OSH system at national level - Slovakia

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Ferenc Kudász, Hungarian Labour Office; Jana Gibódová, Národný inšpektorát práce

Occupational safety and health legislative framework

The Constitutional Act lays down that employees shall have the right to fair and satisfactory conditions of work, including the protection of safety and health at work.[1]

The Labour Code has a dedicated part delineating the basics of the occupational safety and health system.[2] The Slovakian legislation on occupational health and safety 124/2006 Coll. ("Act on OSH")[3] implements the European Framework Council Directive 89/391/EEC[4]. The Act applies to every employer and to entrepreneurs. The emphasis is on prevention, starting with safe design, and a hierarchy of prevention measures. Due to the traditional distinction between workplace safety and health at work, protection of health is regulated in chapter three of the separate Act No. 355/2007 Coll. ("Act on Public Health").[5]

Other OSH-directives are implemented in the form of government regulations. Empowering provisions are made by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic (Ministerstvo práce, sociálnych vecí a rodiny Slovenskej republiky – MPSVR SR) on one hand and the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic (Ministerstvo zdravotníctva Slovenskej republiky) on the other.

The employer has to elaborate on a concept (strategy) of occupational safety and health. Every employer is obliged to have preventive and protective services in order to organise and execute professional tasks in the field of safety and health at work. The services participate in the fulfilment of the occupational safety and health duties of the employer. If the employer lacks sufficient professional employees, the execution of preventive and protective services shall be contracted to authorised external professionals. The Safety Technical Service and the Occupational Health Service must co-operate.[6]

Main legislative acts:

Act No. 124/2006 Coll. on Occupational Safety and Health Protection [7]
Act No. 355/2007 Coll. on Protection, Support and Development of Public Health and on Amendments and Supplements to Certain Acts [8]
Act No. 311/2001 Coll. on Labour Code [9]

National strategy and programmes

The draft concept on Health and Safety at Work in the Slovak Republic from 2008 to 2012 was based on the Policy Statement of the Government of the Slovak Republic, the European social and legal culture, respecting conventions of the International Labour Organization, the European Social Charter, the laws of the European Union and the strategy of the European Commission "Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work". The proposed measures were discussed at the Coordination Committee for Health and Safety at Work with the participation of experts from state bodies, social partners and educational and research institutions. The primary objective of the OSH concept in the period of 2008–2012 was to gradually decrease the number of occupational accidents in the Slovak Republic per 100 employees by 25% in comparison to the ratio in 2006. There was a strong emphasis on the support of employers (especially small and middle-sized enterprises, high-risk sectors) and self-employed natural persons in the conscientious application of legal and other OSH regulations. The main focus of the policy was on vulnerable groups (such as young, temporary, unskilled, ageing, migrant, and pregnant workers). The concept priorities of the period 2008-2012 were[10]:

  • Priority 1: Implementing Prevention – Enforcing of the prevention culture
  • Priority 2: Quality Counselling – Development of OSH Counselling
  • Priority 3: Enhancement of Information and Promotion
  • Priority 4: Upbringing and Education Development
  • Priority 5: Effective Co-operation (social partners, international co-operation)
  • Priority 6: Effective Operation of Institutions in the Field of OSH
  • Priority 7: OSH Research Development and the Application of Its Outcomes
  • Priority 8: Corresponding Legislation

The main goal of the following OSHP strategy 'Stratégia bezpečnosti a ochrany zdravia pri práci v Slovenskej republike do roku 2020 a program jejrealizácie naroky 2013 až 2015 s výhľadom do roku 2020'[11]was the reduction of occupational accidents, particularly fatal occupational accidents and accidents with lifelong consequences, as well as the elimination of the causes to occupational diseases, the improvement of prevention and the strengthening labour culture and all in comparison with the status achieved in 2012.

The current OSHP Strategy (Stratégia bezpečnosti a ochrany zdravia pri práci v Slovenskej republike na roky 2016 až 2020 a program jej realizácie[12] - Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (OSH) in the Slovak Republic for the period 2016 – 2020 and the Programme of its Implementation) defines basic goals and priorities and establishes principal tasks in the area of occupational safety and health protection in the Slovak Republic for the period until 2020. The OSHP Strategy was prepared in relation to the Community strategy 2014-2020. The main goals of the OSHP Strategy include a support for long-term sustainable decent work conditions, the maintenance of the low number of occupational accidents achieved in 2012, especially fatal occupational accidents and accidents with lifelong consequences,as well as the elimination of occupational health risks and hazards, the improvement of prevention and strengthening the labour culture.

The OSHP Strategy aimed at promoting:

  • Application of a sufficient level of protection for all employees in all areas of the economy;
  • Ensuring of the continuous improvement of employees’ health;
  • Taking into consideration the gender aspect in OSHP-related issues;
  • Taking into consideration the changes on the labour market arising from demographic developments, the aging of the productive population and technological development.

The OSHP Strategy involves five priorities (details of the activity plan are shown in table 1):

  • Priority 1: Improving the publicity, promotion and culture of prevention in the area of OSHP
  • Priority 2: Improving the personal and material conditions for quality and effective operations of labour inspection bodies and other supervision bodies in the area of OSHP
  • Priority 3: Improving the quality of activities of specialized subjects eligible to perform activities in the area of OSHP
  • Priority 4: Applying a system approach to OSHP-related issues
  • Priority 5: The Focus of attention on sectors with a high number of occupational accidents and diseases

Table 1: Details of the OSHP activity plan

Priority Activity
Priority 1: Improving the publicity, promotion and culture of prevention in the area of OSHP Care for OSHP by employers is regarded as ‘frequently minimal and formal’. The objective is the enhancement of the awareness of the experts and lay public regarding OSHP, as part of the efforts to strengthen the prevention culture. Improving OSHP publicity and promotion, not only through the bodies of labour inspection and supervision over the OSHP, but particularly through professional preventative services, employ¬ers’ representatives and professional employee associations and the academic community, research, and the media and inside the employer through senior staff.
Priority 2: Improving the personal and material conditions for quality and effective operations of labour inspection bodies and other supervision bodies in the area of OSHP Pursuant to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Senior Labour Inspectors Committee (SLIC), conditions must be improved to promote effectively legal and other requirements for ensuring healthy and safe conditions at workplaces. That requires a sufficient quantity and quality of labour inspectors and other employees of bodies supervising OSHP. Language skills, English in particular, are also necessary.

The performance of labour inspections and state supervision over OSHP must be intensified and its quality must be improved to the level of standards achieved in the EU Member States. The effective use of existing financial, technical and personnel resources of the state inspection bodies and supervisory organs should be achieved by better coordination and the gradual creation of conditions for the suitable institutional integration of present inspection and supervisory organs.

Priority 3: Improving the quality of activities of specialized subjects eligible to perform activities in the area of OSH According to legal requirements, small and medium-sized organizations which do not have their own experts in the area of OSHP are obliged to fulfil certain obligations in the area of OSHP; these tasks are frequently ensured through outsourced/supply companies which are authorized to perform activities related to preventative and protective services (safety technical service, occupational health service).

As a result, labour inspectorates and public health authorities must intensively verify the quality of services and carry out controls in these companies focused on the professional qualifications of their employees and the quality and professional standards of their methods.

Priority 4: Applying a system approach to OSHP-related issues Fulfilling the obligations in the area of OSHP is often insufficient, especially among small and medium-size employers and the level of legal awareness is low. It has been demonstrated that the application of a system approach to OSHP and its verification by an independent third party will increase the level of OSHP among individual subjects. In addition to the OSHP management system pursuant to the OHSAS 18 001 standard, the level of protection of employees in organizations in Slovakia can be verified through the Safe Enterprise project implemented by the National Labour Inspectorate.
Priority 5: The Focus of attention on sectors with a high number of occupational accidents and diseases Prevention, monitoring, punitive and repressive activities of the labour inspection and other state OSH institutions will focus on sectors and jobs with a higher incidence of health damage.

Social dialogue

Occupational safety and health is dealt in tripartite forums. The National Programme (OSH Concept) is discussed with the involvement of the social partners, and the National OSH Network provides the fundamentals of national dialogue. Regional level plays an important role in the system: there are regional bilateral contractual agreements of social partners, and agreements between the labour inspectorates and the trade unions.

The 2002 new labour legislation introduced important changes in collective bargaining. Social partners in the private sector can negotiate in collective bargaining on any issue on which they agree. However, the scope of collective bargaining in the public sector is limited to issues specified by the Act on civil service[13] and the Act on public service[14].

According to the labour inspection reports the communication and co-operation of employers with their employees in the OSH area is insufficient in small enterprises: in many cases no representatives of employees for OSH have been nominated and the cooperation between the employers and the employees was weak. It was attributed to the lack of interest on the employees’ side as well as fear of loosing their jobs. Social partners report that social dialogue is the most fruitful in companies that already have a long tradition of it.[15]

Social dialogue at national level

Social dialogue has been a permanent process since its start in 1990 until today. It is based on the Tripartite Act.[16] The OSH Coordination Committee (Koordinačný výbor pre bezpečnosť a ochranu zdravia pri práci) was established with the purpose to coordinate state bodies’ activities in the field of OSH. Members of the Committee include the National Labour Inspectorate, several ministries (Ministry of Interior, Corps of Prison and Court Guards, Ministry of Defence, Railway Police, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Ministry of Economy – Supreme Mining Authority) representatives of social partners , as well as educational and research institutions.

The National Labour Inspectorate has concluded an agreement on mutual understanding with the Confederation of Trade Unions of the Slovak Republic.

The consultative bodies that play a key role in the social dialogue on OSH related aspects are:
For a long period of time, the Council of Economic and Social Agreement (Rada hospodárskej a sociálnej dohody – RHSD) has been the forum for the national tripartite social dialogue. In 2004, this body was renamed the Economic and Social Partnership Council (Rada hospodárskeho a sociálneho partnerstva – RHSP). Since 2007[17], it has operated as the Economic and Social Council of the Slovak Republic (Hospodárska a sociálna rada – HSR).[18] The Council is a consulting and reconciliatory body of the Government and of the social partners at the national level. It is located in the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family. Each side delegates seven members to the body, which reconciliates standpoints to proposals of generally binding legal regulations applying to - among others – working conditions.

The social partners include:
The Confederation of Trade Unions of the Slovak Republic (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky – KOZ SR).[19] KOZ SR is a voluntary association of trade unions. It particularly seeks the strengthening of health and safety at work. The Confederation has several professional trade union labour inspectors. Some regional inspectors also provide consultancy services, helping the negotiators also in the area of OSH during the collective bargaining on sectoral and enterprise level.[20]

The Federation of Employers' Associations of the Slovak Republic (Asociácia zamestnávateľských zväzov a združení Slovenskej republiky – AZZZ) [21] The mission of the Federation is to ensure appropriate conditions for dynamic business development in the Slovak Republic and to protect and represent employers’, businesses’ and trades’ common interests.

The National Union of Employers (Republiková únia zamestnávateľov – RÚZ) [22] RÚZ co-operates with state authorities and bodies of regional governments, with representative associations of labour unions, commercial and industry chambers, as well as with other organisations representing local and foreign entrepreneurs and employers.

The Association of Towns and Communities of Slovakia (Združenie miest a obcí Slovenska – ZMOS) [23] The Association mainly defends the common interests and rights of the member municipalities.

Social dialogue at sectoral level

Social dialogue about working conditions takes place on sectoral as well as local enterprise level where it has more factual and detailed outcomes. On the sectoral level it takes place in the form of collective bargaining and in some sectors also through sectoral tripartite/bipartite consultations. In the transport, post and telecommunications sectors effective sectoral tripartite social dialogue takes place.[24] Although it is not common, in some sectors (e.g. chemical companies) social dialogue has a strong focus on occupational safety and health issues.[25]

Social dialogue at enterprise level

The Labour Code emphasizes that the employer, employees or employees’ representatives for occupational health and safety and trade union organisations shall jointly co-operate in the planning and execution of measures in the area of labour protection.[26] However, it is the OSH Act that specifies that the employee safety representatives (Zástupca zamestnancov pre bezpečnosť) are appointed by the employer, based on the recommendation of the competent trade union body or employee council, or in the lack of the aforementioned bodies, elected by the employees. Its specific supervisory and advisory rights are laid down in the OSH Act. One representative can represent a maximum of 50 employees in specified “risk sector” companies, and a maximum of 100 employees in “non-risk sector” ones. If there is no employee safety representative appointed then the consultation is direct with the employees. In a company with more than 100 employees, a ‘’’commission for safety and health protection at work’’’ (Komisia bezpečnosti a ochrany zdravia pri práci) must be established as an advisory body to the employer. It meets at least once a year, consists of employee safety representatives (more than half) and the employer’s representatives, mainly professionals.[27]

Representatives of the trade unions are also entitled to information from the employer, to control proper implementation of labour legislation in practice and to propose measures to improve working conditions. Only the trade unions are entitled to collective bargaining, which is considered the most effective form of social dialogue.[28]

OSH infrastructure

OSH infrastructure scheme

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

Source: overview by the authors

National competent bodies

OSH authorities and Inspection services

Jurisdiction
Traditionally, occupational safety and occupational health are distinct features in Slovakia. The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic[29] is responsible for occupational safety and labour inspection. Occupational health and hygiene are within the competence of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic[30]. Therefore there are separate executive agencies of the ministries, which closely co-operate on national and regional levels in the field of OSH. Both authorities can impose sanctions on employers in case of relevant shortcomings.

National Labour Inspectorate (Národný inšpektorát práce – NIP) [31]
Labour inspection is regulated by Act No. 125/2006 Coll.[32] The National Labour Inspectorate, is a state administration body with its own budget with a seat in Košice. The National Labour Inspectorate manages and controls the eight labour inspectorates in the regions and unifies and rationalises working methods of the labour inspectors, who are civil servants. A labour inspectorate is independent at the performance of labour inspection. Inspections aim at adherence to legal provisions in several fields of OSH: safety at work, safety of technical equipment, working environment agents, nuclear equipment, major industrial accidents, chemicals, and market surveillance of certain products. Recently the provision of free consultations to employers has been rising. It is the National Labour Inspectorate that issues and revokes authorisation to perform safety technical services and OSH training and education. The tasks of authorisation for verification of meeting the requirements for safety of technical equipment and certification to authorised safety technicians are also legally assigned to NIP.

State defence, police and armed forces have their own labour inspection bodies. There is also a system of trade union control for the supervision of the employees´ health protection, which is independent from labour inspection.[33] This right of unions to carry out inspection is stipulated in the Labour Law. The activities of these inspectors are paid for by the state.[34]

Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic (Úrad verejného zdravotníctva Slovenskej republiky – UVZSR) [35]
State supervision in the field of public health is determined by the Act No. 355/2007 Coll.[36] The Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic, which is a budgetary organisation of the state with a registered office in Bratislava, is the supreme office for the regional public health authorities. It manages, controls and coordinates the execution of state administration carried out by regional public health offices. State administration in the sector of health on regional level is ensured by 36 regional public health authorities, 8 of which are in county towns, ensure professional and methodical directing of the others. Public health authorities supervise employers’ adherence to legislation and fulfilment of measures directed for prevention of occupational diseases. They also supervise the performance of occupational health services, and carry out specialized tasks focused on monitoring of health status of employees in relation with working conditions. The public health authorities provide counselling for employers on the implementation of pertinent legal requirements.
Several ministries (e.g. Defence, Interior, Transport) have their own public health authorities.

Besides these authorities there are also other specialised authorities dealing with certain aspects of OSH in specific areas:

  • Supreme Mining Authority of the Slovak Republic (Hlavný banský úrad) [37]
  • Department of Safety and Inspection at the Directorate-General of the Railways of the Slovak
  • Republic and State Special Technical Supervision (Odbor bezpečnosti a inšpekcie - Železnice Slovenskej republiky a Štátny odborný technický dozor)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Authority (Úrad jadrového dozoru Slovenskej republiky – ÚJD SR) [38]

OSH services

OSH services

It is the responsibility of the employer to provide safe and healthy working conditions for the employees; all the costs thereof are borne by the employer. A strategy for occupational safety and health has to be elaborated, except for companies with 10 employees or less. If the activity and risks are higher then this obligation applies to companies with less than 10 employees too. The employer must provide for a safety technical service and occupational health service that meets the requirements as set out in the Act on OSH either by employing experts (internal service) and/or by contracting (partially/completely external service). The experts/services must have appropriate certificates issued by the National Labour Inspectorate or the Public Health Authority. The minimum number of experts depends on the size of the organisation, the number of employees, the working conditions and risks. The safety technical and occupational health services must co-operate.

The Act on OSH makes a distinction in certain sectors that are listed in its Annex 1. There are stricter provisions for these “risk” sectors.[39] From an occupational health point of view jobs are categorised into four groups, according to the risk level they are associated with. The details are set in the Decree of the Slovak Republic Ministry of Health No. 448/2007 Coll., on particulars of factors of work and working environment in relation to categorisation of work in terms of health risks and on requirements for the proposal on the categorisation of work. Category 1 is for workers that are not exposed to any relevant health risk during their work. Those workers whose exposure cannot be harmful to their health (e.g. exposure under limit values defined in regulations) are put into Category 2. Category 3 and 4 are classified hazardous, which is determined by the regional public health authority upon the proposal of the employer or on its own initiative. In jobs falling within Category 3 the technical prevention cannot satisfactorily eliminate the risk: the combination of exposures may result in health damage, there is no limit value set or the exposure of the worker to varying radiation levels requires technical plus individual prevention (e.g. welders and most jobs in manufacturing). Category 4 are either professions in which the criteria for risk 3 are met and where there are additional working environment risks (mostly cold, vibrations, humidity, dust, noise, UV radiation, etc.) that demonstrably participate in the change of health condition, or they are works where workers are exposed to higher values than in category 3 (e.g. underground ore mining with exposure to noise, vibrations, dust). Exposure that results the worker to be classified into Category 4 can only be exceptional and must not last longer than one year.[40]

Safety Technical Service (Bezpečnostnotechnická služba)
Article 22 of the Act on OSH[41] states that the safety technical service provides advisory services to the employer in the field of professional, methodological, organisational, controlling, coordination and educational tasks and other duties connected to the assurance of safety and health protection at work. The service, which can be internal or external, checks the adequacy of the working premises, work processes, equipment and the technical, organisational and personal provisions thereof. The service informs and counsels the employer, and the managing personnel and train employees on occupational safety and health with an aim to optimise working conditions. In case of direct threat to life the service is empowered to instruct employees to take the necessary steps.

The tasks of the safety technical service may be executed by safety technicians, authorised safety engineers and, if necessary, by other OSH experts. In the case that the employer trades in a “risk” sector, an authorised safety engineer is obligatory. The minimum number of safety specialists for a given workforce is set in Annex 1a of the Act on OSH[42].

In certain cases (less than five employees in “risk” sectors or less than 19 employees from “non-risk” sectors) the employer itself can execute the tasks of the safety technical service but only by having acquired a specified qualification in OSH. The Inspectorate runs a public database of those who are registered to provide safety technical service.[43]

Occupational Health Service (Pracovná zdravotná služba)
Provision of occupational health service is obligatory only for workers in category 3 and 4.[44] However, specific regulations may require fitness-for-job examination of workers in category 1 and 2 as well (e.g. in case of nightshift work, driving, railway-, security services, work with visual display units, etc.).[45]

The Occupational Health Service provides professional counselling services and surveillance for the employers in the field of occupational health according to article 26 of the Act on OSH[46]. The service:

  • detects dangers and evaluates health risks
  • evaluates working environment factors and conditions
  • supports the adaptation of work to employees
  • provides consultancy to employers and employees in occupational health related issues.
  • participates in the elaboration of the company OSH programme, return to work measures, analysis of work-health relationships
  • trains employees in first-aid
  • co-operates in informing, training and educating employees in health related work issues
  • carries out preventive medical examinations.

The tasks of the Occupational Health Service can be executed only by a qualified professional healthcare team.[47] The decree of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic clearly defines the requirements that occupational health services must fulfil in terms of qualification of personnel (specialist physician, nurse, hygienist assistant, psychologist, etc.).[48]

The Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic runs a public database of those who are registered to provide occupational health service.[49]

Departments of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology of university hospitals (Kliniky pracovného lekárstva a toxikológie univerzitných nemocníc) The task of the departments of occupational medicine and toxicology of university hospitals is reassessment of medical fitness for work and is regulated by Act No. 355/2007 Coll. § 30g.[50]

Restricted technical equipment
The employer may only carry out professional inspections and professional tests and repairs of certain restricted technical equipment on the basis of authorisation issued by the National Labour Inspectorate. Specified technical equipment falling within the competence of labour inspection are:

  • pressure equipment
  • lifting equipment
  • electrical equipment
  • gas equipment[51]

Compensation and insurance bodies

Workplace International comparison of occupational accident insurance system – together with several other kinds of insurance – is incorporated in the social insurance system. Insurance of employer’s responsibility against accidents at work and occupational disease is paid within the accident insurance, which is mandatory for every employer (except the employer as a judge and prosecutor). There is no minimum qualifying period required. The employer’s accident insurance is valid from the day he/she employed at least one employee and expires on the day when no employee is engaged. Within the accident insurance a whole range of benefits is provided depending on the character of events, either repeatedly or as lump-sum payments. The categorisation of accident benefits is as follows: additional accidental benefit, accidental rent, lump-sum settlement, survivor’s rent, lump–sum compensation, professional rehabilitation and rehabilitation benefit, retraining and retraining benefit, pain compensation and compensation for difficulties with social reintegration, compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses reimbursement. The entitlement to accident benefits in the case of accident at work and occupational disease of the damaged person is in compliance with the legislation granted only in proportion to the employer´s responsibility: the benefit provided to the damaged employee is reduced by the rate of his/her evincible infliction. [52]

Social Insurance Agency (Sociálna poisťovňa)[53]
The statutory institution has a nationwide competency in the area of sickness insurance, pension insurance, accident insurance, unemployment insurance and guarantee insurance. The headquarters regulates, controls and methodologically guides the 37 branch offices. It is in charge of the pension insurance area and of two types of benefits from the accident insurance. The executive body branch offices are responsible for the collection and recovery of sickness, unemployment and guarantee contributions, benefits pay out, as well as for a direct contact with clients.

Other OSH bodies

Prevention Institutes

Institute of Occupational Safety (Inštitút bezpečnosti práce)[54]
The Institute provides services and trainings in occupational and fire safety for companies.

Professional associations

Slovak Association of Occupational Safety and Health and Fire Safety (Slovenská asociácia pre bezpečnosť a ochranu zdravia pri práci a ochranu pred požiarmi – Asociácia pre BOZP a OPP)[55]
The Association – besides promoting common interests and needs of its members – functions as an information network of OSH and fire safety professionals. Its web page aims to provide easy access to information. The Association fosters the issuance of codes of good practice, training materials for OSH and other supporting materials.

Slovak Occupational Medicine Society of Slovak Medical Association[56]

Slovak Medical Chamber – Section of Occupational Medicine[57] The Medical Society and the Chamber play role in the commenting process of legislation in the Slovak republic at the field of occupational health and safety. They are responsible for education and training of occupational physicians, public health workers and occupational nurses as well.


Education, training and awareness raising

Legally required training for OSH specialists

The Act on OSH clearly defines the certificates required from those involved in OSH: safety technician, safety engineer, occupational health service. The framework and the aims of training safety specialists and other players that must pay special attention to OSH are specified in the Decree of the Slovak Republic Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family No. 356/2007 Coll., on the requirements and the scope of educational and training activity, project of education and training, standard record keeping and knowledge verification of educational and training activity attendees.[58] Detailed information on the requirements and the licensing process of safety engineers can be obtained from the dedicated webpage of the National Labour Inspectorate. [59] The Regulation of the Slovak Republic Government No. 296/2010 Coll. on professional competence for health profession performance[60] applies to the training of professionals of occupational health. It specifies required refreshment trainings of healthcare workers, framework of specialised disciplines and of certified working activities.

Employee safety representative
The employer is obliged to provide education for the employee safety representative. The specific content thereof is not legally set[61].

Employer executing the tasks of the safety technical service by itself
This option is only for employers that are professionally qualified (pursuant to paragraph 7 of the Act on OSH) employing:

  • less than five employees, if its code, pursuant to the statistical classification of economic activities, is included in Annex No. 1,
  • less than 19 employees, if its code, pursuant to the statistical classification of economic activities, is not included in Annex No. 1 may execute tasks of the safety technical service by themselves.

These employers must participate in a training that lasts at least 16 hours.[62] These employers train their employees, evaluate risks, and propose measures to eliminate them.

Safety technician (Bezpečnostný technik)
Article 23 of the Act on OSH[63] defines who may be a safety technician. The training is based on completed secondary education. The safety technician’s certificate can be acquired after:

  • special training and successful completion of the required test at a licensed trainer, or
  • completing regular training in a secondary school or university with OSH curriculum approved by the National Labour Inspectorate.

Refresher training is required every five years.[64] The training of safety technicians is at least 176 hours, the refresher course takes 16 hours.[65]

Authorised safety engineer (Autorizovaný bezpečnostný technik)
A certificate of authorised safety engineer is issued by the National Labour Inspectorate on the basis of Article 24 of the Act on OSH[66]. There are two options to fulfil the requirements.

  1. Two years of professional experience following the date of issue of the safety technician certificate, and a successful exam.
  2. At least five years’ professional activity in the field of occupational safety and health protection.

A refresher training is required every five years.[67] Authorised safety engineers, unlike safety technicians, can even investigate serious occupational accidents, determine their causes and propose measures.

Higher education in occupational health
Following the completion of medical university physicians can specialise in several public health disciplines that enable them to provide occupational health service: occupational medicine, health services, clinical occupational medicine, clinical toxicology, preventive occupational medicine, toxicology, public health. There are university courses which specialise in public health (Mgr., Bc.)

Further education in occupational health
DAHE – assistants of hygiene and epidemiology with a diploma AHE – assistants of hygiene and epidemiology

Other vocational training

Training concerning the safety of the above mentioned “specified technical equipment” is detailed in group B of the Decree of No. 356/2007 Coll.[68]

Awareness raising networks

The National Labour Inspectorate hosts the Focal Point of the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work.[69] The Focal Point coordinates and manages the national occupational health and safety network.

Specialized technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

The Institute for Labour and Family Research (Inštitút pre výskum práce a rodiny – IVPR)[70] is a state allowance departmental research organisation. Their research is focused on:

  • management of occupational risk factors,
  • quality of working conditions and working environment,
  • psycho-social aspects of OSH,
  • socio-economic aspects of OSH,
  • systems of individual protection of employees.

IVPR participates in the coordination of publicly financed research of OSH (projects of the Slovak Research and Development Agency, the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs of the Slovak Republic). The Institute has created an agency of institutions that regularly provides information on their work and on OSH research they do.

The Coordinating Research Council for Safety and Health at Work in Slovakia (Koordinačná rada výskumu bezpečnosti a ochrany zdravia pri práci v Slovenskej Republike – KRVBOZP) was established in 2009 in order to create a platform for the consolidation and coordination of activities. KRVBOZP facilitates every phase and aspect of joint research activities.[71] Players (universities, private companies, etc.) in occupational safety and health research in Slovakia are listed in their regularly updated catalogue.[72]

Specialised research is mostly carried out at universities:
Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava - Faculty of Materials Science and Technology (Materiálovo-technologická fakulta Slovenskej technickej university – STU-MTF)[73]

  • determination of safety characteristics of substances
  • development of new methods for assessment of technological risks
  • assessment of dangerous substances in term of their environmental effect
  • measurement of working environment agents

Technical University of Košice - Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (Strojnícka fakulta Technickej univerzity v Košiciach – SJF-TUKE)[74]

  • safety of technical systems
  • management of technical equipment risk, risk simulation
  • OSH management, integrated management systems
  • risk of major industrial accidents, emergency planning
  • protection from noise effects
  • ergonomic aspects of occupational safety
  • transport of dangerous substances
  • safety in maintenance, new methods and approaches

University of Security Management of Košice (Vysoká škola bezpečnostného manažérstva v Košiciach – VŠBM)[75]

  • safety in industry – technical and technological safety
  • integrated management systems
  • environmental safety
  • effects of human factor on safety
  • safety and education

University of Žilina - Faculty of Special Engineering (Fakulta špeciálneho inžinierstva Žilinskej univerzity v Žiline – FŠI ŽU)[76]
Research areas:

  • analysis, risk assessment and design of preventive measures
  • safety of transportation of dangerous objects
  • integrated safety systems
  • new concepts of maintenance in machine engineering with technical diagnostics utilization
  • mathematical simulation of safety characteristics of management systems

VÚTCH-CHEMITEX (Výskumný ústav textilnej chémie – CHEMITEX)[77]

  • nanotechnologies and preparation of multifunctional materials for human protection
  • technologies and products for the production of intelligent textile fabrics

Commenius University – Medical Faculty in Bratislava and Jessenius Medical Faculty in Martin (Kliniky pracovného lekárstva a toxikológie Lekárskej fakulty Komneského univerzity v Bratislave a Jesseniovej lekárskej fakulty v Martine – UK-LF, UK-JLF) [78] [79] University of P. J. Šafárik – Faculty of Medicine (Klinika pracovného lekárstva a klinickej toxikológie Lekárskej fakulty Univerzity P. J. Šafárika v Košiciach – UPJŠ-LF) [80] Research areas:

  • new emerging risks and new occupational diseases
  • biological monitoring of exposed population
  • new diagnostic procedures of occupational diseases
  • differentiation of occupational diseases and work-related diseases


Standardisation bodies

The Slovak Standards Institute (Slovenský ústav technickej normalizácie – SÚTN)[81] has been established by the Slovak Office of Standards, Metrology and Testing (Úrad pre normalizáciu, metrológiu a skúšobníctvo Slovenskej republiky – ÚNMS SR[82]). SUTN is exclusively designated to development, approval and publishing of Slovak Standards, fulfilment of obligations following from international contracts and from the membership in international and European standards organisations.

Institutions and organisations

Table 2: Main OSH institutions and organisations in Slovakia
Key actors in the Slovakian OSH dialogue OSH Coordination Committee no webpage
HSR [83]
Key social partners in the Slovakian OSH field KOZ SR [84]
AZZZ [85]
RÚZ [86]
ZMOS [87]
OSH authorities and inspection services MPSVR SR [88]
MZ SR [89]
NIP [90]
UVZ SR [91]
Hlavný banský úrad [92]
ÚJD SR [93]
Professional organisation of OSH services n.a. n.a.
Compensation and insurance body Sociálna poisťovňa [94]
Key prevention institutes Inštitút bezpečnosti práce [95]
Key professional associations Asociácia pre BOZP a OPP [96]
Key research institutes IVPR [97]
STU-MTF [98]
SJF-TUKE [99]
VŠBM [100]
FŠI ŽU [101]
VÚTCH – CHEMITEX [102]
UK-LF [103]
UK-JLF [104]
UPJŠ-LF [105]
Key normalisation actor SÚTN [106]

Source: Overview by the authors

References

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  38. ÚJD SR: http://www.ujd.gov.sk
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  69. Slovakian Focal Point: http://osha.europa.eu/fop/slovakia/sk/index_html
  70. IVPR-BOZP: http://www.sspr.gov.sk/IVPR/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=33&Itemid=27&lang=sk
  71. KRVBOZP: http://www.sspr.gov.sk/IVPR/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82&Itemid=27&lang=sk
  72. KRVBOZP (2011). Inštitúcie podieľajúce sa na výskume BOZP na Slovensku. Retrieved 07 June 2012 from: http://www.ivpr.gov.sk/IVPR/images/IVPR/BOZP/BOZP/katalog.pdf
  73. STU-MTF: http://www.mtf.stuba.sk/generate_page.php?page_id=1
  74. SJF-TUKE: http://www.tuke.sk/tuke/fakulty/sjf/top-info?set_language=sk&cl=sk
  75. VŠBM: http://www.vsbm.sk/
  76. FŠI ŽU: http://fsi.uniza.sk/
  77. VÚTCH-CHEMITEX: http://vutch.sk/
  78. UK-LF: http://www.fmed.uniba.sk/pracoviska/klinicke-pracoviska/klinika-pracovneho-lekarstva-a-toxikologie-lf-uk-a-un-bratislava/
  79. UK-JLF: http://www.jfmed.uniba.sk/pracoviska/vedecko-pedagogicke-pracoviska/kliniky-a-ustavy/klinika-pracovneho-lekarstva-a-toxikologie/
  80. UPJŠ-LF: http://www.upjs.sk/lekarska-fakulta/klinika/pracovne-lekarstvo/
  81. SÚTN: http://www.sutn.sk
  82. ÚNMS SR: http://www.unms.sk
  83. http://www.vlada.gov.sk/hospodarska-a-socialna-rada-sr/
  84. http://www.kozsr.sk/
  85. http://www.azzz.sk
  86. http://www.ruzsr.sk
  87. http://www.zmos.sk
  88. http://www.employment.gov.sk/
  89. http://www.health.gov.sk
  90. http://www.ip.gov.sk/
  91. http://www.uvzsr.sk/
  92. http://www.hbu.sk
  93. http://www.ujd.gov.sk
  94. http://www.socpoist.sk
  95. http://www.ibp.sk
  96. http://www.asociaciabozp.sk/
  97. http://www.ivpr.gov.sk
  98. http://www.mtf.stuba.sk/generate_page.php?page_id=1
  99. http://www.tuke.sk/tuke/fakulty/sjf/top-info?set_language=sk&cl=sk
  100. http://www.vsbm.sk/
  101. http://fsi.uniza.sk/
  102. http://vutch.sk/
  103. http://www.fmed.uniba.sk/pracoviska/klinicke-pracoviska/klinika-pracovneho-lekarstva-a-toxikologie-lf-uk-a-un-bratislava/
  104. http://www.jfmed.uniba.sk/pracoviska/vedecko-pedagogicke-pracoviska/kliniky-a-ustavy/klinika-pracovneho-lekarstva-a-toxikologie/
  105. http://www.upjs.sk/lekarska-fakulta/klinika/pracovne-lekarstvo/
  106. http://www.sutn.sk

Links for future reading

Eurofound (2010). Slovakia: "EWCO comparative analytical report on Information, consultation and participation of workers concerning health and safety". Retrieved 07 April 2012 from: http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/studies/tn0911028s/sk0911029q.htm#contentpage

International Labour Organisation (2010). NATLEX – Czech Republic. Retrived 08 June 2012 from: http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.country?p_lang=en&p_country=SVK

Szalay, T., Pažitný, P., Szalayová, A., Frisová, S., Morvay, K., Petrovič, M. & van Ginneken, E., Slovakia: Health system review. Health Systems in Transition. WHO, Copenhagen, 2011. Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/who-we-are/partners/observatory/health-systems-in-transition-hit-series/countries/slovakia-hit-2011

European Qualification of Occupational Safety & Health Professional (EUSAFE project): http://www.eusafe.org