National OSH Strategy - Poland

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Introduction

In the European Union, the strategic framework on OSH is used to develop the EU policy on OSH and coordinate the national policies of the Member States. The EU strategic framework identifies key challenges and strategic objectives for health and safety at work and presents actions and instruments to address these in the coming years.

The EU strategic framework (2021 – 2027) addresses the changing needs in worker’s protection brought by the digital and green transitions, new forms of work and the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the framework will continue to address traditional occupational safety and health risks, such as risks of accidents at work, exposure to hazardous chemicals musculoskeletal disorders or mental health problems. The success of the framework depends on its implementation at EU, national, sectoral and enterprise levels.

National strategies are well known as a policy instrument to enhance the effectiveness of an OSH system through the collaborative and smart use of resources. They include approaches such as priority setting, prior action defining and action plans. The Commission calls on Member States to update and draw up their national occupational safety and health strategies in line with this strategic framework - in cooperation with social partners - to ensure that the new measures reach the workplace.

In Poland, the Ministry of Family and Social Policy (Ministerstwo Rodziny i Polityki Społecznej), formerly the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is the main body that initiates, develops and coordinates the state policy on OSH. Since the 1990’s the OSH policy has been progressively reformulated to comply with the European Union legislation and standards. In 1994 the Council of Ministers adopted the national strategic programme entitled “Safety and Protection of Employee in the Workplace”.

Basic Information on the national OSH strategy

In 2020, the Council of Ministers adopted the national programme „Improvement of safety and working conditions” – phase III (2014-2016), phase IV (2017-2019) continued as phase V (2020-2022), which is to be implemented in the years 2020-2022. It is a continuation of programmes from previous years and will increase the level of occupational health and safety in Poland. (Program Wieloletni „Poprawa bezpieczeństwa i warunków pracy” - III etap (2014-2016), IV etap (2017-2019), V etap (2020-2022))[1] .

Since 2008, the programme has fulfilled the role of a national strategy for creating proper working conditions that protect the life and health of workers. All documents and for more information see the website of the Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute CIOP-PIB

Background and the perceived problem

Phase V is the next stage of the National Programme for the Improvement of Safety and Working Conditions”. The Council of Ministers previously adopted Resolution No 117/2007 on 3 July 2007 for Phase I (2008-2010), Resolution No 154/2010 on 21 September 2010 for Phase II (2011-2013), Resolution No 126/2013 on 16 July 2013 for Phase III (2014-2016) and Resolution No 203/2015 on 26 October 2015 for Phase IV (2017-2019) and Resolution No 80/2019 on 13 August 2019.The thematic scope of Phase V of the national programme conforms to the current trends of scientific research and development contained in both international and national documentation relating to projects and national policies in this area. Phase V of the programme takes the priorities, requirements and scientific challenges included in the following documents into consideration.

Main characteristics and objectives of the OSH strategy (activity plan)

The main objective of the programme is to develop innovative technical and organisational solutions, aimed at developing human resources, new products, technologies, management techniques and systems, which will help to reduce the number of workers exposed to harmful, dangerous and difficult factors, and reduce the number of work-related accidents, occupational diseases and consequent economic and social losses.

Details of the strategy and activity plan

Specific objectives

  • Create opportunities to meet the requirements of new strategic documents relating to occupational safety and health as well as EU directives.
  • Develop and improve solutions to better and maintain work ability in the interest of preventing exclusion from the labour market, particularly for elderly and disabled people.
  • Develop methods and tools to prevent and reduce occupational risks in the workplace that include new and emerging risks.
  • Broaden understanding about the causes and results of work-related accidents and occupational diseases, and the benefits of preventive action at both a societal and business level.
  • Develop and promote a safety culture by improving OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) management and by developing a modern system to educate and inform society throughout the entire life cycle.

Activities

The thematic scope of Phase V of the programme is divided into two parts:

A – Tasks related to the services of the state and

B – Research and development projects.

Several projects will be carried out by the Departments of CIOP-PIB during phase V.

A. Tasks related to the services of the state

  1. Establishing standards in OSH
  2. Developing methods and tools for preventing and reducing occupational risks in the working environment.
  3. Developing a system of testing machinery and appliances, tools, and personal and collective protection equipment
  4. Developing a system of OSH education, information, and promotion.

Departments carrying out 82 projects of phase V:

  • Department of Vibroacoustic Hazards
  • Department of Safety Engineering
  • Department of Chemical, Biological and Aerosol Hazards
  • Department of Ergonomics Department of Bioelectromagnetism
  • Department of Personal Protective Equipment
  • Department of Safety and Health Management
  • Testing and Callibration laboratory Division
  • Center for Certification of Personal Protective and Working Equipment
  • Center for Assessment and Development of OSH Competences
  • Information Technology Division
  • Center for Scientific Information and Documentation
  • Center for Promotion and Implementation
  • Publishing Division
  • Center for Education
  • International Cooperation Division

B. Research and development tasks

The research and development programme includes projects within the following main research areas:

  1. Developing and preserving working abilities.
  2. New and emerging risks related to new technologies and work processes.
  3. Material engineering and science, and new technologies for OSH purposes
  4. Shaping a safety culture.

Departments carrying out 62 projects of phase V :

  • Department of Vibroacoustic Hazards Department of Safety Engineering
  • Department of Chemical, Biological and Aerosol Hazards Department of Ergonomics Department of Bioelectromagnetism Department of Personal Protective Equipment
  • Department of Safety and Health Management

Cooperation Institutions

Expected results

When the expected results are obtained, working life will be prolonged and working ability will be increased by the following factors: a decrease in occupational risks in the working environment related to the dynamic development of technologies and work processes, improved work and life quality more safety culture in working and life environments, which positively affects the number of work-related accidents and occupational diseases

The programme will permit the following:

  1. Increased efficiency of activities that prevent occupational hazards in companies, which take into account the need to be able to work over an extended period of time.
  2. Use of newly developed methods and tools to reduce occupational risks in the working environment related to the dynamic development of technologies and work processes
  3. Improved OSH management in companies that includes age management.
  4. A modern approach to OSH and ergonomics in teaching curricula on all levels, and improved specialist competencies.
  5. Broadening the range of products manufactured by Polish PPE (Personal protective equipment) companies, to therefore improve user safety through new, significantly advanced products.
  6. Continued legislation and standardisation work to ensure the compliance of Polish law with EU OSH regulations, as well as the implementation of respective EU standards in Polish OSH standards.
  7. Development of a national system to assess the conformity of products and services with the requirements of EU directives.
  8. Poland’s continued active participation in European and international cooperation in research, as well as the exchange of OSH best practices and ergonomics.
  9. More efficient OSH promotional and informative activities, including the activities of the National Focal Point of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

Further related activities should only be complementary and performed in parallel on three levels:

  1. Central – coordinated by the respective ministries in accordance with their scope of activities. Actions carried out at this level will support the measures aimed at improving working conditions in economic sectors that are highly important for national development, as well as in sectors with a particularly high risk of accidents. Dissemination among diverse stakeholders, including SME stakeholders will be carried out.
  2. Social – conducted in cooperation with social partners and key Polish labour protection institutions. These activities will focus on the development of a safe conduct attitude as well as the education of selected groups of employers and employees, particularly from high-risk sectors, as well as training for specialist staff.
  3. Local – conducted at companies and aimed at selected groups of stakeholders. The activities will focus on the implementation of the programme results as a solution for reducing occupational risk or adapting working conditions to workers’ specific requirements, e.g. as a result of their age or disability.

Indicators

The programme continues as phase V (2020-2022) and the following strategic indicators have been adopted: the reduction in the number of persons employed in hazardous conditions, the reduction in the number of fatal accidents at work and in the number of severe accidents at work.

Actors and stakeholders

Phase V of the programme is conducted by eight scientific institutions – research institutes and the Polish Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with companies, government bodies and labour inspection and supervision bodies. These institutes are:

  • Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute /CIOP-PIB/
  • Central Mining Institute /GIG/
  • Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences /IBD PAN/
  • Institute of Aviation /Ł-IL/
  • Institute of Occupational Medicine /IMP/
  • Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology /IPiN/
  • Institute of Electron Technology /Ł-ITE/
  • Textile Research Institute /Ł-IW/

Resources and time frame

The current National OS programme of Poland „Improvement of safety and working conditions” – phase V" covers the period from 2020 to 2022

The programme does not include information regarding the resources planned or provided for the implementation.

Evaluation/lessons learned

The programme is monitored and evaluated by the Coordination Board composed of representatives of ministries and other public bodies, organisations of employers and employees, representatives of institutions interested in implementing the results of the Programme as well as scientific experts. The Coordination Board meets once a year in order to monitor the progress and evaluate the outcomes of tasks related to the services of the state and research projects. The Coordination Board can suggest some modifications, however without altering the main objective of the Programme. The results of the programme will be used and disseminated systematically within the five years following the completion of the programme. The results will contribute to a significant reduction in occupational risk related to exposure to harmful, dangerous and difficult workplace factors. It will affect the possibility of a longer, healthy working life, also for people with disabilities. Improved health and safety will also result in a reduction of costs relating to occupational hazards that are incurred by the state and society. The evaluation report is published by the Central Institute for Labour Protection - National Research Institute CIOP[2]


Ex ante indicators for the years 2020 -2022

The programme continues as phase V (2020-2022) strategic indicators are not explicitly mentioned. However, to assess occupational health and safety management different indicators are used[3] .

  • Number of accidents at work
  • Occupational accident frequency rates
  • Severity of accidents at work
  • Number of recorded near misses
  • Number of people suffering from work-related diseases
  • Costs of accidents at work and sickness absenteeism costs

the reduction in the number of persons employed in hazardous conditions, the reduction in the number of fatal accidents at work and in the number of severe accidents at work.

Relationship to the EU Strategic Framework

Due to the broad approach there are relations to all aspects of the new European Strategic Framework, as there are actions related to ergonomics, dangerous substances, in the context of the green and digital transitions

Not explicitly mentioned: vision zero, cancer, health care sector, seasonal workers, SMEs

References

  1. National programme „Improvement of safety and working conditions” – phase III (2014-2016), phase IV (2017-2019) continued as phase V (2020-2022) – Program Wieloletni „Poprawa bezpieczeństwa i warunków pracy” - III etap (2014-2016), IV etap (2017-2019), V etap (2020-2022). Available at: [1]
  2. CENTRALNY INSTYTUT OCHRONY PRACY – PAŃSTWOWY INSTYTUT BADAWCZY - CIOP BIP, POPRAWA BEZPIECZEŃSTWA I WARUNKÓW PRACY IV etap: 1.01.2017 – 31.12.2019, Część B: Program realizacji projektów w zakresie badań naukowych i prac rozwojowych, 2020. Available at:[2]
  3. Wytyczne do oceny funkcjonowania przedsiębiorstwa w obszarze bezpieczeństwa i higieny pracy z wykorzystaniem wskaźników wynikowych i wiodących. Available at: [3](in Polish)

Contributors

Palmer, e.schmitzfelten
OSH: [[Property:OSHA|]], Political
NACE: [[Property:NACE|]]