OSH system at national level - Lithuania

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  IOM

Audrius Spirgys, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, and Gediminas Vilkevicius, Aleksandras Stulginskis University


Occupational safety and health legislative framework

In Lithuanian legislation occupational safety and health (OSH) is defined as all preventive measures intended for the preservation of functional capacity, life and health of workers at work. These preventive measures should be used or planned at all operational stages of an undertaking seeking to protect employees from occupational risks or/and minimise this risk. Each employee should be provided with a safe and healthy working environment irrespective of activities of the company, type of employment contract, number of employees, profitability of the company, workplace, working environment, nature of work, duration of working day or shift, citizenship, race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, social background, political or religious beliefs of the employee.

Creation of the safe and healthy working conditions in all work-related aspects is the employer’s duty. OSH measures in the undertaking are funded by the employer. The employer’s representative is obliged, when organises work in the undertaking, to establish an internal control of the OSH status, to set working time and rest periods, payment for work in such a way that workers would be motivated to obey safety and health requirements.

The undertaking’s OSH policy should be integrated into its general management policy. According to the OSH legislation, each employer’s representative when establishing the OSH policy in the undertaking and planning measures for safety and health improvement should be guided by the following general principles of the risk management:

  • Avoiding any risks to safety and health, decreasing risk factors and their impact or evaluating possible impact of the risks which cannot be avoided.
  • Eliminating the established causes of risk.
  • Evaluating worker’s capabilities to perform the assigned work, adapting work process to the worker’s capabilities, fitting out workplaces, choosing work equipment and work methods, and setting work or production rates.
  • Adapting workplaces following a technical progress in designing, creating safe and healthy working environment.
  • Replacing the dangerous work processes by non-dangerous or less dangerous.
  • Giving priority to the collective OSH measures over the personal protective measures,
  • Training and instructing workers and giving them mandatory instructions in order to satisfy the requirements on OSH.

The main legal acts regulating policy in the OSH area and OSH implementation in Lithuania are the Labour Code [1] and the Law on Safety and Health at Work [2]. These legal acts transposes into Lithuanian law the framework 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. The Code and the Law are supported by the related regulations (resolutions of the Government and regulations on OSH approved by the Minister of Social Security and Labour, the Health Minister or the Chief State Labour Inspector) covering different sub-areas of occupational safety and health and together forming a system of the OSH regulations. Requirements of these regulations apply to each employer who employs at least one worker and to each undertaking established in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, taking into consideration restrictions on the application of individual legal acts.

The purpose of the system of the OSH regulations is to set: legal provisions and requirements in order to protect workers against occupational risks or to reduce such risks; legal base for the public administration of safety and health at work and competence of the State institutions; rights and obligations of employers, employer’s representatives and workers in order to ensure safe and healthy working conditions; general principles of responsibility for violation of the OSH legislation. The main legislative OSH documents are:

  • Labour Code [1].
  • Law on Safety and Health at Work [2].
  • Law on Social Insurance against Occupational Accidents and Diseases [3].
  • Provisional Law on Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Accidents and Diseases [4].
  • Order of Preparation of Occupational Safety and Health Instructions and Instructing Workers [5].
  • Model Regulations of Occupational Safety and Health Services in Enterprises [6].
  • General Regulations of Workplaces Equipment [7].
  • General Regulations of Working Equipment Use [8].
  • Law on Control of the Potentially Dangerous Equipment [9].
  • Law on Chemical Substances and Preparations [10].
  • Resolution on the List of Dangerous Works [11].
  • General Regulations of Occupational Risk Assessment [12].
  • Regulations of Investigation and Recording of the Accidents at Work [13].
  • Law on Guarantees in case of Employer's Insolvency and Long Term Work Allowances [14].
  • Law on Vocational Education and Training [15].
  • Law on State Social Insurance [16].
  • Law on the State Labour Inspectorate [17].
  • Law on Employment
  • Resolution on the implementation of Labour Code

The State Public Health Service (Valstybinė visuomenės sveikatos priežiūros tarnyba) was responsible for the developing, issuing and implementing hygiene norms, implementing national public health safety control and ensuring safety of the environment according to the law requirements. From July 2012 the Service is liquidated. The control and ensuring safety functions were passed to the regional Public Health Centres (Visuomenės sveikatos centrai) [18], other functions – to the Ministry of Health (Sveikatos apsaugos ministerija) [19]. The main legislative OSH documents and list of the hygiene norms, which are directly related to the occupational safety and health can be found on the website of the Lithuanian State Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Lithuania (Valstybinė darbo inspekcija) [20].

National strategy and programmes

Occupational Safety and Health Strategy for 2009-2012 constitutes Lithuania’s initiative to follow the Commission Communication the Improving Quality and Productivity at Work: Community Strategy 2007-2012 on Health and Safety at Work. Thus it states a commitment to comply with and to contribute to the EU strategy and the OSH objectives at national level for 2009-2012.

Strategic goal of the OSH strategy for 2009-2012 is: To seek to reduce serious and fatal accidents at work, to improve the legal and organizational health and safety system, to ensure employees work quality and conservation.

Objective 1: Strengthening and development of the health and safety policy. Its specific tasks are:

  • Improvement of the legal measures to ensure occupational safety and health preservation.
  • Development of OSH research on industrial accidents and occupational diseases prevention.

Objective 2: Improvement of the OSH education, training, certification, information and instruction system. Specific tasks for this objective are:

  • Implementation of occupational risk and its prevention training at all levels of the educational process and in training programs in order to prepare young people for working activities.
  • Permanent education and training of employers and employees in the area of occupational risk factors, their identification, effect and sequences, especially in SME.
  • Ensuring OSH training quality.
  • Creation of effective OSH information system for employers and employees.

Objective 3: Increasing effectiveness of employees’ preventive health care. Specific tasks are:

  • Increasing the OSH services contribute to health preservation and enhancement.
  • Improvement of employees’ health care quality.
  • Permanent improvement of the health care specialists’ qulification.

Objective 4: Improving safety of staff working in hazardous works. Specific tasks for this objective are:

  • Implementation of training projects for workers employed in hazardous works, development of employers' ability to organise safely hazardous works and employees’ ability to work safely in these works.
  • Strengthening of the control carried out by the Labour Inspectorate on the supervision of potentially dangerous equipment and performace of hazardous works and the co-operation between the authorised technical state inspection bodies and the Labour Inspectorate in the area of supervision and control of potentially dangerous equipment.

The new one national OSH actions plan (strategy) for 2017- 2021 is approved by the Minister of Social Security and Labour and the Minister of Health on 22 May 2017 . This plan is prepared according to EU Strategy 2014-2020 on Health and Safety at Work.

There are 4 main objectives in the national OSH strategy 2017- 2021:

  1. Improvement of OSH legislation and enforcement in the SME's, increasing theirs ability to implement effective preventive measures for occupational risks.
  2. Improvement of prevention of work related diseases, eliminating existing and new emergency risk with respect to gender and especially to work related cancer or other diseases related to work with chemical substances, also prevention of MSD's.
  3. Ensuring of proper competence of labour inspectors, occupational health specialists to achieve fullfillment of new tasks.
  4. Improvement of training system for emplyers and employees in OSH.

Performance criteria, measures for implementation, responsible institutions, need for funds and sources of funding and period of implementation are also planed in the Strategy. [21]

Social dialogue

Social dialogue at national level

Lithuania has established a system of social dialogue at all levels (national, sectorial and company), but social partnership as an instrument of regulation for industrial relations does not have a tradition like in the EU-15 Member States. #[link to OSHwiki main category OSH in general, subcategory Social Dialogue, article title Social dialogue in OSH, article code RO-11-04-8]# For the historical reasons, trade unions in Lithuania do not have a strong role, while employers’ organisations often try to evade significant social responsibility. The development of a social dialogue was started only in the 1990s when formation of a new system of social partnership in Lithuania began. The first steps were difficult, as the trade unions, collective labour relations and involvement of employees in business management were regarded as elements of the former socialist production-management system and thus being unsuitable for the market economy. Unfortunately, some of these attitudes remain unchanged today. Despite this situation, some trade unions managed to survive. The contemporary trade unionism in Lithuania is formed by ‘old’ trade unions that have been renovated to a large scale and adapted to the present situation.

Social dialogue at a national level has made an important contribution to the improvement of working conditions and plays an important role in the preparation of a new OSH legislation in Lithuania. According to the Eurofound project on the Social dialogue and EMU in Lithuania, a very important role in regulating the parties’ conduct is played by the national laws. The law may restrict the actions that the parties are allowed to take in response to such disputes. Restrictions of this kind may weaken the possibilities for the parties to execute their rights. But the law may also provide parties with ways to resolve the arising collective disputes (such as conciliation, mediation, arbitration, etc.). On the other hand, it should be mentioned that although the laws play a very important role in the formation of the mechanism for the resolution of collective disputes, in practice they usually remain just a theoretical possibility for the employees. In addition to the legal restrictions still there are problems, because the trade unions do not have enough economic capacity for reimbursement of the temporary income loss during strike periods.

The legal grounds for social dialogue and industrial relations are established by the Labour Code [1]. The system itself constitutes the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos trišalė taryba (LRTT)) [22] and other tripartite commissions and committees that are set up in accordance with procedures established by the relevant laws or collective agreements.

The Labour Code [1] also provides a more comprehensive and improved legislative framework for different levels of social partnership (national, sectorial/regional and company), a right to collective bargaining and its procedures, as well as other forms of social dialogue (right to information, consultation and its application procedures, employees’ participation in the enterprise management), procedures of the collective labour disputes. The Code stipulates a legal status of social partners. This status is further developed in the individual laws: on Trade unions (1991) [23], Associations [24], Work councils [25], and European work councils (2004) [26]. Involvement of social partners in the co-decision making at a national level is foreseen in the Government’s work regulation [27]. The Labour Code also stipulates that the Government, upon the recommendation of the Tripartite Council, establishes a minimum wage.

In 2013 thirteen Tripartite Labour Dispute Commissions were established under the State Labour Inspectorate territorial divisions. The main task of these Commissions is to resolve individual conflicts between an employer and an employee. Decisions of the Labour Dispute Commissions are obligatory for both sides of the conflict. If any side disagrees with the Commission decision they can appeal to the Administration Court.

Currently there are three central trade unions and two central employers’ organisations operating in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation (Lietuvos profesiniu sajungu konfederacija, LPSK) [28] was established in 2002, after the merger between two trade union centres: the Lithuanian Trade Union Unification (LPSS) and the Lithuanian Trade Union Centre (LPSC). The Confederation mainly covers sectors of private industry, private service and state sector joining together 27 branches of trade unions. The Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation is organisation independent from government and managing authorities, from employers and their organisations and also from public organisations and movements. The LPSK is a member of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and cooperates with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Mission of the LPSK is to join and protect Lithuanian trade unions and to influence Governmental institutions on labour and social issues.

The main objectives of the LPSK are:

  • On national level to join, support and coordinate the actions of LPSK members at branch and regional level, to protect the rights and legitimate interests of trade union members, to seek to influence the government policy and employers activity on labour, economic and social issues.
  • To represent LPSK and trade union members solving social, economic and labour issues with state institutions, employers and their organizations.
  • To promote solidarity in setting united policy of trade unions in Lithuania and to represent Lithuanian trade unions worldwide.
  • To promote social partnership with employers and their organizations.

The Lithuanian Trade Union “Solidarumas” (Lietuvos profesinė sąjunga “Solidarumas”) [29] was established in 1989. The " Solidarumas” mainly covers sectors of private industry, private service and state sector joining together 18 trade union federations and 20 towns/regions territorial trade unions, Women’s council, Youth group. Its aims are the representation of workers' economic and social rights and interests and influencing the economic and social policy in order to ensure their working rights, occupation, wages, occupational safety, hygiene, work environment, social security and so on. The main principles of the activities are honor and dignity, democracy, fostering, equal partnership, solidarity, peer relationship building and efforts to harmonize the interests of social partners.

The Lithuanian Labour Federation (Lietuvos darbo federacija, LDF) [30] was established in 1919 and restored in 1991. The Federation mainly covers sectors of private industry and private service joining together 19 Trade Union sectorial organisations with about 20000 employees. Since 1996 the LDF is a member of the World Confederation of Labor (WCL) and since 2002 it belongs to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

The main objectives of the LDF are:

  • Consolidation of the LDF members on the national level in order to protect their professional, labour, economic and social rights and interests.
  • Representation of the LDF members in relations with employers, their organisations, state institutions, international organisations.
  • Influencing the State social policy in order to reach better economic, social and labour conditions for employees.
  • Strengthening social partnership and solidarity between trade unions in Lithuania and abroad.
  • Carrying out education and training of the LDF members.
  • Participation in activities of institutions representing workers in Lithuania, Europe and all over the world.

The Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists (Lietuvos pramonininku konfederacija, LPK) [31] was established in 1989. The Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists is a major association and lobby group in Lithuania which represents the interests of large industrialists and employers. The Confederation in an umbrella organization uniting  50 branch and 7 regional associations which comprise over 3000 medium and large enterprises from various public and private sectors. The main objectives of the LPK are:

  • Creation of the most favourable conditions for the development of economic, technical and social progress of Lithuanian enterprises.
  • Representation of the rights of the entrepreneurs – the LPK members and defence of their social and legal interests in the governmental, social and international structures.
  • Extension of markets for products and raw materials, improvement of export and import conditions in order to enable Lithuanian industry to contribute a proper contribution to the strengthening of the national economy.
  • Making contacts between Lithuanian manufacturers and their counterparts.

The Lithuanian Business Employers’ Confederation (Lietuvos darbdaviu konfederacija, LDK) [32] was established in 1999. The Confederation mainly covers sectors of private industry and private service joining together more than 1800 enterprises and also regional and sectorial business associations.

The main objectives of the LDK are:

  • Focusing on entrepreneurs in order to express, represent and guarantee their legitimate interests.
  • Analyzing and assessing the business situation in Lithuania, seeking to create favorable conditions for the business establishment and development.
  • Initiation of development of the business self-government.
  • Provision of the comprehensive assistance to entrepreneurs.
  • Developing activities of the business serving structures.

Social dialogue at the national level is held at the Tripartite Council of the Republic of Lithuania. The LRTT is comprised of the representatives from employees’ and employers’ organisations and the executive power (total 15 members). Permanent members of the Tripartite Council are representatives of: trade unions organisations (LPSK [28], “Solidarumas” [29], LDF [30]), employers’ organisations (LPK [31], LDK [32]) and the Government (Ministry of Finance [33], Ministry of Economy [34], Ministry of Education and Science [35], Ministry of Social Security and Labour [36], Ministry of Agriculture [37]). The LRTT is formed on the basis of equal tripartite partnership to settle social, economic and labour problems by the means of inter-agreements. Parties at the LRTT for many years have been signing agreements between the Government, trade unions and employers’ organisations concerning the tripartite cooperation and approving plans for the development of social partnership. The social partners periodically discuss the idea of a national collective agreement, but so far it has not yet been implemented in practice.

Other tripartite or bipartite councils (commissions, committees) may be established according to the procedures prescribed by the special laws or collective bargaining agreements for addressing and resolving the issues of labour, employment, workers safety and health and social policy implementation. The procedure of formation of such councils (commissions, committees) and their functions should be established in the regulations of the relevant council (commission, committee). In the cases stipulated by the law these regulations should be approved by the Government or be a subject to collective bargaining agreements.

The whole system of tripartite participation in Lithuania also includes a number of other tripartite councils and commissions as well, most of them being specialized:

  • Council of the State Social Insurance Fund (Valstybinio socialinio draudimo fondo valdyba) [38].
  • Tripartite Commission at the Lithuanian Labour Exchange (Trišalė komisija prie Lietuvos darbo biržos) [39].
  • OSH Commission (Lietuvos Respublikos darbuotojų saugos ir sveikatos komisija) [40].
  • The Experts’ Commission of Adults Education (Suaugusiųjų švietimo ekspertų komisija) [41].
  • Lithuanian Council of Vocational Training (Lietuvos profesinio mokymo taryba) [42].
  • Council of the Guarantee Fund (Garantinio fondo taryba) [43].

Summarising the information on tripartite participation in Lithuania it should be said that despite a number of established different tripartite institutions, only those, having tangible weight in the social and economic policy, work effectively for a few years. Still there is lack of unity among the trade unions organisations. Sometimes there are several trade unions at the same enterprise and they do not agree upon the common demands. During the Soviet period, the government was the only employer and independent employers’ organisations were established only after 1990. The establishment of employers’ organisations in Lithuania was primarily related to the wish of employers to represent and defend their own business interests, with the government seen as the key partner (as is still largely the case today). Moreover, basically all the national organisations of employers and employees claim that they are apolitical, without any binding obligations on the political arena. However, outwardly looking most central Lithuanian trade unions and employers’ organisations could be linked to one or another Lithuanian political party.

Social dialogue at sectorial level

Sectorial tripartite and bipartite councils (commissions, committees) may be formed in accordance with the procedure established by the relevant laws or collective agreements (see Clause 3.1). On the principle of the bipartite co-operation of organisations of employers and trade unions in a relevant sector of economic activitiy, sectorial occupational safety and health commissions may be established. Founders of such commissions must lay down procedures for their establishment and formation.

Unfortunately, process of the establishment of the tripartite and bipartite councils (commissions, committees) at the sectorial level practically is at a standstill. Therefore issues of the sectorial level are dealt at the national Tripartite Council.

On the other hand some of the tripartite bodies operating at the national level also extended their activities to a regional level. Not long ago only a few districts and municipalities had tripartite councils. Till the end of 2011 twenty four new regional tripartite and bipartite councils or commisions were establised by the Lithuanian Trade Union “Solidarumas” in the frame of the 2007-2011 programme intended to strengthen social dialogue in Lithuania [29].

For the purpose of investigation of the issues related to prevention of violations of the OSH requirements in undertakings, regional OSH commissions and municipal OSH commissions based on the principle of tripartite co-operation of social partners are established. The procedure of the establishment and formation of the aforementioned commissions is laid down by the Minister of Social Security and Labour and the Minister of Health Care.

Social dialogue at enterprise level

The employer’s representative or persons authorised by the employer must inform workers and consult with them on all issues concerning the state of OSH, planning of its improvement, organisation, implementation and control of the OSH measures. The employer’s representative, heads of subdivision should ensure possibility for workers, workers’ representatives with specific responsibility for OSH to take part in the discussions concerning safety and health matters. Occupational health and safety committees should be formed in undertakings and workers’ representatives with specific responsibility for OSH should be appointed for that purpose.

OSH committees should be established and their work should be organized in those undertakings which employ more than 50 workers. If less than 50 workers are employed in an undertaking, the committee may be established on an initiative of the employer or the workers’ representative, or on a proposal of more than half of workers of the undertaking. According to the General Occupational Safety and Health Committees in Enterprises [44] the committee may be established in the undertakings of certain economic activity types where an occupational risk is higher even if there are less than 50 workers employed in such undertaking. The committee should be formed on a bilateral principle i.e. from an equal number of employer’s representatives appointed by the employer (employer’s representative) and the workers’ representatives with specific responsibility for OSH.

The development of bilateral relations between employers and employees indicates, with some exceptions, that employers currently do not see employees as equal partners. However the situation is to some extent different in large companies, and especially the ones with foreign ownership. It is obvious that ‘western’ investments have brought different attitudes towards relations between employers and employees and social partnership. The situation is also different in the state enterprises, where strong trade unions have traditionally existed (e.g. the education system, the health care system, the railways, the post, etc). Though the state as an employer might be a more favourable partner for the trade unions than private employers, unfortunately in the most cases in the state-owned enterprises the state only plays a role of the ‘third party’. In collective relations it avoids (or does not seek) becoming a full partner in bilateral negotiations and taking the role of an employer in the mentioned negotiations.

Occupational safety and health infrastructure

Occupational safety and health infrastructure scheme

Figure 1: The OSH infrastructure in Laithuania on an implementation level

Lithuania.png

Source: Overview by the authors

National competent bodies

Occupational safety and health authorities and Inspection services

The Ministry of Social Security and Labour (Socialinės apsaugos ir darbo ministerija) [36] and the Ministry of Health (Sveikatos apsaugos ministerija) [19] implement State policy in the OSH area in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania [45], the Labour Code [1], the laws, resolutions of the Government and other regulations. The Minister of Social Security and Labour himself or together with another minister or ministers approves the OSH regulations establishing the procedure for their entry into force and application. The Health Minister approves health care regulations (hygiene norms), which establish the levels of working environment factors not harmful to workers’ health.

Remit of the State Labour Inspectorate [20] under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour [36] includes the prevention of accidents at work, occupational diseases and violations of occupational safety and health requirements of standard acts on labour law. It also covers the control of compliance of the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania, laws and other standard acts regulating occupational safety and health as well as labour relations in enterprises, institutions, organisations or other organisational structures, irrespective of their forms of ownership, type, nature of activity, also in these cases when an employer is a natural person (hereinafter referred to as the „employers“).

The State Labour Inspectorate consists of the administration and territorial divisions. The administration consists of the Chief State Labour Inspector and his deputies as well as divisions and services coordinating and organising activities of the State Labour Inspectorate. The number and subordination of these divisions and services as well as territorial divisions is established by approval of the structure of the State Labour Inspectorate. Sectors uniting specialists of certain activities may be established within the structural subdivisions.

Occupational safety and health services

Internal OSH services

In order to ensure OSH in an enterprise the employer may appoint one or more OSH specialists or establish an OSH service #[link to OSHwiki main category OSH in general, subcategory What’s OSH, article title OSH services, article code RO-11-04-1]#. The employer may conclude contract with a natural or a legal person concerning the performance of the OSH service functions or part of such functions. This person must meet one of the qualification requirements for the OSH professionals set by the Minister of Social Security and Labour:

  • Higher technical education plus completed OSH training course according to the programme prepared for the particular sector or sectors of economic activity.
  • Higher education under the special OSH programme.
  • Higher education plus certificate on OSH for work in enterprises of the particular sector or sectors of economic activity. [46]

The duty of these persons is to prepare proposals with regard to preventive measures designated to protect workers against injuries and occupational diseases, to coordinate the implementation of these measures, to control the compliance of workplaces of an undertaking with the OSH requirements, etc. These persons are directly answerable for their work to the employer’s representative or to the person authorized by the employer. The procedure for the establishment of OSH services in undertakings, functions, rights and duties of the persons appointed by the employer are laid down by the Model Regulation of Occupational Safety and Health Services in Enterprises [6]. The Regulations also determine number of the OSH specialists in an undertaking OSH service taking into account types of economic activity, number of employed workers and relevant occupational risks.

OSH service specialists are responsible for performing following main functions:

  • Consulting of person representing the employer.
  • Instructing employees, organizing training for OSH and first aid issues, organizing compulsory health surveillance of employees.
  • Organizing the OSH risk assessment and preparation of the OSH status card.
  • Preparing the undertaking health and safety legislation.
  • The investigation of incidents, accidents at work and occupational diseases.
  • Preparing and organising the implementation of preventive measures intended for the prevention of accidents at work and occupational diseases.
  • Monitoring the OSH status and implementation of preventive measures.
  • Controlling the compliance with the OSH requirements and etc.

Passing obligations related to OSH to the persons appointed and persons authorised by the employer, the contractual commitments of legal or natural persons to the employer do not exempt the employer from the responsibilities established by the Labour Code [1] and the Law on Safety and Health at Work [2].

External OSH services

In the absence of competent staff able to ensure all OSH service functions, in order to ensure the process the employer can hire external OSH services or persons providing the aforementioned OSH functions [2].

Natural persons performing functions of the occupational safety and health service or part of such functions must meet the same qualification requirements like specialists for the internal OSH services (see above) and possess adequate means necessary to perform these functions. The duty of these persons is to prepare proposals with regard to preventive measures designated to protect workers against injuries and occupational diseases, to coordinate the implementation of these measures and to control the compliance of workplaces of an undertaking with the OSH requirements, etc.

Mutual obligations of the employer and a legal or natural person performing the functions of the OSH service or part of such functions shall be established in an agreement regarding the performance of the said functions. Where the number of the OSH specialists of the legal person and/or the number of the natural persons performing functions of the OSH service or part of such functions cannot be smaller than the number set in the Model Regulations of Occupational Safety and Health Services in Enterprises [6] this number should be fixed by the aforementioned agreement.

Each year the legal or natural persons performing functions of the OSH service or part of such functions should, present to the State Labour Inspectorate information regarding the employers to whom they have provided such services and the number of the OSH specialists who have performed these functions.

External services for technical control

Where safety of the work equipment depends on the conditions of installation, it is subject to an inspection in order to ensure that this equipment has been installed correctly and is properly operated by the competent persons within the meaning of national laws and/or practices. The Law on Control of the Potentially Dangerous Equipment [9] provides a legal regulation on technical safety of such equipment. The Law on supervision of potentially dangerous equipment and the Law on Energy [47] outline a maintenance system for potentially dangerous equipment and defines equipment which is subject to this system, list the competence requirements for institutions performing technical assessment of equipment.

Currently in Lithuania approximately 50 institutions have licences of monitoring technical condition of equipment and performing assessment of technical status of the potentially hazardous equipment. The main of them are “Inspecta” [48], TUVLITA [49], Technical Supervision Service [50] and Supervision Service for Elevating Gears [51].

Compensation and insurance bodies

A state social insurance is one of the most important parts of the social insurance system in Lithuania #[link to OSHwiki main category OSH in general, subcategory Insurance, article title International comparison of occupations accident insurance systems RO-11-04-6]#. The State Social Insurance Fund (SODRA) [38] has been established in order to implement the social insurance. SODRA is implementing the state social insurance for already twenty years. The system guarantees income for the insured persons and persons who have lost capacity for work due to sickness, also in the case of maternity, paternity, old-age, disability, or other instances set out in the laws with seeking to reduce or to compensate for lost income due to unemployment. The state social insurance system is based on the principle of generation solidarity and current financing, when the collected contributions are distributed right away. Therefore it is very closely related to and dependent on the country’s economic potential. The country’s economic growth rates started to slowdown from 2008 followed by increasing unemployment and enterprise bankruptcies what has resulted in an economic decline. This had a detrimental effect on the social insurance system.

The state social insurance system is comprised of:

  • Ministry of Social Security and Labour [36].
  • Council of the State Social Insurance Fund [38].
  • State Social Insurance Fund Board and its territorial offices and other institutions relate to the Fund administration [38].
  • State Tax Inspectorate [52] under the Ministry of Finance [33].
  • Lithuanian Labour Exchange [39] under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour.
  • State Patient Fund under the Ministry of Health [19].
  • Pension saving companies.
  • SODRA’s clients (insurers, insured and benefit recipients). [38]

In Lithuania, like in a number of countries of the world, there are following types of the state social insurance:

  • Pension social insurance for the basic or supplementary parts of pension.
  • Sickness and maternity social insurance.
  • Occupational accidents and occupational diseases social insurance.
  • Health insurance.

Most persons are covered by these types of the state social insurance on a compulsory basis. Persons who are not insured by the compulsory state social insurance may insure themselves by the pension social insurance and social insurance for sickness and maternity benefits on voluntary basis. They are insured by making individual agreements with the territorial offices of the State Social Insurance Fund Board and paying defined social insurance contributions.

Other occupational safety and health bodies

Prevention Institutions

The Public Health Centres (Visuomenės sveikatos centrai) [18] under the Ministry of Health [19] has been established seeking to ensure public health safety and to protect rights of the health service consumers by implementing the state health policy. The main tasks of the Public Health Centres are to implement national public health safety control and to ensure safety of the environment according to the law requirements.

The Occupational Health Centre (Profesinės sveikatos centras) [53], previously called Occupational Medicine Centre (established in 1992 at the Institute of Hygiene), is a national institution, responsible for research, training, expertise, consultation and information in the field of occupational health in Lithuania.

The State Energy Inspectorate (Valstybinė energetikos inspekcija) [54] under the Ministry of Energy (Energetikos ministerija) [55] was established to control the energy sector seeking to ensure reliability, efficiency and safety of energy sources, energy production, supply and use, to manage public resources and the reserve energy supplies.

The State Non Food Products Inspectorate (Valstybinė ne maisto produktų inspekcija) [56] under the Ministry of Economy (Ūkio ministerija) [34] was established in 2000 after the reorganization of the the Lithuanian State Quality Inspectorate, the State Hygiene Inspectorate and the State Veterinary Service. The main objectives of the Inspectorate are to protect the national market from dangerous and low quality non food products (articles and services) and to ensure an effective market surveillance of non food products in compliance with the European Union law. From 2016 functions of the State Non Food Products Inspectorate are assigned to the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority.

The State Fire and Rescue Service (Valstybinė priešgaisrinė gelbėjimo tarnyba) [57] is made up of the following bodies: the Fire and Rescue Department (Priešgaisrinės apsaugos ir gelbėjimo departamentas) [58] under the Ministry of the Interior and its 17 subordinate services, the Specialized Fire and Rescue Service, the Firefighters Training School, the Fire Research Centre and the Emergency Response Centre. The Fire and Rescue Department under the Ministry of the Interior is responsible for the protection of people, property and environment in emergency cases. In addition, it is in charge of fire and emergency prevention.

The Radiation Protection Centre (Radiacinės saugos centras) [59] is an institution which co-ordinates the activities of executive and other bodies of public administration and local government in the field of radiation protection. It also exercises the state supervision and control of radiation protection, monitoring and expert examination of public exposure. The Radiation Protection Centre was established in 1997.

The State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate (Valstybinės teritorijų planavimo ir statybos inspekcija) [60] under the Ministry of Environment (Aplinkos ministerija) [61] was established to take part in developing the state policy on territorial planning and the state supervision of construction and use of structures as well as to control and coordinate the implementation of this policy.

The Environmental Protection Agency (Aplinkos apsaugos agentūra) [62] was established in 2003. The main objectives of the Agency are to ensure monitoring, evaluation, forecasting of and providing information on the environmental quality and the use of nature resources, the implementation of the policy of control of chemical substances and preparations. The Agency introduces the integrated pollution prevention and control system, organizes and performs chemical, biological and radiological investigations of the environment and pollution sources, coordinates applied and other scientific environmental research, programs and projects, investigates potential environmental pollution from existing or newly established technologies, organizes and coordinates preparation of publications on the state of the environment.

The Laboratory of Safety of Technologies was established at the Aleksandras Stulginskis University (Aleksandro Stulginskio universitetas) [63]. Fields of its activity are: occupational risk assessment and consultations on its management, design of new working places, consultations on risk assessment of new machinery and CE marking, measurement and consultations on assessment and control of risk factors in the work environment and machinery.

The State Road Transport Inspectorate (Valstybinė kelių transporto inspekcija) [64] under the Ministry of Transport and Communications [65]. Its main objectives are to ensure proper conditions for road transport activity and safety on roads. The Inspectorate officers supervise carriage of goods and passengers by the road transport, centres of the state technical inspection, driving schools and agencies which provide training on carrying dangerous goods. They also check how the drivers follow the driving and rest regime, control technical condition of vehicles including vehicles carrying dangerous goods and over-dimensioned and heavy goods vehicles.

The State Railway Inspectorate (Valstybinė geležinkelio inspekcija) [66] under the Ministry of Transport and Communications [65] has to ensure safety of the railway transport and railway traffic.


Professional associations

The Association of Employers of OSH Specialists (Darbo saugos specialistų darbdavių asociacija) is a professional association of Lithuanian companies providing OSH services [67].

The Lithuanian Union of Hygienists and Epidemiologists (Lietuvos higienistų ir epidemiologų sąjunga) brings together Lithuania hygienists and epidemiologists. The main objectives of the Union are analysis and popularization of research and practical activities in the hygiene, epidemiology and public health care areas, training, raising qualification, re-qualification, licensing and certification of doctors-hygienists, epidemiologists and public health specialists [68].

The Lithuanian Public Health Association (Lietuvos visuomenės sveikatos asociacija) is Public entity that brings together civil society organizations, persons, academic institutions and other institutions working in the public health area [69].

Education, training and awareness raising

Training and certification of particular persons in OSH is required by the Law on Safety and Health at Work [1] and is regulated by the General Regulations of Training and Testing of Knowledge in Safety and Health at Work [70] approved by the Minister of Social Security and Labour and the Minister of Health. Depending on the category of specialists or workers the OSH training may be accomplished at their enterprises, workplaces, seminars, educational institutions or persons may prepare for the certification by themselves. #[Link to RO-11-06-6 “Training/OSH training”]#

All formal OSH training programmes should be evaluated by the State Labour Inspectorate [20], then approved by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour [36] and legalised by the Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Development Centre (Kvalifikacijų ir profesinio mokymo plėtros centras) [71]. The legalised programmes are placed oh the Centre’s website.

Training in accordance to the formal programmes is provided by the higher education institutions and other educational establishments possessing licenses allowing to train pursuant to such programmes. The licenses are issued by the Ministry of Education and Science (Švietimo ir mokslo ministerija) [72].

Information on the training programmes and institutions that are providing training in accordance to these programmes is presented on the website of the Open Information, Counseling and Guidance System AIKOS (Atvira informavimo, konsultavimo ir orientavimo sistema) [73].

Legally required training for OSH specialists

OSH specialists for particular sectors of economic activity should be trained according to the special formal training programmes developed for these sectors of economic activity. Theoretical and practical training is provided by the higher education institutions and other educational establishments possessing the appropriate licenses. A trainee has also to perform an allocated practical task at his/her enterprise or enterprise designated by the educational institution. When the training course is completed knowledge and abilities of the trained persons are verified during the certification at the educational institution using special tests operated by the State Labour Inspectorate.

Persons authorised by the employer to perform functions of the OSH services should be trained according to the same programmes like OSH specialists but an allocated practical task should be performed at his/her enterprise. Employers and employer’s representatives performing functions of the OSH services themselves should be trained according to the Training programme for an enterprise manager performing functions of the OSH service or may prepare for the certification by themselves. Knowledge and abilities of persons of both groups are verified same as for OSH specialists. [70]

Other OSH training

Employers, employer's representatives and persons authorised by the employer other than those performing functions of the OSH services should train at the educational institutions according to the training programme developed for an employer and employer's representative or may prepare for the testing knowledge in OSH by themselves. Testing is accomplished at the educational institutions [74]. List of sectors of economic activity where employers are not required to pass the testing knowledge in OSH is approved by the Government.

Coordinators for safety and health matters are specialists which should be appointed by the builder in the case when more than one contractor participates in the designing of construction works or in the construction. The coordinator must ensure that occupational safety and health requirements are considered when designing construction works and implemented in the course of construction [75]. Such coordinators should be trained by the higher education institutions according to the special study programmes [1]. The procedure for training and evaluating the knowledge of the coordinators is approved by the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Social Security and Labour.

Workers operating potentially dangerous equipment, masters of control of the potentially dangerous equipment and supervisors of work with the potentially dangerous equipment should have an appropriate qualification. They should be trained at the educational institutions according to the special training programmes and pass the examination of testing special knowledge. Before passing the examination the said masters and supervisors have to perform an allocated practical task at his/her enterprise or enterprise designated by the educational institution. They also are allowed to prepare for the testing knowledge by themselves [70].

Workers involved in the production processes or using, maintaining and repairing equipment (e.g. powered or other equipment which may create danger for workers safety and health, environment or property, however which is not included in the list of the potentially dangerous equipment, or equipment used at height) and workers performing dangerous works before starting work should be trained at their enterprises, workplaces, seminars or educational institutions. Order of the training and testing knowledge in OSH is determined by an employer's representative. Programme of training at an educational institution is developed by the institution and agreed with an employer or an employer's representative [70].

Newly appointed or elected members of the OSH committees should be trained at educational institutions. Later they may be trained at their enterprises, seminars or educational institutions. Persons authorised by the employer for OSH and workers’ representatives with specific responsibility for OSH before starting work or after changes in work organisation should be trained at their enterprises, seminars or educational institutions. Order of the training and testing knowledge in OSH is determined by an employer's representative. Programmes of training at an educational institution are developed by the institution and agreed with an employer or an employer's representative [70].

Awareness raising networks

Lithuanian Focal Point of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work [76] coordinates the Lithuanian information network on occupational safety and health which comprises the organisations of employees and employers, scientific and public institutions and bodies implementing national policy in the area of occupational safety and health. Website the State Labour Inspectorate [20] provides a digital platform for all OSH related information free available for all companies, organizations and persons.

Specialized technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

Occupational Health Centre (Profesinės sveikatos centras) of the Institute of Hygiene (Higienos institutas) [53]. Research activities of the Centre are aimed at: investigation and evaluation of the impact of working environment factors on workers’ health and functional capacity; investigation and evaluation of the preventive effectiveness of the occupational health (care); development and testing of innovative interventions on occupational health (care) in practice.

Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Safety (Žemės ūkio inžinerijos ir saugos institutas) of the Aleksandras Stulginskis University (Aleksandro Stulginskio universitetas (ASU)) [77]. The ASU is an institution of higher education and research in the fields of biomedicine, technologies and social sciences. It is the only state institution of higher education and science in Lithuania, where highly qualified specialists of agriculture, forestry and water husbandry are trained. The ASU has 5 faculties: Agronomy, Economics and Management, Forest Sciences and Ecology, Water and Land Management and Agricultural Engineering. The University has a developed infrastructure for research and studies: Experimental station, Park of Science and Technologies, Field laboratories and other divisions for supply of research and studies. The Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Safety takes part in education and training students in the OSH area, research in the OSH area, preparation of the OSH regulations and standards, international OSH projects, etc. There is Laboratory of Safety of Technologies in the Institute. Research fields: investigation and improvement of the system “Human-Machine-Environment", noise and vibration in the working environment, lighting in the working places and machinery.

Department of Ergonomics (Ergonomikos katedra) of the Kaunas University of Technology (Kauno technologijos universitetas (KTU)) [78]. The KTU is the largest technical university in the Baltic States. The KTU often becomes a research and study leader in various fields. There are 14 different departments within the KTU: Chemical technology, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Design and technologies, Electrical and Control Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics, Telecommunications and Electronics and etc. The Department of Ergonomics takes part in education and training of students in OSH area, research in OSH area, preparation of OSH regulations, etc. There is Laboratory of Ergonomics in this department.

Department of Labour Safety and Fire Protection (Darbo ir gaisrinės saugos katedra) of the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilniaus Gedimino technikos universitetas (VGTU)) [79]. The VGTU is a one of the largest state higher academic school, which strives for leading position among Baltic countries in technical and engineering education as well as the field of scientific research. The Department of Labour Safety and Fire Protection takes part in education and training of students in OSH area, research in OSH and fire safety area, preparation of OSH and fire safety regulations, etc.

Department of Environment and Occupational Medicine (Aplinkos ir darbo medicinos katedra) of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (Lietuvos sveikatos mokslų universitetas (LSMU)) [80]. The LSMU is the largest institution of medical education and training in Lithuania. Medical Academy of the LSMU has five faculties: Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, Odontology and Medicine. Kaunas Clinics (the LSMU’s hospital) is the largest medical institution in Lithuania and one of the largest university hospitals in the Baltic countries. It is also used for teaching students and research purposes. The Department of Environment and Occupational Medicine takes part in education and training of students in OSH area, research in OSH area, preparation of OSH regulations, etc.

Public Health Institute (Visuomenės sveikatos institutas) of the Vilnius University (Vilniaus universitetas (VU)) [81]. The VU is the oldest and largest Lithuanian higher education institution. Since its establishment in the 16th century, Vilnius University, as integral part of European science and culture has embodied the concept of a classical university and the unity of studies and research. There are 14 faculties (institutes) within the VU: Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Law and etc. The Public Health Institute is one of two institutes of the Medical Faculty. The Institute takes part in education and training of students in OSH area, research in OSH area, preparation of OSH regulations, etc.

Institute of Labour and Social Research (Darbo ir socialinių tyrimų institutas) [82] was founded in 1991 by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour [36] and since 2009 it is a division of the Lithuanian Social Research Centre (LSRC) [83]. The LSRC is a state research institute established to carry out fundamental and applied social research significant to the society in order to help its clients in government and public or private sector to make better, research-based decisions. Currently the LSRC has another 4 divisions: Institute of Sociology, Institute of Human Geography and Demography, Institute of Ethnic Studies and Institute for Social Welfare Research. The Institute of Labour and Social Research carries out research on the issues of labour and industrial relations, labour market, development of human resources, labour market vocational training and occupational activities, safety and health at work, social insurance and other social issues, develops recommendations on these issues for social policy formation and implementation.

Standardization agencies

The Lithuanian standards board (Lietuvos standartizacijos departamentas (LSD)) [84] was established in 1990. Lithuanian Standards Board is the budgetary institution of public administration functioning as National Standards Body (NSB) and within its competence taking part in establishing and implementing the policy of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania within the standardization field and taking active part in the activities of international and European standardization organizations by representing interests of Lithuanian economy.

LST develops and improves national standardization system, sets up technical committees for the preparation of Lithuanian standards and other publications as well as coordinates their preparation, establishes procedures for the adoption of international, European and foreign standards as Lithuanian standards, adopts, publishes and distributes Lithuanian standards and other publications applied on a voluntary basis, seeks that copyright of International and European standards is not infringed in Lithuania, provides information on standards, technical regulations and legal acts on conformity assessment procedures valid in Lithuania and their drafts.

LST implements Lithuanian standards program, participates in implementation of European Union directives. Activities of technical committees are based on the consensus principle, i.e. interested parties (producers, consumers and representatives of state, scientific and public organizations) make decisions by consensus. Standardization Council deals with strategical and inter-branch standardization matters. Technical committees assist in the implementation of Lithuanian standards program through the preparation of Lithuanian standards and other publications.

Institutions and organizations

Main OSH institutions and organisations in Lithuania:

Key actors in the Lithuanian OSH dialogue
Ministry of Social Security and Labour [36]
Ministry of Health [19]
Occupational Safety and Health Commission [40]

Key social partners in the OSH field
Government of the Republic of Lithuania [27]
Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation [28]
Lithuanian Trade Union “Solidarumas” [29]
Lithuanian Labour Federation [30]
Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists [31]
Lithuanian Business Employers’ Confederation [32]

Federal OSH authorities and inspection services
State Labour Inspectorate [20]

Professional organisation of OSH services
Association of Employers of OSH Specialists [67]

Key compensation and insurance bodies
Council of the State Social Insurance Fund [38]
Lithuanian Labour Exchange [39]
State Patient Fund [19]

Key prevention institutes
State Labour Inspectorate [20]
Public Health Centres [18]
Occupational Health Centre [53]
State Energy Inspectorate [54]
State Non Food Products Inspectorate [56]
State Fire and Rescue Service [57]
Radiation Protection Centre [59]
State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate [60]
State Road Transport Inspectorate [64]
State Railway Inspectorate [66]

Key professional associations
Lithuanian Union of Hygienists and Epidemiologists [68]
Lithuanian Public Health Association [69]

Key research institutes
Occupational Health Centre [53]
Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Safety of the Aleksandras Stulginskis University [77]
Department of Ergonomics of the Kaunas University of Technology [78]
Department of Labour Safety and Fire Protection of the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University [79]
Department of Environment and Occupational Medicine of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences [80]
Public Health Institute of the Vilnius University [81]
Institute of Labour and Social Research [82]

Key standardization body
Lithuanian Standards Board [84]

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Links for further reading

EUROFOUND – European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Capacity building for social dialogue in Lithuania, Dublin, 2006, p. 16. Available at: http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/publications/htmlfiles/ef06515.htm

Stankiuviene, A., Sukys, R., Cyras, P. ‘Analysis of occupational safety and health at work after becoming Lithuania member of European Union’, The 9th international conference ‘Modern building materials, structures and techniques’: selected papers, Vol. 3, Vilnius, May 16-18, 2007, pp. 1214-1220

EC-ESAI – European Commission – Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, National Strategy Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008–2010 – Lithuania, 2008, p. 78. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/social/keyDocuments.jsp?pager.offset=10&langId=en&mode=advancedSubmit&policyArea=0&subCategory=0&year=0&country=0&type=3&advSearchKey=nsr

SL – Statistics Lithuania, Social Protection in Lithuania, Vilnius, 2009, p. 64. Available at: http://www.stat.gov.lt/en/catalog/viewfree/?id=1899&PHPSESSID=d1d8045cdc2bca477527b96aca4bc10c