Working Hours [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?item_id=2822&cat_id=937
  2. Presidential Decree (PD) 14/3/1934 on Workers’ Hygiene and Safety in Industries, Manufactures, Workshops etc [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?item_id=2454&cat_id=818
  3. Law 1568/1985 on Health and Safety at Work [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=2171
  4. Presidential Decree 294/1988 on The minimum Working Time for Safety Engineers and Occupational Physicians and their Qualifications [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?item_id=2460&cat_id=708
  5. Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the Introduction of Measures to encourage Improvements in the Safety and Health of Workers at Work. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:1989:183:0001:0008:EN:PDF
  6. Council Directive 91/383/EEC of 25 June 1991 supplementing the measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of workers with a fixed-duration employment relationship or temporary employment relationship. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:1991:206:0019:0021:EN:PDF
  7. Presidential Decree 17/1996 on Measures for the Improvement of Safety and Health of Employees during their Work Activities [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=1858
  8. Presidential Decree 95/1999 on Conditions for the Establishment and Function of Protective and Preventive Services [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=2281
  9. Law 3144/2003 on Social Dialogue for the Promotion of Employment, Social Protection and other Provisions [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=1898
  10. Law 3850/2010, Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=8438
  11. The National Strategy for Health and Safety at Work 2010-2013, Ministry of Labour and Social Security [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.ypakp.gr/uploads/docs/4516.pdf
  12. The General Directorate of Working Conditions and Health. Retrieved 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012:http://www.ypakp.gr/
  13. Law 3850/2010, Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=8438
  14. The Council for Social Inspection of the Labour Inspectorate (SKEE). Retrieved 18 May 2012: http://www.ypakp.gr/
  15. Law 3850/2010, Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=8438
  16. Law 3850/2010, Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=8438
  17. The General Directorate of Working Conditions and Health. Retrieved 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012:http://www.ypakp.gr/
  18. The Labour Inspectorate (SEPE). Retrieved 18 May 2012:http://www.ypakp.gr/
  19. Regulation for Mining and Quarrying Activities [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=857&item_id=8982
  20. The General Directorate of Working Conditions and Health. Retrieved 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012:http://www.ypakp.gr/
  21. Law 2639/1998 on the Adjustment of Labour Relations, Formation of the Labour Inspectorate and other provisions [in Greek]. Available at: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=695&item_id=1886
  22. The Labour Inspectorate (SEPE). Retrieved 18 May 2012:http://www.ypakp.gr/
  23. Law 3996/2011 (On the Restructuring of the Labour Inspectorate, adjustment of Social Security issues and other provisions [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=695&item_id=9024
  24. Law 3850/2010, Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=8438
  25. Law 3850/2010, Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=8438
  26. The Social Insurance Institute (IKA). Retrieved 18 May 2012:http://www.ika.gr/en/home.cfm
  27. Royal Decree 473/1961 on Contributions for Occupational Risk [in Greek]:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=687&item_id=2170
  28. The Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (ELINYAE). Retrieved 18 May 2012: http://www.elinyae.gr/el/index.jsp
  29. The Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE). Retrieved 18 May 2012: http://portal.tee.gr/portal/page/portal/TEE_HOME
  30. The Greek Chemists’ Association (EEX). Retrieved 18 May 2012:http://www.eex.gr/Pages/Default.aspx
  31. The Greek Society for Environmental and Occupational Medicine (EEIEP). Retrieved 18 May 2012: http://www.iatrikiergasias.gr/
  32. Law 3850/2010, Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=8438
  33. The National Organization for Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP). Retrieved 18 May 2012: http://www.eopp.gov.gr/
  34. Law 3850/2010, Code of Laws for the Health and Safety of Employees [in Greek]. Available at:http://www.elinyae.gr/el/item_details.jsp?cat_id=708&item_id=8438
  35. The Hellenic Organization for Standardization (ELOT). Retrieved 18 May 2012: http://www.elot.gr/default_en.aspx
OSH: [[Property:OSHA|]]
NACE: [[Property:NACE|]]