OSH system at national level - Slovenia

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  IOM


Nina Kos and Ana Lozar, ZVD


OSH legislative framework

Occupational health and safety at work is covered by “The Health and Safety at Work Act” [1] and the Rules adopted on its basis. The Act transposes into Slovenian law the framework Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the health and safety of workers at work [2] and Directive 2006/123/EC of the European parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market [3].

The Act came into force in 2011 after more than a decade of validity of the previous Occupational Health and Safety Act [4], which was in force since 1999. The primary purpose of the new Act is to enact simpler and modern solutions in comparison to the previously valid Act, without altering the basic concept of health and safety at work in Slovenia. At the same time, the new Act eliminates the inconsistencies that have emerged in years of enforcement of the previous Act, more consistently transposes the provisions of the framework Directive and implements measures for removing administrative burdens from the field of health and safety.

The Act applies to every employer who employs at least one worker, to every person that is present in the work process, to the private sector and to public services. The major characteristic of the legislation in the Act is the emphasis on prevention, reduction and better management of health and safety at work risks.

According to the legislation, each employer must ensure health and safety at work through providing measures that implement the health and safety of workers, including:

  • prevention, elimination and control of risks at work,
  • training and information for employees,
  • appropriate organisation of work processes,
  • providing needed material resources.

Main legislative acts:

  1. The Health and Safety at Work Act [1];
  2. Worker Participation in Management Act [5];
  3. Representativeness of Trade Unions Act [6];
  4. Pension and Disability Insurance Act [7], which regulates compulsory pension insurance (for workers engaged in particularly difficult and health harmful work and workers engaged in work that after a certain age cannot be performed) and disability insurance that relates to OSH;
  5. Employment Relationship Act [8] establishes a minimum level of rights that should be provided to workers; it regulates working conditions such as workers breaks, rest periods, night work, overtime, special protection of certain categories of workers etc.;
  6. Civil Servants Act [9] governs specifics of employment and the rights and duties of civil servants;
  7. Health Services Act [10] and Health Care and Health Insurance Act [11] regulate organisational aspects of health at work;
  8. Inspection Act [12];
  9. Labour Inspection Act [13].

National strategy and programmes

The “Resolution on the national programme for health and safety at work” [14] was adopted in 2003 on the basis of Article 4 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act [4]. It provides a national strategy of development in the field of OSH with key objectives being protection of life, health and work ability of workers and prevention from accidents at work, work related injuries and occupational diseases.

Analysis of the national programme for health and safety at work [15] was prepared in 2007 just before the start of global economic crisis in 2008 that significantly changed the national and global environment. In this regard and under the new Act, the re-analysis of the national programme has yet to be implemented and its adaptation to the new circumstances made.

The resolution establishes objectives at the national level and provides the basic planning for the accomplishment of these objectives in four (4) programmes and 15 projects, with specific objectives and activities.

Table 1: Resolution on the national programme for health and safety at work programmes and projects

Programme I: Development of preventive infrastructure - promoting a culture of prevention Project 1 Raising awareness amongst the population, employers and workers
Project 2 Performing education and training about culture of prevention
Project 3 Facilitating basic and applied research
Programme II: Drafting regulation Project 4 Establishment and development of "best safety practices"
Project 5 Finding new legislative solutions
Project 6 Establishing effective compliance control
Project 7 Adoption and enforcement of regulations governing insurance for health and safety at work
Project 8 Introduction of special insurance for health and safety at work
Project 9 Introduction of financial incentives for employers who invest in safe and healthy work
Project 10 Adoption and enforcement of new regulations on the records of health and safety at work and establishment of an information system
Programme III: Establishing new informal measures Project 11 Development of the doctrine of health and safety at work at the national level
Project 12 Establishing measures at company level
Programme IV: Activities and actions in OSH-related areas Project 13 Adoption of regulations relating to the design and manufacture of products
Project 14 Adoption of regulations and standards for safety of machinery and equipment
Project 15 Supervision regarding activities in this area


Source: Resolution on national programme for health and safety at work [14]

Social dialogue

Legislation establishes a minimum level of worker’s rights, and preferential arrangements are achieved through negotiations (thus including negotiations about higher degree of health and safety at work) between social dialogue participants.

Subject of the social dialogue usually consists of negotiations about rights, obligations and responsibilities of employers and employees; wage policy, social security and employment safety, terms and conditions of employment, health and safety at work etc.

In Slovenia, social dialogue takes place at various levels: national, cross-industry, sectoral and company. If negotiations achieve positive results, they result in conclusion of collective agreements (on all levels). Collective agreements are mainly governed by The Collective Agreements Act [16] which regulates parties, content and procedures in the signing of a collective agreement and the register of collective agreements. When the subject of negotiations is terms and conditions OSH, collective agreements contain provisions regulating occupational health and safety. Collective agreements can contain only provisions that are more favourable for employees than those provided by legislation.

The social dialogue partners are the trade union organisations and the employers’ associations. Sometimes social dialogue is joined by The Slovenian Government (Vlada Republike Slovenije) as the holder of coordination of the relations in the economic and social field. Recently, there is also the fourth participant of the social dialogue, ie. certain civil societies and other non-governmental organizations and associations.

Representative trade unions (Slovenia has established trade union pluralism) on all levels conclude collective agreements of general application. Representativeness of Trade Unions Act [6] determines the procedure of gaining the representativeness of trade unions. Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia within its jurisdiction, arising from Representativeness of Trade Unions Act, issues decisions on the representativeness of trade unions on the basis of conditions laid down by Representativeness of Trade Unions Act for federations and confederations of trade unions, and independent unions that are representative in the industry, business, profession, community or the wider local community. Currently there are 8 representative trade union confederations unions in Slovenia, as well as over 30 trade unions, which are representative in a particular industry or profession.

Social dialogue at national level

Social dialogue on national level takes place between the national employers' organizations and the national trade union organizations (so-called social partners). It can be tripartite when the Slovenian government joins the negotiations.

The social partners are:

  1. The Association of Employers of Slovenia (Združenje delodajalcev Slovenije) [17] is a voluntary multisector employers’ economic association representing and protecting the interests of employers. It connects more than 1,400 Slovenian companies. As a social partner, it participates in social dialogue at all levels. A professional team of the Association works with a network of experts from the industry and through its work allows the Association to play a key role in both bipartite and tripartite economic and social dialogue. The association is active in co-participation and drafting of views and opinions in the Economic and Social Council, the National Council and the various commissions and committees of the National Assembly of Slovenia.
  2. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (Gospodarska zbornica Slovenije) [18] is an independent, voluntary, non-profit association of industry and the economy that as one of the employers' associations represents the interests of its members in relations with the state and trade unions in shaping working conditions and providing the conditions for economic development. It has the status of a representative Chamber and is thus a social partner in social dialogue;
  3. The Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia (Obrtno-podjetniška zbornica Slovenije) [19] is representing the interests of craft and small business and is an equal partner in the dialogue with government and trade unions. It cooperates with government ministries and the National Assembly in the creation of economic policy and thus co-creates better legislation and conditions for crafts, micro enterprises and SMEs;
  4. The Employers’ Association of Entrepreneurs and Crafts of Slovenia (Združenje delodajalcev obrti in podjetnikov Slovenije) [20] represents the interests of artisans as well as small and medium entrepreneurs in social dialogue with the state and trade unions;
  5. The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (Trgovinska zbornica Slovenije) [21] was before 2006 part of The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. It was established at the end of 2006 and took over the activities of the Association of Commerce within the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia as the organisation that previously covered the needs of traders. The Chamber of Commerce also has representative chamber status and represents the interests of its members and is a social partner in social dialogue on all levels;
  6. There are 8 representative trade union confederations or associations on national level, representing employees in social dialogue on all levels. These are:
  • The Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (Zveza svobodnih sindikatov Slovenije);
  • The Confederation of Trade Unions of Slovenia PERGAM (Konfederacija sindikatov Slovenije Pergam);
  • The Confederation of Trade Unions 90 of Slovenia (Konfederacija sindikatov 90 Slovenije);
  • The Confederation of New Trade Unions of Slovenia INDEPENDENCE (Konfederacija novih sindikatov Slovenije Neodvisnost);
  • The Slovenian Trade Union Confederation ALTERNATIVE (Slovenska zveza sindikatov Alternativa);
  • The Association of Workers Trade Unions of Slovenia SOLIDARITY (Zveza delavskih sindikatov Slovenije - Solidarnost);
  • The Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions of Slovenia (Konfederacija sindikatov javnega sektorja);
  • The Association of Representative Unions of Slovenia - ZRSS (Zveza reprezentativnih sindikatov Slovenije).

As regarding to OSH, there are two consultative bodies on OSH related aspects on national level:

The Economic and Social Council (Ekonomsko socialni svet) [22] Social partners in Slovenia are participating in The Economic and Social Council, which is a tripartite body of equally represented participants of the social dialogue: employers, employees and government. Its purpose is to consider issues and measures concerning economic and social policies and other issues such as health and safety at work. It provides opinions and propositions on these issues. Basic areas of work of the Council are: social agreement; social rights and the rights under compulsory insurance such as pensions, disability benefits, social assistance and other compensation; problems of employment and labour relations; collective bargaining systems; prices and taxes; the economic system and economic policy; legal certainty; cooperation with the ILO and the Council of Europe and related institutions in the European Union and European Union Member States; workers participation in management; trade union rights and freedoms.

Council of Health and Safety at Work (Svet za varnost in zdravje pri delu) The Health and Safety at Work Act [1] defined it as an advisory body of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (Ministrstvo za delo, družino, socialne zadeve in enake možnosti). Before that Council was an advisory body of the Government. This change of status is supposed to ensure greater coherence of the council members, more effective performance of tasks and professional and administrative support for the Economic and Social Council.

Some changes in the structure of membership of the Council of Health and Safety at Work were also made. It consists of professionals of safety at work, occupational medicine, social security, trade union organisations and employers’ associations, and thus all the important subjects in the field of health and safety at work are represented in the Council.

Social dialogue at sectoral level

The most important form of social dialogue is collective bargaining and contracting of collective agreements. On sectoral level, cross-industry and sectoral collective agreements are concluded on behalf of the employees by sectoral trade unions and on the behalf of the employers by sectoral employers' organizations on all matters concerning conditions for work and employment in those sectors.

Social dialogue at company level

Workers at company level are represented through two-tier system – trade union at the company level may be established or workers' representatives may be elected directly but in case of both trade unions have a key role. Social dialogue at company level thus takes place between management and one or both of these two forms of worker’s representation at company level. In Slovenia, the rights and obligations of the works council and trade unions at the enterprise level overlap to some extent.

Three acts regulate social dialogue in relation to OSH at the company level: the Health and Safety at Work Act [1], the Worker Participation in Management Act [5] and Representativeness of Trade Unions Act [6] which regulates representativeness as representative trade union at the level of individual employers (organizations, companies, corporations) are negotiating (additional) rights on behalf of all workers with the employer. The Health and Safety at Work Act [1] represents a special act with special provisions about worker’s participation in management, dealing only with questions of health and safety at work in relation to the Worker Participation in Management Act [5], which is a central act regarding workers’ participation in management in Slovenia.

The Health and Safety at Work Act [1] determines the employers’ obligation to allow workers to take part in discussions on all questions relating to health and safety at work. This right is exercised through workers directly or workers’ representatives responsible for OSH in work councils or through a health and safety representative who is defined by this act as the employees’ representative that has the status and role of the work council. If there is no work council and no health and safety representative elected, then employer must consult directly with workers or their assembly if they have one.

For election of both types of representatives, provisions of the Worker Participation in Management Act [5] act apply. According to the Worker Participation in Management Act [5], work councils can be formed at companies with more than 20 employees with a right to vote. In companies with less than 20 employees with a right to vote, workers participate in management through a workers’ representative. Every representative of the trade union at the company has the right to nominate candidates for membership in a work council.

The work council or health and safety representative has according to the Health and Safety at Work Act [1] the right to demand adoption of suitable measures; they may prepare proposals for the elimination or reduction of occupational health and safety risks; they may request inspection by the competent inspection service; they have the right to be present at any inspection service regarding health and safety at work; they should be informed by the employer about findings, proposals or measures imposed by inspection bodies.

Collective agreement may also be concluded as workers contract, between the management of company (employer) and the trade union organised on the level of the company. This type of contract applies only for employees in this company.

OSH infrastructure

OSH infrastructure scheme

Figure 1: Represents the OSH infrastructure in Slovenia on an implementation level


Source: Overview by Ana Lozar

National competent bodies

OSH authorities and Inspection services

Key OSH authorities are located within the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia [23] and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia (Ministrstvo za zdravje) [24].

The main executive body within the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities is the Directorate General of Labour Relations and Labour Rights (Direktorat za delovna razmerja in pravice iz dela) [25] and in its scope the Health and Safety at Work Section (Sektor za varnost in zdravje pri delu). Other key bodies within the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities are the Labour Inspectorate (Inšpektorat Republike Slovenije za delo) [26] and the Council for Health and Safety at Work as the expert advisory body that considers and adopts the views and recommendations on innovation, strategy and implementation of integrated policies and priorities for health and safety at work.

DG of Labour Relations and Labour Rights The task of the Health and Safety at Work Section of DG is monitoring and evaluating the state of health and safety at work in Slovenia and on this basis providing solutions for regulation of health and safety at work. Other areas of activities are preparing regulations, forming expert formal opinions, issuing work permits for operating professional tasks in the field and issuing authorisations for carrying out trainings for health and safety coordinators at construction sites. It is responsible for promoting health and safety at work and international cooperation. In addition, the Health and Safety at Work Section is the National Focal Point (Nacionalna informacijska točka) concerning cooperation with the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work [27].

Labour Inspectorate The Slovenian Labour Inspectorate in its repressive role performs inspection duties in the field of labour relations, health and safety at work and since 2004 also in the field of social welfare. From 1 January 2005, it has acted as a minor offences authority on First Instance in an accelerated procedure on the basis of the Minor Offences Act [28] [the Labour Inspectorate supervises the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work Act[1], which also defines offenses for violation of its provisions. When labour inspectors carry out regular inspection duties upon this law, in the case of offenses detected, they at the same time keep the proceedings for the offense in an accelerated procedure, as a First Instance authority. First Instance authority means that against the labour inspector’s decision about the offense there may be an appeal in the form of a request for judicial protection. Through its preventive and advisory role as Inspectorate, it provides expert help and advice both to employers and employees, companies and workers, it is involved in law-making and it informs the public of its findings, actions and consequences of violations of regulations in order to protect the rights of legal and natural persons.

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia deals with activities concerning health at work that are carried out by occupational physicians. Within its scope, the control function concerning protection of human health against the harmful effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation is performed by the Slovenian Nuclear Safety Administration (Uprava Republike Slovenije za varstvo pred sevanji) [29]. Drafting of regulations, granting of concessions to occupational physicians, coordination of health at work programmes and leading and coordinating activities concerning health promotion for managers and working population are within the powers of the Ministry itself.

Health Inspectorate (Zdravstveni inšpektorat Republike Slovenije) [30] The Health Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia performs inspection over implementation of laws and other regulations with the objective of ensuring public health covering areas such as infectious diseases, food safety, drinking water, the medical profession, etc.

OSH services

Internal OSH services The primary responsibility for ensuring health and safety at work in a company is borne by the employer, who is assisted by an internal service consisting of one or more safety specialists or so called safety practitioners. Self-employed persons who do not employ other persons and in their work process do not involve other people may assume this position themselves.

The internal service for safety at work must be formed by the employer amongst its employees and supports the employer’s execution of the tasks regarding safety at work.

Conditions for the formation of the internal service are defined in Article 28 of the Health and Safety at Work Act [1].

The employer determines the type of professional education and number of safety practitioners that form an internal service on the basis of:

  • organisation, nature and extent of the work process,
  • number of workers that are involved in health and safety risky work processes,
  • number of working shifts,
  • number of locally separated work units.

The tasks of the internal service, defined in Article 28 of the Health and Safety at Work Act [1], have the purpose of constant improvement of health and safety at work and consist of:

  • advising the employer during planning, selecting, purchasing and maintenance of work resources;
  • advising the employer on the work equipment and work environment;
  • coordinating measures to prevent psychosocial risks;
  • making background documents for the safety statement;
  • conducting periodic investigations of hazards at the workplace;
  • conducting periodic inspections and testing of work equipment;
  • performing internal control over the implementation of safety precautions;
  • drafting instructions for safe and healthy working conditions;
  • monitoring the situation regarding accidents at work, discovering the causes and preparing reports for the employer with action proposals;
  • preparing and providing safety training for workers;
  • cooperating with occupational physicians.

The tasks of safety practitioners can be carried out by both the internal and the external service, but the employer is permitted to outsource these tasks only if it cannot provide the internal service consisting of safety practitioners amongst its own workers or if the internal service is unable to execute all the statutory assignments. In the latter case, the internal service will conduct coordination between the employer and the external service.

For the public services, the same regulations about internal services apply.

Occupational (external) OSH services An external expert safety service is defined in Article 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act [1] as a legal entity or individual entrepreneur who has a permit from the Minister of Labour to perform professional tasks in the field and is authorised by the employer to carry out all or some of professional tasks of safety at work.

According to the new Slovenian law from December 2011 there are two tasks of safety at work that recquire a permit from the Minister of Labour (meaning that whoever carries them out – the internal or the external OSH service – needs to obtain the permit from the Ministry): conducting periodic investigations of hazards in the workplace, such as noise, vibrations, etc., and conducting periodic inspections and testing of work equipment because they are considered to be so technically demanding that the employer usually cannot carry them by itself due to the lack of expertise and appropriate equipment.

An external service for safety at work is established in accordance with the Rules on permits for performing safety at work related tasks [31].

The tasks of occupational physicians are also carried out externally unless the company’s business is in providing services of occupational physicians. In that case, it can be dealt internally, but it is a rare occasion.

Occupational physicians perform their tasks with a permit from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia. They are formed as public health institutions or legal or natural persons licensed to practice in the health service network, in accordance with health regulations. They perform tasks depending on the size of employer’s business and also the type and degree of the risk of accidents at work, occupational diseases and work-related diseases. Their tasks are determined in Article 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act [1], including:

  • involvement in making of background documents for the safety statement;
  • carrying out preventive medical examinations of workers;
  • informing employees about the risks associated with their workplace and working environment that may lead to functional impairment, disease or disability;
  • monitoring and analysing innovations in relation to occupational diseases and work-related diseases and identifying their causes;
  • preparing reports for employers due to the findings from a) analysis of health of workers, identified at preventive medical examinations, b) analysis of functional disorders, accidents at work, occupational diseases, work-related diseases and occupational disability. Reports shall contain proposals for improvements of work processes with the purpose of updating and upgrading measures relating to health at work;
  • participating in vocational rehabilitation processes and thus advising on the selection of other suitable work;
  • participating in the preparation of the plan of an employer regarding first aid and participating in the training of workers and employers for general and specific first aid measures.

Companies enter into a contract with the recognised external service of their choice. Public services must, in accordance with the Public Procurement Act [32], carry out an order, obtain bids and enter a contract with the winning bidder, which is selected according to predetermined quality and price criteria.

Each external service sets the tariffs that apply to the employer affiliated to it for the purpose of tasks that this external service carries out and that appear in the contract concluded with this employer.

External service for technical control In accordance with the Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment Act [33] and its Rules, there are external services recognised for technical controls at the workplace. The employer is required to call on recognised institutions for certain technical operations. These are operations relating to electrical equipment, lifting and goods handling equipment, equipment under pressure, personal safety equipment, etc.

The external services for technical controls at the workplace should adopt the legal form of a non-profit organisation. The service must:

  • have required technical personnel and necessary equipment,
  • during the conformity assessment procedure, ensure the independence and impartiality of the organisation or the product it assesses,
  • ensure the confidentiality of the data,
  • cover liability insurance for their work, except where the liability is covered by the Republic of Slovenia pursuant to the Act,
  • meet other conditions that ensure the proper performance of the prescribed conformity assessment tasks.

The services are recognised by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia (Ministrstvo za gospodarski razvoj in tehnologijo) [34]. The list of Slovenian recognised bodies is available via the website [35].

Compensation and insurance bodies

In Slovenia, there are two carriers of insurance for injuries at work and occupational diseases: the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za zdravstveno zavarovanje Slovenije) [36] and the Institute of Pension and Invalidity Insurance of Slovenia (Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije) [37].

The Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia is a public institution that carries out compulsory health insurance. Compulsory health insurance is covered by contributions of insured persons, employers, the Republic of Slovenia and others. The rates of contributions are determined by the Social Security Contributions Act [38]. Categories of persons that are compulsorily health insured person are: employees in Slovenia; Slovenian nationals employed in foreign companies; self-employed; farmers; apprentices; top sportsmen, top chess players and others. Compulsory health insurance allows insured persons to claim the right to health services, medicines and medical devices and to cash compensation such as salary compensation during temporary absence from work, funeral and death and reimbursement of travel expenses in connection with the exercise of rights to health services.

The Institute of Pension and Invalidity Insurance of Slovenia is also a public institution. It is a carrier and provider of compulsory pension and invalidity insurance. Compulsory insurance is covered by contributions of insured persons, employers and the Republic of Slovenia. The rates of contributions are determined by the Social Security Contributions Act [38]. Compulsory pension and invalidity insured persons are: employees in Slovenia; Slovenian nationals employed in foreign companies; self-employed; farmers; apprentices; top sportsmen, top chess players and others. This compulsory insurance covers invalidity pension, occupational rehabilitation, invalidity benefit, reassignment, part-time work and other benefits.

Other OSH bodies

Prevention Institutes

The National Institute of Public Health (Inštitut za varovanje zdravja Republike Slovenije) [39] is the central national institution that studies, protects and increases the level of health of the population through raising awareness and operating other preventive measures. Together with partners, the Institute of Public Health is a resource of data and information as a basis for decisions and actions of individuals, professionals and health policy. It recognises the critical public health challenges in the population including the determinants that affect health and proposes measures to improve it. The National Institute of Public Health monitors the health care system, prepares analyses and proposes measures to improve the availability, performance and development priorities of the health care system. It identifies potential health threats, assesses risks and prepares measures for the protection of health. With research and international cooperation, it contributes to and disseminates new knowledge and good practice.

The Institutes of Public Health perform basic preventive health care in the Republic of Slovenia. Notably through the implementation of a national programme, they implement the strategic direction of the country in the field of preventive medicine and public health. There are nine regional health care institutions. The actions of individual health care institutions do not differ significantly. Among the regional institutes, the Institute of Public Health of Ljubljana (Zavod za zdravstveno varstvo Ljubljana) [40] is both in size (area) and by population the largest institute. The area covered by its activity has 40 municipalities with more than 600,000 inhabitants.

Professional associations

Chamber of Health and Safety at Work (Zbornica varnosti in zdravja pri delu) [41] This chamber unites safety practitioners and occupational physicians on a voluntary basis although the latter are also members of The Medical Chamber of Slovenia (Zdravniška zbornica Slovenije) [42]. The Chamber was founded in 2000 on the basis of the previous Occupational Health and Safety Act [4]. Its most important tasks according to the provisions of this act were raising the level of health and safety at work and participation in drafting legal acts. Because it was designed to be a private professional association but its members also became companies that are as external expert services active in the field of OSH, it informally became a business association. That is the reason why the new 2011 OSH legislation does not regulate the Chamber of Health and Safety at Work anymore, but it still exists and is active in the field of OSH as it was before this change in legislation was made.

The Medical Chamber of Slovenia [42] This chamber is an independent professional organisation of medical physicians and dentists. Membership is obligatory. Members of this chamber are all those who work as physicians or dentists in Slovenia and have direct contact with patients. It is protecting and representing the interests of the medical profession and ensures the compliance of doctors with their medical duties.

The Association of Societies of Safety Engineers (Zveza društev varnostnih inženirjev Slovenije) [43] It is a professional association that unites municipal, inter-municipal and regional societies of safety practitioners. Membership is not obligatory. The association offers education and integration to its members. The association founded The Foundation of Avgust Kuhar, whose purpose is to award outstanding achievements in the field of health and safety at work and reward the active role in societies of safety engineers.

The Association of Occupational Medicine, Traffic and Sports (Združenje medicine dela, prometa in športa – Slovensko zdravniško društvo) [44] This association unites occupational medicine, traffic and sports physicians. Membership is not obligatory. Organises professional education for members and non-members and solves other relevant issues of its members.


Education, training and awareness raising

Legally required training for OSH specialists

Safety practitioners can be persons who obtained a college degree in safety at work and fire safety [45]. During studies, students also have to gain a 5- (five-) month mandatory practical training in internal services of occupational safety, fire brigades, etc. These students obtain the title of safety engineers and later need to pass a professional examination on health and safety at work to be able to start working in the profession.

Persons who didn’t go to a college which conducts the safety at work and fire safety education programme can also become safety practitioners but there are conditions established to obtain this position in the Rules on conditions to be met by safety professionals [46], see these conditions written below under Basic Training for safety practitioners.

Safety practitioners must be trained to perform professional duties in occupational safety according to the Rules on conditions to be met by safety professionals and the Rules on regular updating of skills and training in the field of health and safety at work [47].

Basic Training for safety practitioners Competence to perform professional duties in the occupational safety field is assessed according to the type of activities undertaken by the employer and the type and degree of the risk of accidents, occupational diseases and diseases related to work and depending on the number of employees of the employer.

Article 3 of the Rules on conditions to be met by safety professionals [46] defines that if an employer’s risk assessment indicates a higher risk for accidents, occupational diseases and diseases related to work, the safety practitioner must:

  • have a certificate of at least college, higher professional or other similar education (6th level of education) in the science and technology area,
  • pass the entire professional examination on health and safety at work and
  • depending on the type of employer’s business, carry out at least one training programme from the field of work psychology, ergonomics, work organisation or promotion of health in the workplace, according to the regulations governing continuing professional development and training for safety practitioners (Rules on regular updating of skills and training in the field of health and safety at work [47]).

Article 4 of the Rules on conditions to be met by safety professionals [46] defines that if an employer employs more than 5 workers and there is no higher risk for accidents, occupational diseases and diseases related to work indicated from risk assessment, safety practitioners must:

  • have a certificate of at least secondary vocational or secondary general education (5th level of education),
  • pass the entire professional examination on health and safety at work.

Article 5 of the Rules on conditions to be met by safety professional [46] defines that if an employer employs less than 5 workers and there is no higher risk for accidents, occupational diseases and diseases related to work indicated from risk assessment, safety practitioners must:

  • have a certificate of at least secondary vocational or other similar education (4th level of education),
  • pass the general part of the professional examination on health and safety at work or complete adjusted training as defined in the Rules on regular updating of skills and training in the field of health and safety at work.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, safety practitioners who operate periodic investigations of hazards in the workplace and periodic inspections and testing of work equipment have to abide by the Rules on permits for performing safety at work related tasks [48] that govern harsher conditions.

Additional certified training courses Safety practitioners need to complete additional trainings according to the Rules on regular updating of skills and training in the field of health and safety at work [46].

There are 3 types of programmes according to these Rules [47]:

  • programmes of professional development that build, deepen and broaden the knowledge of programmes of basic education,
  • training programmes (upgrades) that enable continuing professional development, updating knowledge and acquaintance with effective safety practices and successful approaches,
  • programmes that are attended by safety practitioners in the Republic of Slovenia or abroad outside of the programmes above and for which it is found that their objectives are consistent with the objectives of these Rules [47].

The training can only be organised by recognised training institutes. Organisers of these courses must submit an application for recognition of their proposed programmes at the Directorate General of Labour Relations and Labour Rights, the Health and Safety at Work Section, for one year.

Other vocational training

All institutes in the national OSH infrastructure organise seminars and information sessions for their members: the Government, professional associations, external services and others.

Awareness raising networks

The Health and Safety at Work Section of the DG of Labour Relations and Labour Rights [25] among other tasks covers the promotion of health and safety at work in Slovenia. In this context, it organises debates and publishes various materials and publications, cooperates with various partners like researchers from EU-OSHA and EUROFOUND [49], prepares seminars for students of technical safety and organises meetings on the theme. It carries out tasks of the National Focal Point for the Agency for Health and Safety at Work.

In addition, Slovenia has a National Network for Cooperation with the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work [50].

An important awareness raising project for health at work in Slovenia, co-funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport [51], is the Fit for Work [52] programme of the Clinical Institute of Occupational Medicine, Traffic and Sports (Klinični inštitut za medicino dela, prometa in športa) [53]. Fit for Work is a programme for health promotion in the workplace. Through this programme, the aim is to raise the awareness of workers and employers on a healthy lifestyle in the workplace and the creation of working conditions that are in favour of health.

Specialised technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

Slovenia does not run a national OSH research institute. Research in the field of health and safety at work is mainly carried out by research groups at the universities.

The Clinical Institute of Occupational medicine, Traffic and Sports is a unit of the University Medical Centre of Ljubljana (Univerzitetni klinični center Ljubljana). It is the doctrinaire institution in the field of health and safety at work in Slovenia. It carries out activities of health care at the primary, secondary and tertiary level. Within these activities, the Institute performs teaching, research and development and professional methodological work in the field of health of workers. In addition, the Institute prepares the professional grounds for the drafting of legal acts.

The Expanded Expert Committee for Occupational Medicine, Traffic and Sports (Razširjeni strokovni kolegij za medicino dela, prometa in športa) was established by the Ministry of Health. It is the supreme and autonomous advisory body. In its operation, it is obligated to follow the achievements of science, professional proven methods, the development of the profession and public health interests. It coordinates proposals of clinics, professional associations, chambers of commerce, universities, healthcare institutions and individual experts.

The aforementioned Institutes of Public Health also upgrade their preventive work through research. The Institutes are registered as research organisations that according to the Slovenian Research Agency fulfil the conditions for the implementation of budget-funded projects.

Standardisation bodies

Slovenian Accreditation (Slovenska akreditacija) [54] is a public institute for carrying out tasks of national accreditation services. It follows the Accreditation Act [55] and the Decision on the establishment of a public institute for Slovenian Accreditation (SA) [56]. It is responsible for the harmonious development of standards in Slovenia and is a member of the European cooperation for Accreditation [57], the International Accreditation Forum [58] and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation [59].


Institutions and organisations

Table 2: Key actors in OSH in Slovenia
Key players in the Slovenian OSH dialogue Economic and Social Council [59]
Council for Health and Safety at Work
Key social partners in the Slovenian OSH field Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia [60]
Association of Employers of Slovenia [61]
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia [62]
Employers’ Association of Entrepreneurs and Crafts of Slovenia [63]
Slovenian Chamber of Commerce [64]
Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia [65]
Confederation of Trade Unions of Slovenia PERGAM [66]
Confederation of Trade Unions 90 of Slovenia [67]
Confederation of New Trade Unions of Slovenia INDEPENDENCE [68]
Slovenian Trade Union Confederation ALTERNATIVE [69]
Association of Workers Trade Unions of Slovenia SOLIDARITY [70]
Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions of Slovenia [71]
The Association of Representative Unions of Slovenia
OSH authorities and inspection services Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia [72]
DG for Labour relations and labour rights [73]
Labour Inspectorate [74]
Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia [75]
Health Inspectorate [76]
Professional organisation of OSH services
Key compensation and insurance bodies Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia [77]
Institute of Pension and Invalidity Insurance of Slovenia [78]
Key prevention institutes Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia [79]
Key prevention associations Chamber of Health and Safety at Work [80]
Medical Chamber of Slovenia [81]
Association of Societies of Safety Engineers [82]
Association of Occupational Medicine, Traffic and Sports [83]
Key research institutes Clinical Institute of Occupational Medicine, Traffic and Sports [84]
Key normalisation player SA [85]


Source: Overview by the authors

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 The Health and Safety at Work Act, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, 3 June 2011. Available at: [1]
  2. Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the health and safety of workers at work. Available at: [2]
  3. Directive 2006/123/EC of the European parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market. Available at: [3]
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  16. Collective Agreements Act, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, 21 April 2006. Available at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=200643&stevilka=1835
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  41. Chamber of Health and Safety at Work, home page (2012). Retrieved on 15 April 2012, from: [40]
  42. 42.0 42.1 The Medical Chamber of Slovenia, home page (2012). Retrieved on 15 April 2012, from: [41]
  43. The Association of Societies of Safety Engineers, home page (2012). Retrieved on 15 April 2012, from: [42]
  44. The Association of Occupational Medicine, Traffic and Sports, home page (2012). Retrieved on 3 June 2012, from: [43]
  45. Study programmes at Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology. Retrieved on 13 April 2012, from: [44]
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  49. EUROFOUND – European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, home page (2012). Retrieved on 15 April 2012, from: [48]
  50. National Network for Cooperation with European Agency for Health and Safety at Work. Retrieved on 15 April 2012, from: [49]
  51. Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, home page (2012). Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [50]
  52. Fit for Work (Čili za delo), home page (2012). Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [51]
  53. Clinical Institute of Occupational medicine, Traffic and Sports, home page (2012). Retrieved on 15 April 2012, from: [52]
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  58. International Accreditation Forum. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [57]
  59. International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [58]

Links for future reading

Kalcic, M. and Lozar, A., ‘Zakon o varnosti in zdravju pri delu (ZVZD-1), Uvodna pojasnila’ GV Zalozba, ZVD Zavod za varstvo pri delu, Ljubljana, 2011.

Belopavlovic, N., Bilban, M., Kalcic, M., Korun, V., Petricek, T., Srna, M., ‘Zakon o varnosti in zdravju pri delu (ZVZD) s komentarjem in podzakonski akti’, Gospodarski vestnik, Inštitut za delovna razmerja, Ljubljana, 1999.

European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, European Network – Slovenia, Good practice. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [86]

University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Institute of Occupational, Traffic and Sports Medicine, Fit for Work. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [87]

European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, European Network – Slovenia, Statistics. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [88]

European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, European Network – Slovenia, Legislation. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [89]

Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Social Partnership. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [90]

Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Health and Safety at Work. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [91]

Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Pension and Disability Insurance. Retrieved on 17 May 2012, from: [92]