National OSH Strategy - Slovenia

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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 Slovenia, safety and health at work falls within the competence of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of Health. These two ministries monitor and assess the situation in the aforementioned area and on this basis draw up regulations and solutions for the standardised regulation of safety and health at work. The “Resolution on the national programme for health and safety at work” [1] was adopted in 2003 on the basis of Article 4 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act [2]. It provides a national strategy of development in the field of OSH.

Basic information on the national OSH strategy

The Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work 2018-2027 (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 23/18; ReNPVZD18-27)[3], adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia at its 39th session on 27 March 2018 replaces the 2003 Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work (ReNPVZD). It is implemented by three-year action plans with concrete measures, deadlines and responsible institutions.

The current Action Plan is the second three-year implementation document of the Resolution on the National Programme of Health and Safety at Work 2018–2027 (Akcijski načrt za izvajanje resolucije o nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu 2018-2027 v prvem triletnem obdobju (2018-2021) [4])

The former OSH strategy: Resolucija o Nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu (ReNPVZD) (Resolution on national programme for safety and health at work, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, 2003)

Background and the perceived problem

The vision of the Slovenian OSH strategy 'Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work 2018-2027' is:

Safety and health and well-being at work are the highest priority in the working environment and the foundation of sustainable business success. Effective provision of safety and health at work without accidents at work, occupational and work-related diseases is of national interest, an interest of workers and the obligation of employers. Efforts to raise the level of a culture of prevention in the working environment must become a joint commitment of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, social partners, companies and workers.

The aim of the National OSH Programme is to bring together all stakeholders in the system of health and safety at work in order to join forces and cooperate in the realisation of the generally accepted vision in the field of health and safety at work in Slovenia according to their best abilities and in compliance with their mission: to create and maintain a working environment, which will preserve workers’ health throughout the entire period of their employment, so they will be able to work longer and the work performed will be to their personal satisfaction.

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

The resolution (ReNPVZD18-27) is structured by strategic objectives and measures. The Action Plan for the Implementation of the Resolution on the National Programme of Health and Safety at Work 2018-2027 further defines the measures, the target group, the time frame of the action (2021-2023 - three years action plan), the responsible institute, participating institutions, estimated fund and monitoring indicators.

  1. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring safety at work
  2. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring occupational health
  3. Strategic objectives aimed at promoting a culture of prevention in occupational safety and health practice and taking into account the diversity of workers.
  4. Strategic objectives aimed at promoting social dialogue on occupational safety and health
  5. Other tasks foreseen by the ReNPVZD18-27

Details of the strategy and activity plan

Axis description

1. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring safety at work

1.1. Reducing the number of accidents at work by 20% in the next 10 years.

  • 1.1.1. Development and implementation of a programme of targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia and other competent inspection authorities on the quality and suitability of risk assessment in organisations.
  • 1.1.2. Development and implementation of the programme for raising awareness campaigns on health and safety at work in transport, particularly in cooperation with the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency and the Police, including targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the inspection authorities.
  • 1.1.3. Development and implementation of programmes for awareness-raising campaigns for employers and employees in the construction sector to prevent accidents at work, including targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate.
  • 1.1.4. Development and implementation of a programme for awareness-raising campaigns for employers and employees regarding risks of falling from a height or into a cavity, including targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate.
  • 1.1.5. Development and implementation of a programme for awareness-raising campaigns for small employers and their employees to prevent accidents at work, including targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate.
  • 1.1.6 Introduction of a differentiated contribution rate for health and pension and disability insurance on the basis of a preliminary analysis and simulation.
  • 1.1.7. Examination of possibilities for tax relief for investments in a safe and healthy working environment and the promotion of health in the workplace.
  • 1.1.8. Development and implementation of a programme for preparing practical e-tools for risk assessment, OiRA, including a plan for their upgrading, promotion, training of employers to work with the tools, and the introduction and operation of the user support service.
  • 1.1.9. Developing and producing practical occupational health and safety e-tools.
  • 1.1.10. Awarding national recognitions for employers’ achievements in an integrated approach to occupational safety and health.

1.2. Ensuring the safe use of hazardous chemical substances in work processes and replacing hazardous chemicals with less hazardous ones.

Measures:

  • 1.2.1. Revision and compilation of a new list of binding limit values for occupational exposure to hazardous chemical substances.
  • 1.2.2. Development and implementation of a targeted supervision programme and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate regarding the correct use and the implementation of regulations governing hazardous substances, e.g. chemical, carcinogenic and mutagenic substances, substances toxic to reproduction and asbestos.
  • 1.2.3. Development and implementation of a programme of awareness-raising campaigns for employers, employees and the general public on risks arising from working with nanomaterials and endocrine disrupters.
  • 1.2.4. Development of practical guidelines for an assessment of risk due to exposure to hazardous chemical substances.
  • 1.2.5. Development and implementation of a programme of tighter supervision campaigns of the Labour Inspectorate relating to the quality of risk assessment regarding exposure to hazardous chemical substances.
  • 1.2.6. Implementation of the Roadmap on Carcinogens for the phase-out of carcinogens in the workplace.

1.3. Ensuring the high-quality implementation of expert tasks of occupational safety.

Measures:

  • 1.3.1. Reinforcement of the staff of the Health and Safety at Work Section within the Ministry of Labour (MDDSZ), which will also assume the responsibility of the doctrine relating to health and safety at work.
  • 1.3.2. Reinforcement of the staff of the Safety and Health at Work Inspection Service at the Labour Inspectorate.
  • 1.3.3. Development and implementation of a training programme for labour inspectors and other inspectors competent for supervision and consultation.
  • 1.3.4. Development and implementation of a training programme for expert workers.
  • 1.3.5. Development and implementation of a programme of targeted supervision campaigns of the Labour Inspectorate on the quality and suitability of performance of expert tasks of safety at work by legal entities and sole traders licensed to perform expert tasks.
  • 1.3.6. Development of a modern interdisciplinary study in occupational safety and health at work.
  • 1.3.7. Increasing budgetary resources earmarked for basic and applied research in occupational safety and health at work.
  • 1.3.8. Promotion of interdisciplinary scientific and research work relating to occupational safety and health.
  • 1.3.9. Dissemination of findings of foreign research in occupational safety and health at work.
  • 1.3.10. Monitoring of public procurements to ensure compliance with obligations set out in regulations governing occupational safety and health in practice.

2. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring occupational health

2.1. Regulation, enforcement, monitoring and upgrading of the system to recognise, diagnose and report occupational diseases.

Measures:

  • 2.1.1. Drafting, adoption and enforcement of regulations governing the recognition, diagnosis and reporting of occupational diseases.
  • 2.1.2. Revision of the regulation on preventive medical examinations.
  • 2.1.3. Development of expert bases for adopting a regulation on biological monitoring of workers’ exposure to hazardous chemical substances.

2.2 Implementing, monitoring and upgrading workplace physical and mental health promotion programmes aimed at preventing chronic diseases and maintaining the ability to work.

Measures:

  • 2.2.1. Setting up a national platform for providing expert support to employers for the implementation of workplace health promotion programmes.
  • 2.2.2. Development and delivery of training programmes for employers to promote workplace health, tailored to small enterprises.
  • 2.2.3. Promotion of examples of good practice for workplace health promotion, particularly examples of good practice from small enterprises.

2.3. Setting up mechanisms for early detection and assistance in the event of work-related mental strain

Measures:

  • 2.3.1. Development of practical guidelines for the early detection of work-related mental strain.
  • 2.3.2. Approach to concluding a social partners’ agreement on work-related stress prevention.
  • 2.3.3. Approach to concluding a social partners’ agreement on implementing the European Social Partners’ Autonomous Framework Agreement on Active Ageing and an inter-generational approach.
  • 2.3.4. Development and implementation of training programmes for managers on measures regarding work organisation and treatment of people at work to improve the working environment and reduce the presence of psychosocial risks.
  • 2.3.5. Development and implementation of a campaign programme to identify, detect and help prevent employee burnout.
  • 2.3.6. Promotion of scientific and research work relating to psychosocial risks in the workplace.

2.4. Adapting workplaces to prevent musculoskeletal disorders; reducing sick leave absence due to musculoskeletal disorders by 5% in the next 10 years.

Measure:

  • 2.4.1. Development and implementation of a programme of targeted supervision campaigns, consulting of the Labour Inspectorate and other competent inspection authorities regarding the correct use and implementation of regulations governing the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders, high-quality risk

2.5. Setting up mechanisms to assist workers when returning to work after long-term illness.

Measures:

  • 2.5.1. Development and implementation of training programmes for employers on how to recognise labour law and health consequences of chronic diseases in workplaces and how to adapt workplaces.
  • 2.5.2. Preparation and implementation of training programmes for occupational health providers, expert workers.
  • 2.5.3. Collection and dissemination of information on measures and good practices intended to facilitate workers’ return to work after long-term illness.
  • 2.5.4. Development of practical guidelines to assist workers when returning to work after long-term illness.

2.6. Ensuring high-quality implementation of expert tasks by occupational medicine practitioners.

Measures:

  • 2.6.1. Conducting a situation analysis in occupational medicine and the adoption of suitable systemic changes.
  • 2.6.2. Adoption of quality standards in occupational medicine.
  • 2.6.3. Development and implementation of a programme of targeted supervision campaigns and consultation with inspection authorities regarding the quality and suitability of performance of expert tasks in occupational health services.
  • 2.6.4. Review and update of national legislation with the objective of reducing administrative burdens, when this is possible, particularly for micro and small employers.

3. Strategic objectives aimed at promoting a culture of prevention in occupational safety and health practice and taking into account the diversity of workers.

3.1 Running of thematic campaigns aimed at promoting a culture of prevention in the working environment.

Measures:

  • 3.1.1. Development and implementation of a programme of national campaigns aimed at promoting a culture of prevention in occupational safety and health practice.
  • 3.1.2. Continued participation in European Healthy Workplaces Campaigns implemented at the initiative of the EU-OSHA.
  • 3.1.3. Preparation of material with fundamental principles of culture of prevention in occupational safety and health practice.

3.2. Introduction of health and safety at work and healthy lifestyle into education at all levels and disciplines.

Measure:

  • 3.2.1. Development and implementation of a modern programme for introducing occupational safety and health into education, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the National Education Institute Slovenia, and other relevant institutions.

3.3. Promotion of respect for diversity when ensuring occupational safety and health; promotion of providing workplaces for all generations and of intergenerational cooperation.

Measures:

  • 3.3.1. Development of practical guidelines for assessing risk while taking into account workers’ diversity – particularly when considering differences in gender, age and reduced work capacity, including special risks to which migrant workers and posted workers are exposed.
  • 3.3.2. Consideration of special risks to which certain groups of workers are exposed (e.g. pregnant workers, workers with disabilities, workers with reduced work capacity, elderly and young workers, migrant workers, posted workers, and women) when preparing practical OiRA e-tools for risk assessment.
  • 3.3.3. Development of practical guidelines for managing occupational safety and health, taking into account the age structure, and the promotion of intergenerational cooperation.
  • 3.3.4. Introduction and promotion of risk assessment that takes into account the particular workplace characteristics of older workers.
  • 3.3.5. Development and implementation of training programmes for managerial and HR staff for intergenerational cooperation.

4. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring health and safety for workers working in new forms of work employment

4.1 Raising the awareness of workers engaged in new forms of work and employment relationships about the basics of health and safety at work.

Measures:

  • 4.1.1. Planning and running an OSH campaign for workers engaged in new forms of work and employment relationships.
  • 4.1.2. Promotion of lifelong learning in occupational safety and health, including the promotion of exchanging knowledge and experience between younger and older workers through mentoring and reverse mentoring.

4.2. Dissemination of the latest knowledge on changing working environments and new forms of work and employment.

Measures:

  • 4.2.1. Informing the general public and professional circles of the latest research findings on new forms of work and employment implemented/to be implemented by ILO, Eurofound, EU-OSHA and other research institutions.

5. Strategic objectives aimed at promoting social dialogue in the field of health and safety at work

5.1. Promotion of social dialogue on occupational safety and health (Priority for 2021–2022).

Measures:

  • 5.1.1. Development and implementation of training programmes for employers, employees and their representatives for social dialogue on safety and health in organisations.
  • 5.1.2. Conclusion of social agreements in fields which contribute to improving occupational safety and health.

6. Other tasks foreseen by the ReNPVZD18-27

6.1 Regulations governing occupational safety and health.

Measures:

  • 6.1.1 Regulations and guidance on occupational safety and health.
  • 6.2 Statistics on occupational safety and health.

Measures

  • 6.2.1 Evaluation of administrative and survey sources of statistical data on work accidents, work injuries, sick leave, occupational diseases and work-related health problems.
  • 6.2.2 Renovation of the statistical monitoring system for that area.

6.3 Analyses, evaluations and drafting of implementing documents for the ReNPVZD18-27.

Measures

  • 6.3.1 Evaluation of the implementation of the Action Plan to the ReNPVZD18-27 for the 2021–2023 period.
  • 6.3.2 Drafting of implementing documents.

Actors and stakeholders

The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of Health determine the policy and priorities in the field of health and safety at work, set the rules and ensure these rules are correctly and consistently implemented in practice in consultation with the tripartite Economic and Social Council.

The Economic and Social Council participates in the preparation of legislation and provides opinions, recommendations and incentives for the adoption of new or amendment of the applicable regulations on health and safety at work.

The key holders of measures for realising objectives defined in this National Programme are the:

  • Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
  • Ministry of Health,
  • Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia,
  • Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, and National Education Institute,
  • National Institute of Public Health and Statistical Office.
  • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology,
  • University Medical Centre Ljubljana – Institute of Occupational, Traffic and Sports Medicine - IOTSM,
  • PRIZMA – Foundation for the Improvement of Employment Opportunities

Other ministries and bodies within the ministries also participate in realising the set objectives:

  • OSHC
  • Social partners
  • Project partners of the Association of Employers of Slovenia, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Štajerska
  • Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economic Development and Technology
  • National Institute of Public Health
  • Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economic Development and Technology
  • UASES
  • Institute of Occupational, Traffic and Sports Medicine
  • National Education Institute
  • The Ljubljana Association of Safety Engineers
  • Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia
  • Chamber of Nursing and Midwifery Services of Slovenia – The Nurses and Midwives Association of Slovenia
  • AOTSM
  • National network for cooperation with the EU-OSHA
  • University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • MIZŠ
  • The Cohesion Region of Western Slovenia:
    • National Institute of Public Health, Chamber of Craft and Entrepreneurship of Slovenia, The Angela Boškin Faculty of Health Care
  • The Cohesion Region of Eastern Slovenia:
    • Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Styria, Chamber of Craft and Entrepreneurship of Slovenia

Resources and time frame

Time frame of the National Programme is 2018-2027; however, on the basis of the evaluation of the three 3-year action plans a new national programme can be sumbitted earlier.

The Action Plan for the Implementation of the Resolution on the National Programme of Health and Safety at Work 2018-2027 further defines the measures, the responsible institute and the time frame of the action for 2021 to 2023 (second three years action plan).

The estimated funds planned for the individual actions are set out in the action plan.

Evaluation/lessons learned

The monitoring of the implementation of the National Programme and individual measures will be determined in more detail in three-year action plans. Every three years an analysis of the implementation of the action plan will be prepared. It will serve as a basis for the drawing up of the next third three-year action plan. However, if the conditions in the labour market and, consequently, health and safety at work in Slovenia change radically, a proposal will be made for the adoption of a new national programme.

The monitoring and evaluation of this National Programme is based on statistical data collected on the basis of legislation. When this is possible, direct impact indicators are used. They are not specified in the programme.

At the end of each three-year period for which the action plan will be adopted, an analysis of the implementation of the action plan will be prepared. On the basis of the analysis, a new three-year action plan or proposal will be made to supplement this national programme, or if the labour market situation and, consequently, in the field of occupational safety and health in Slovenia are changed, the proposal for the adoption of a new national programme is made.

Ex ante indicators for the years 2021 to 2023

Monitoring indicators are defined for each action and mentioned in the action plan.

Relationship to EU Strategic Framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027

The Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work 2018-2027 was adopted on 27 March 2018, before adoption of the EU Strategic Framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027. However, the three 3-year action plans made it possible to adapt the programme to the EU Strategic Framework. The Action Plan was discussed by the tripartite National Council of Safety and Health before its adoption and it was concluded that there is no need for a new national strategic document, as the existing one adequately responds to the challenges and key objectives identified by the EU Strategic Framework; furthermore, there is a close link between the priorities and activities mentioned in the EU Strategic Framework and our Action Plan.

Examples:

Key objective 1 of the EU Framework is covered by strategic objectives

  • 2.2 Implementing, monitoring and upgrading workplace physical and mental health promotion programmes aimed at preventing chronic diseases and maintaining the ability.
  • 2.3. Setting up mechanisms for early detection and assistance in the event of work-related mental strain.
  • 2.4. Adapting workplaces to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, reducing sick leave absence due to musculoskeletal disorders by 5% in the next 10 years assessment and workplace health promotion.
  • 3.3 Introduction and promotion of risk assessment that takes into account the particular workplace characteristics of older workers
  • 4.1 Raising the awareness of workers engaged in new forms of work and employment relationships about the basics of health and safety at work

Key objective 2 of the EU Framework can be found in the strategic objectives:

  • 1.2. Ensuring the safe use of hazardous chemical substances in work processes and replacing hazardous chemicals with less hazardous ones
  • 3.3 Promotion of respect for diversity when ensuring occupational safety and health; promotion of providing workplaces for all generations and of intergenerational cooperation

Key objective 3 of the EU Framework is tackled in the startegic objective and measure:

  • 2.1. Regulation, enforcement, monitoring and upgrading of the system to recognise, diagnose and report occupational diseases
  • 2.1.1.2. Setting up a system to recognise occupational diseases, including the training of all stakeholders (Concurrently, new risks are emerging, e.g. the COVID-19 epidemic. The Rules will be updated taking into consideration the professional guidelines of occupational medicine, good practice in comparable European countries, and the characteristics of the existing Slovenian healthcare for workers and changes to it.)

References

  1. Resolution on national programme for safety and health at work, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, 18 December 2003. Available at: [1]
  2. Occupational Health and Safety Act, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, 13 July 1999. Available at: [2]
  3. Resolucija o nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu 2018–2027 (ReNPVZD18–27) (Uradni list RS, št. 23/18). Available at: [3]
  4. Akcijski načrt za izvajanje resolucije o nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu 2018-2027 v prvem triletnem obdobju (2018-2021). Available at: [4]

Contributors

Palmer, e.schmitzfelten