OSH system at national level - Czech Republic

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  IOM

Ferenc Kudász, Hungarian Labour Office; Šárka Vlková, Výzkumný ústav bezpečnosti práce

Occupational safety and health legislative framework

In the Czech Republic the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms – Article 28 of No. 2/1993 Collection of laws (Coll.), – which is second only to the Constitution, states that employees have the right to satisfactory work conditions. [1] Every economically active person is covered by national legal regulations that require safe work and protection of health. This means that not only employees, but also members of the armed services, special activities and self-employed persons are covered by OSH legislation.

The European Framework Directive [2] was transposed into the Labour Code (Act No. 262/2006 Coll.), Part Five dealing with occupational health and safety. There are significant OSH-related provisions also in other parts of the Law. [3] Act No. 309/2006 Coll. on further requirements on occupational health and safety completes the Labour Code and specifies several details which also ensure harmonisation to several European directives. [4] The OSH legislation emphasizes the responsibility of the employer to ensure a safe and healthy working environment, the general principle of risk prevention and ongoing risk assessment.

Due to the traditional distinction between safety at work and occupational health, in the Czech Republic the latter is regulated by the separate Act No. 258/2000 on public health protection, Section 7 dealing with protection of health at work. [5] Implementing regulation Decree No. 432/2003 Coll. contains essential complementary information. [6]

The implementation of further directives and national provisions on OSH is regulated by the decrees issued by the Government, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs or the Ministry of Health.

Main legislative acts:
Act No. 262/2006 Coll. on the Labour Code[3]
Act No. 309/2006 Coll. on further requirements on occupational health and safety[4]
Act No. 258/2000 on public health protection[5]

National strategy and programmes

In the Czech Republic, the "National policy of occupational safety and health" (Národní politika bezpečnosti a ochrany zdraví při práci České republiky)[7] is a long-term strategy issued as Government Resolution No. 475 in 2003.

In 2008, it was revised in accordance with the Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work. The National Policy was developed into specific assignments, which were gradually integrated into the National Action Programme of occupational safety and health, which is a two-year programme. The National Programme covers ten priority areas of the National Policy in accordance with "Occupational Safety and Health Strategic Framework 2014-2020". The program also liaises with the WHO Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health. The content is the result of the consensus of social partners, experts and authorities (Government Council for OSH).

The current National Action Programme of Occupational Safety and Health covering the period 2017–2018[8] is a close follow-up to the previous programmes and include ongoing actions from previous period as well as ten newly added tasks to responds to the needs in OSH practice in the Czech Republic. 

For the 2017–2018 period, the National Action Programme of OSH also reflects a part of measures from the "Occupational Safety and Health Strategic Framework 2014-2020", adopted by the Commission of the European Union on 6 June 2014, where the Commission calls on Member States to incorporate OHS priority objectives of the EU into national strategies.

The current National Action Programme is divided into seven key priorities. In addition three more priority measures have been defined in relation to occupational medicine, raising of public awareness and on promotion of OSH and international cooperation:

Introduction of a functioning system of occupational accident insurance

  • Measure 1: monitor the progress in the preparation of legal regulation of an accident insurance system and take part in its preparation, while promoting application of prevention, rehabilitation and related motivation instruments to improve the quality of OSH

Funding of OHS

  • Measure 2: prepare and discuss within the Council of the Government for OSH a draft update of the National Occupational Safety and Health Policy, including funding of its implementation.
  • Measure 3: to incorporate occupational safety and health in the operational programme Employment and the operational programme Research, Development and Education, with a focus on programmes of prevention and rehabilitation of occupational damage to health, when preparing the 2014–2020 period of the European Social Fund.

Prevention of occupational risks

  • Measure 4: prepare and submit a draft legal act to ensure safety of operation of technical equipment that poses an increased threat to life and health.
  • Measure 5: draw up and present a draft legal regulation to ensure a special qualification of operators of construction machinery that pose an increased threat to employees' life and health, following the above mentioned regulation on safety of operation of work equipment. 
  • Measure 6: draw up a draft update of the Government Decree on safety and health signs.
  • Measure 7: draw up a draft update of the Government Decree on safety and health in animal husbandry.
  • Measure 8: draw up a draft update of the list of occupational diseases.

Safety and health of children, pupils and students

  • Measure 9: present a draft legal regulation to ensure safety and health of children, pupils and students at schools and in educational facilities pursuant to Section 29 of Act No. 561/2004, on pre-school, primary, secondary, advanced vocational and other education.
  • Measure 10: prepare a draft legal regulation of university students' safety and health, including record-keeping and documentation of their injuries occurred during their studies.
  • Measure 11: Draw up a draft National Strategy of Health and Safety at Schools for Children, Pupils and Students

Rehabilitation of workers after occupational injury and occupational disease

  • Measure 12: monitor application of a systemic solution of all-inclusive rehabilitation of persons after industrial injury and occupational disease aiming for a reduction of social and economic consequences of occupational damage to health and for reintegration into the working process.

OHS education and training

  • Measure 13: the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will continue to take part in the relevant sectoral councils that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports delegated to create occupational qualifications, process new occupational qualifications or review the existing OSH occupational qualifications.
  • Measure 14: continue preparing methods, techniques, or teaching materials for further education of qualified OSH experts according to the Act No. 309/2006 and to cooperate in this matter with holders of accreditation according to this law.
  • Measure 15: conduct a comparison of various national OSH legislation of the EU Member States according to the requests in relation to the development of relevant legislation of the Czech Republic.
  • Measure 16: analyse the responsibility of OSH experts, physical entities, qualified according to the Act No. 309/2006 Coll. for their activities and relevant professional liability insurance.
  • Measure 17: draw up a draft of a requirement of professional qualification for “Specialist in Ergonomics” as a part of the National System of Professions and to prepare an accredited training programme for the said profession.

Research and development

  • Measure 18: promote a re-establishment of the research funding system directly in the respective departments so that each department could have a direct influence on assignment and progress of research and development projects, including the highest qualitative results evaluation indicators.
  • Measure 19: carry out and impact of Industry 4.0 respective Employment 4.0. on the field of OSH.
  • Measure 20: prepare a draft update the priorities of OSH research and development in relation to the challenges and key objectives of the EU OSH Strategic Framework 2014–2020. To discuss these priorities within the Council of the Government for OSH and recommend specific measures to implement them.
  • Measure 21: continue OSH research when working with nanomaterials – monitoring of work with nanomaterials as part of health supervision by the state, research of health impacts of exposure to nanomaterials, development of methods of exposure measuring and estimation, development of prevention instruments (PPE)
  • Measure 22: continue research of musculoskeletal diseases with a focus on work-related diseases of upper limb, development of burden quantification methods and ergonomic prevention instruments.
  • Measure 23: develop occupational and physiological standards adapted for the ageing population with regard to assessment of capacity to work.
  • Measure 24: update a recommendation on prevention of psychological stress when working in night or irregular working shifts - to initiate a research project in the said field.
  • Measure 25: draw up a proposal for establishment of an expert group for the assessment of very complicated cases of recognition of occupational diseases or the assessment of medical fitness to work and submit it for consideration to the Government Council for OSH. 

Occupational health services

  • Measure 26: continue to develop further existing training programmes and seminars for the improvement of qualification of providers of occupational health services and specialists assessing the medical fitness of pupils and students preparing for the future professions.
  • Measure 27: recommend to the providers of occupational health services qualified as general practitioners and specialized practitioners for child and students health care to complete a certified course for occupational health in the duration of minimum 150 hours.
  • Measure 28: strive to maintain basic scope of post graduate education in occupational health (4 years in the Member States of the EU), to publish as soon as possible a draft educational programme for the field of occupational health.

Public awareness and promotion of OSH

  • Measure 29: assist to national prevention programmes and competitions  “Safe Company”, “Professional for OSH”, “Coordinator for OSH at the Construction Site”, “Safe City”, “Safe School”, “Company Supporting Health” and “Golden Permon” aiming at improvement of OSH and working conditions in the Czech Republic and promote these programmes and competitions across Europe.
  • Measure 30: continue in the development of unified terminology for the field of OSH in the form of “Encyclopaedia of OSH” bearing in mind the activities of the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU-OSHA) - an OSH Wiki project, in cooperation with relevant stakeholders.

International cooperation

  • Measure 31: evaluate functioning of the national network of the Focal Point of the EU-OSHA and Advisory Committee for OSH attached to the European Commission and propose any changes in cooperation on the national level, if appropriate.
  • Measure 32:  materialize European information and promotion OSH campaigns in  a close cooperation with relevant Government authorities and departments and social partners, for example “Healthy Workplaces”, European network of companies supporting health, campaigns of the SLIC committee and to coordinate national campaigns aimed at employers to support healthy lifestyle of workers.

Social dialogue

While, in the broader sense, social dialogue is not, collective bargaining is governed by law. The Labour Code and the Act on Collective Bargaining have pertinent provisions. According to a survey, [9] social partners generally rate social dialogue positively as a means of regulating working conditions and regard its basis in law as sufficient. There are usually no trade union units in small firms and compliance with occupational health and safety standards is usually worse.

Regional committees for occupational safety and health are being established since 2012. They enable consultation between regional labour inspectorates, trade unions, and employers, local and regional self-administration. They help to realise the National OSH Policy and tailor it to the needs of the region concerned by planning, deciding, acting and evaluating together.

Social dialogue at national level

The Council of Economic and Social Agreement of the Government of the Czech Republic (Rada hospodářské a sociální dohody – RHSD) [10] was established by the Resolution of the Government No. 858 of 2003. [11] The Council reflects the diversified representation of social partners, and its task is strictly a consultative function. The Council participates in the elaboration of strategies in the area of OSH through its tripartite Task Force for occupational safety and health: Government Council for Safety and Health at Work (Rada vlády pro bezpečnost a ochranu zdraví při práci) [12]. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs hosts its Secretariat. The Council discusses proposals for strategies (in particular the National Policy of Occupational Safety and Health and the National Action Programme) and the concepts of activity of labour inspection and occupational health inspection. It initiates and discusses legislative measures in the field of OSH and is responsible for OSH-related issues of education.

The social partners include:
In tripartite negotiations within the framework of the Council of Economic and Social Agreement of the Czech Republic the following two bodies represent the employees’ side:

  1. The Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (Českomoravská konfederace odborových svazů – ČMKOS) [13] is a voluntary, open, independent, democratic confederation of trade unions protecting wage, working and living conditions and rights of employees.
  2. The Association of Independent Trade Unions (Asociace samostatných odborů – ASO) [14] is the second largest trade union confederation in the Czech Republic.

Employers and entrepreneurs are represented by three bodies:

  1. The Czech Chamber of Commerce (Hospodářská komora České republiky) [15] is an entity representing private entreprises that protects the interests of its members. Voluntarily joined small, medium and large-sized enterprises are associated in a network of regional chambers and trade associations (to a certain degree only since Chamber is not empowered to bargain collectively on behalf of its members).
  2. The Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (Svaz průmyslu a dopravy ČR – SP ČR) [16] is a voluntary, non-political and non-governmental organisation that represents a significant part of the Czech employers.
  3. The Confederation of Employers´ and Entrepreneurs´ Associations of the Czech Republic (Konfederace zaměstnavatelských a podnikatelských svazů ČR – KZPS ČR) [17] the second largest confederation represents the seven employers' associations from various sectors.</ref>

Social dialogue at sectoral level

Sectoral level social dialogue is bi-partite and takes place between the concerned trade unions and employers’ associations. Their focus is on collective bargaining and less on OSH. It is reported that unlike Czech-owned companies, certain foreign-owned firms refuse to take part in social dialogue at sectoral level. Not joining sectoral organisational structures helps them to avoid being covered by concluded higher-level collective agreements. [18]

Social dialogue at enterprise level

Employees participate in the solution of occupational safety and health issues through their trade union organization or their safety and health representative(s), detailed under Section 108 of the Labour Code[3]. Part 12 of the Labour Code specifies how to inform and consult employees and the ways of their representation – among others – in OSH-related issues. Co-operation between the employer and the employee representatives is obligatory. The law emphasizes the superiority of trade union representation: the duties and rights concerning employees’ roles in OSH and their representations are primarily delegated to trade unions. Collective agreements, especially at company level, address a wide range of issues related to labour law, including health and safety.

Only in case of a lack of trade union representation in the firm the employees can elect works council (rada zaměstnanců) or safety and health representative(s) (zástupci zaměstnanců), whose mandate lasts for three years. The maximum number of representatives in a council depends on the risks at the workplace and the number of employees. The final figure must be odd and range between three and fifteen. There must be at least one representative per ten employees. The employer must ensure appropriate conditions to the representatives in order to fulfil their information and consultation tasks, including provision of premises and equipment. Safety and health representatives must not be discriminated. Employees’ representatives have the right to consult the Labour Inspectorate and may call in external OSH expertise (e.g. from the trade union federation concerned).

The employer enables the election of employees' representatives on the basis of the proposal signed by at least the third of all employees. The process of the election is strictly detailed in the Law. If representatives are not elected then the employer must consult all workers directly. Unfortunately, in most small companies and in some medium-sized enterprises there is no trade union unit or an authorized safety and health representative to participate in OSH consultations.[19]

OSH infrastructure

OSH infrastructure scheme

Figure 1: The OSH infrastructure in the Czech Republic on an implementation level

Source: Overview by the authors

National competent bodies

OSH authorities and inspection bodies

Jurisdiction
In the Czech Republic occupational safety and occupational health has traditionally two distinct features. While the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí)[20] is responsible for occupational safety and labour inspection, the Ministry of Health (Ministerstvo zdravotnictví)[21] is competent for public health that includes occupational health and is in charge of occupational health inspection. Although this distinction is also followed by the executive agencies of the two ministries, they co-operate closely on international, national and regional levels in the field of OSH. The systems of administrative authorities are run from state budget. Both are authorized to impose sanctions if they find severe deviations during inspection activities.

State Labour Inspection Office (Státní úřad inspekce práce – SÚIP)[22]
Labour inspectorates were established as a separate authority in 2005 by Act No. 251/2005 Coll. on Labour Inspection, based on the predecessor Czech Office of Labour Safety. [23] The State Labour Inspection Office and its eight subordinated Regional Labour Inspectorates are concerned with the inspection of compliance with occupational safety and health protection, as well as the control of protection of labour relations and working conditions. Employers and employees can make advantage of the seminars and individual consultancy services provided by the central headquarters and the regional inspectorates.

Regional Health Offices (Krajské hygienické stanice)[24]
State Administration in protection of public health is regulated by Chapter Five of Act No. 258/2000 Coll.[5] The state public health supervision is exercised in practice by the Regional Health Offices. There are fourteen Regional Health Offices with 79 district offices (územní pracoviště). Amongst its various public health tasks the Offices classify works into categories, issue decisions, permits, or certificates concerning issues related to health at work and chemical safety. They perform inspections in the area of protection of health at work and surveillance of workplaces. The regional health offices offer consultancy services for interested parties on topics concerning health at work.

Several sectors have their own OSH inspection bodies with various special scopes and competencies, under the governance of respective ministries:

  • Ministry of Defence[25] – professional army services
  • Ministry of Interior – police and custom services
  • Czech Mining Authority[26] – underground mining and mineral extracting industries
  • National Institute of Public Health (Státní zdravotní ústav – SZÚ)[27]
  • State Office for Nuclear Safety (Státní úřad pro jadernou bezpečnost – SÚJB)[28] – nuclear power safety
  • Rail Authority (Drážní úřad)[29] – railways safety

OSH services

Part Five of the Labour Code clearly indicates that it is the employer’s responsibility to provide safe and healthy working conditions to its employees. The OSH duties of managers and supervisors within the company cannot be separated from their work tasks.[3] Section 7 of the Act on Public Health Protection deals with the protection of health at work[5]. The implementing legislation, Decree 432/2003 Coll. defines four categories of work activities based on the occurrence of occupational diseases and other qualities and effects of the risks (dangerous substances) at work. The employer proposes but it is the competent public health body that makes the final decision on the classification of work in the third or fourth category, according to Annex 1 of Decree 432/2003 Coll.[6]. These categories are:

  • Category 1 – unlikely to pose any health risk to the worker.
  • Category 2 – health damage due to working conditions cannot be excluded, however it can be predicted only under exceptional circumstances, namely taking into consideration the variability of individual sensitivity of the human being. I.e. these are works when the hygienic limits of working environment factors are not exceeded.
  • Category 3 – working environment factors exceed safe levels thus workers must use personal protective equipment or collective protective measures have to be adopted to minimise risks. Further works in which occupational diseases or work related diseases (if statistically significant) occur frequently.
  • Category 4 – no appropriate safeguards are available, there is a high risk of harm of workers' health. (E.g. underground mining, work with group 4 biological agents.)

The latter two are termed "hazardous work" (rizikové práce). The employer is obliged to provide stricter health surveillance for those working in dangerous jobs.[30]

OSH services
Section 3 of Act No. 309/2006 Coll.[4] specifies ways employers can utilise to execute their duties in risk management with reference to the actual risks, the experience and qualification of the employees and the number of workers employed. In small companies up to 25 employees the employer may perform tasks in risk management by himself/herself, if he/she has the "necessary knowledge", which is not closely specified. In other companies the employer is obliged to ensure the performance of these activities by a professionally competent person. For this competence it is necessary to pass a special exam at an accredited institution. In smaller companies (26 to 500 employees) the employer may himself perform these tasks, if he is professionally competent; otherwise he/she has to designate these tasks to a professionally competent employee or external OSH service.

Prerequisites for professional competence of individuals are:

  • at least secondary education with graduation certificate;
  • professional experience of at least 3 years, or at least 1 year if the individual received a degree in bachelor or master's degree in occupational safety and health at work;
  • successful completion of an examination of professional competence.

(A professional experience covers the period of activity performed in the field in which the person will provide services in the area of health and safety at work.) Conditions for obtaining professional competence including relevant knowledge are defined in detail by the legislation (Decree No. 592/2006 Coll.)[31]. The examination of professional competence is to be repeated every 5 years. All prescribed conditions also apply to persons who perform tasks in the risk prevention through external OSH services.

The employer shall provide information, time and means for the execution of the tasks, such as:

  • Risk identification, management and elimination (E.g. the employer shall organise a review of occupational safety and health at all premises at least once a year.)
  • Organisation of first-aid
  • Develop measures to be implemented in an emergency situations
  • Inform and train workers concerning possible OSH risks at the worksites
  • Inform workers on necessary and available occupational health care facilities
  • Provision of appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Provision of hygienic conditions at work
  • Investigation of accidents at work and occupational diseases
  • Submitting documents to the public health authority in order to classify work activities into risk categories (work categorisation)
  • Documentation, keeping records and reporting

as stipulated by respective legislation.

The employer and professionally competent persons shall cooperate with various partners while performing tasks of risk prevention, ranging from other experts (acting within their competence pursuant to special legal regulations) to trades unions and safety and health representatives of workers.[4]

Occupational health service (pracovnělékařské služby)[32]

According to Part Ten of the Labour Code the employer is obliged to provide occupational health care to the employees.[3] Act 373/2011 Coll. on specific health services also stipulates in the Part 2 requirements for the provision of preventive health care for employees and obligations of employers and employees in this respect.[33] The said act was last amended in 2017 (Act No. 202/2017 Coll.).  The amendment will enter to force November 1, 2017.  It specifies detailed rules for the performance of occupational health services (for recognition of occupational diseases, medical examination, assessment care for fit-to-work system, occupational health care to be provided by private employment agencies, etc.). In addition to that the amendment of § 92 of the Labour Code was adopted. It sets down the period of two years for medical examinations of workers working on night shifts.

The Czech legislation transposed the C161 Occupational Health Services Convention[34] by Decree No. 145/88 Dig.

Primary occupational health service may be provided by general practitioners and occupational health specialists: either as external contracted providers or as in-house preventive care units, within the frame of the Czech public health system or as a private company. Tasks of the occupational health services are:

  • helping the employer in risk assessment and management with a focus on health risks
  • advising on health related OSH issues (hygiene, protective equipment, planning, dangerous substances)
  • organisation of first-aid and emergency treatment
  • promotion of workability, participation in workplace health promotion
  • promotion of adaptation of work to the individual worker
  • focusing special preventive care on vulnerable groups of workers
  • assessing fitness-for-job[35]
  • carrying out preventive medical examinations (health surveillance)[36]

Detailed content of the occupational health services, requirements for carrying occupational health services and related documentation is stipulated in the Decree No. 79/2013 Coll. on occupational health services and some kinds of compulsory medical opinions

Compensation and insurance bodies

Decree No. 125/1993 Coll. lays down accident insurance rates and conditions.[37] This insurance is obligatory for everyone employing at least one employee and it covers the complementary employer’s liability for financial damage caused by work accidents and occupational diseases. The insurance fee has to be paid from the first day of employment. The rate, calculated on the basis of social contribution, is modified by the principal activity (sector) of the employer, set in Annex 2 of the Decree. The current system does not foster prevention. For years there are political debates carried out about the issue.  In 2006 Act No. 266/2006 Coll. that should stipulate conditions for the new system of occupational insurance [38], which would introduce a system with premiums based on the accident track record of the company and allocate funds for prevention.[39] was adopted but it never came to force. Finally in 2015 the act was repealed and until now it has not been replaced. However a new legislation is being prepared, however the outcome of the political discussion and agreement on the issue not yet known in 2017.

Currently Decree No. 125/1993 assigns two private insurance companies that provide accident insurance:

  1. The Czech Insurance Company (Česká pojišťovna)[40]
  2. Kooperativa Insurance Company (Kooperativa pojišťovna)[41]

The system does not cover self employed.

Their activity does not extend to prevention.

Government Regulation No. 290/1995 Coll. established a list of recognised occupational diseases.[42] Decree No. 104/2012 Coll.[43] lays down rules for procedure in recognition of occupational diseases and issued the list of approved medical facilities recognizing thereof.[44]

Still treatment of sick employees and social support, if necessary are covered by the national social and health insurance systems.

Other OSH bodies

Prevention Institutes

Centre of Occupational Health (Centrum hygieny práce a pracovního lékařství – CHPPL) [45]
The mission of the Centre is to study the effects of working conditions and occupational risks on health of workers and to act as an expert body for the Ministry of Health in the field of occupational health. It does research, provides expert background for legislation and maintains international co-operation, including the areas of health effects of work and working conditions, prevention, health promotion, diagnosis, therapy and medico-legal aspects of occupational and/or other work-related diseases. The Centre is an organizational unit of the National Institute of Public Health (Státní zdravotní ústav - SZÚ).[46]

The Occupational Safety Research Institute (Výzkumný ústav bezpečnosti práce – VÚBP)[47] is a public research institution founded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic. One of the key activities of VÚBP is the application of methods and means in the area of risk prevention relating to health and safety at work. The institute also focuses on education and promotion of OSH, and is a consultation centre for OSH expertise.

Professional associations

Czech Ergonomic Society (Česká ergonomická společnost)[48]
The mission of the non-governmental independent professional association of individuals is to promote the development of ergonomics and its application in practice. It brings together experts in developing and applying ergonomics in various areas of life and work, to contribute to the humanisation of human activity and to optimise the relationship between human abilities and the conditions for its activities and to cooperate with other organizations that have a similar focus.

Association of Occupational Safety and Fire Protection Technicians of the Czech Republic (Asociace techniků bezpečnosti práce a požární ochrany České republiky)[49]
The professional association for accredited education and vocational training of workers in occupational safety and fire protection brings together qualified individuals in the field of work safety with years of experience. Professional activities of the association are open to all legal entities and individuals doing business, especially to small and medium size businesses.

Chamber of OSH and Fire Protection of the Czech Republic (Komora bezpečnosti a ochrany zdraví při práci a požární ochrany České republiky)[50]
As a legal successor of the Guild member of the Chamber of Commerce, has become a guarantor for the fields of OSH and fire protection. The Chamber provides its members with professional services and supports their professional growth. There is a special “Information webpage for health and safety and fire protection” created, which provides information to all interested parties.

Association of Accredited and Authorized Organizations (Asociace autorizovaných a akreditovaných organizací – AAAO)[51]
The voluntary association of legal entities (Inspectorates) providing services in testing, certification, inspection, assessment, etc. for products, management systems, persons, processes, work activities, etc. (allowing free movement of goods with the EU). Members are primarily active in the controlled area in relation to the designation CE (as well as authorized persons notified sites operating in the EU), but also the quality of unregulated products, services, etc. as accredited bodies.

Czech Technology Platform on Industrial Safety – CZ-TPIS (Česká technologická platforma bezpečnosti průmyslu)[52]
The mission of this non-governmental association is to strengthen and develop industrial safety of industry and to identify the needs of the Czech Republic and subsequently to promote local businesses at the European level through ETPIS. With its activities it links industry, universities, and research and government authorities and creates a bridge between science, research and industry in the field of industrial safety.

Association of Safety Consultants and Experts (Asociace bezpečnostních poradců a znalců – ABPZ)[53]
The voluntary, non-profit and independent association aims to develop formal knowledge on transport safety.

Society of Occupational Medicine (Společnost pracovního lékařství) [54]
The society, a member of the Czech Medical Association of Jan Evangelista Purkyne brings together specialists in the field of occupational medicine, and provides among others opinions on the issues to the Ministry of Health, publishes guidelines and organises meetings or conferences

Education, training and awareness raising

Legally required training for OSH specialists

Safety and health representatives
The Labour Code obliges the employer to arrange training for trade union specialists or safety and health representatives. This issue is often covered by provisions in the company collective agreements.[3]

Professional competency (Odborná způsobilost)
Annex 2 of Act No. 455/1991 Coll. on trades licensing specifies the requirements to provide commercial OSH services, stipulating the conditions for obtaining a trade license to provide (external) OSH services.[55]

  • higher education in the field of OSH and one year experience in occupational safety or health, or
  • further vocational education and 2 years’ experience in occupational safety or health, or
  • completed secondary education and 3 years’ experience in occupational safety or health, or
  • a retraining certificate or other evidence of professional qualifications for the relevant work activities, issued by an accredited establishment, and 3 years of experience in occupational safety or health, or
  • certificate of professional competence as specified in Act No. 309/2006 Coll.

Paragraph 10 of Act No. 309/2006 Coll.[4] defines the professional competence required for a natural person (anyone that performs the OSH risk management tasks):

  • at least secondary education with a graduation certificate, and
  • professional experience
    • of at least 3 years, or
    • of 2 years if the natural person has completed tertiary professional education, or
    • of 1 year if the natural person has completed university education in a bachelor or masters study programme in the field of occupational health and safety;
  • certificate attesting that professional competency test has been passed.

Professional experience is deemed to be a period of activities performed in an area where the natural person will perform tasks concerning risk prevention or activities in the field of OSH,

The certificate is valid for 5 years and thereafter exams must be retaken.[4]

Special professional competency (Zvláštní odborná způsobilost)
The assembly, checking, maintenance and repair of dangerous equipment that poses increased level of risk to employees can be only executed by qualified persons, according to paragraph 11 of Act No. 309/2006 Coll. They must meet the following requirements detailed in other legislation: health, minimum age, professional qualification and experience acquired in a special training followed by a successful examination.[4] However the system is not fully functional until now. In parallel the old system of requirements for competency of physical and legal entities operating selected dangerous work equipment (electricity, pressure, lifting and gas) and technical inspection based on Act No. 174/1968 Coll., on state inspection in the field of safety at work and relevant secondary legislation is still in force. A new system is being prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in 2017.

University degree OSH training
VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, Faculty of Safety Engineering[56] provides university degree education in the field of occupational safety:

  • Occupational and Process Safety (BSc)
  • Safety Engineering (MSc)
  • Fire Protection Engineering and Industrial Safety (MSc)

Occupational health qualifications[57]
Occupational health care can also be provided by general practitioners due the low number of occupational health specialist physicians. There is a one-year additional basic training (150 hours) available for them on occupational health.

Specialisation in industrial hygiene or occupational medicine is applicable to work in the field of occupational health. A three-year course in occupational medicine is organised by the Institute for Postgraduate Medical Education (Institut postgraduálního vzdělávání ve zdravotnictví – IPVZ).[58] Decree No. 185/2009 Coll. established the content of current specialised training of physicians. Occupational medicine was a tertiary branch (2-years’ training) following the completion of a basic discipline focussing on hygiene and epidemiology.[59] From 2014 occupational medicine is also available as basic specialisation. [60] Within the frame of (life-long) continuing medical education physicians are required to participate in regular refresher trainings on a regular basis.

Assistants for public health protection: Continuing education is obligatory for assistants and occupational nurses.

Other vocational training

n.a.

Awareness raising networks

The Further Education Fund (Fond dalšího vzdělávání - FDV)[61] was established by the state to give strategic governmental objectives in the field of further education into practice, cover all its forms in order to make further education a separate, standard and generally accepted part of the educational system and provide support, guidance and information services for all relevant areas.

The Czech Focal Point, which is within the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, coordinates and manages the national occupational safety and health network and represents the country in the EU-OSHA network.[62] The Ministry has set up a national web page of the Czech Focal Point providing local information about the  issues of occupational safety and health.[3]

The web portal BOZPinfo[63] deals with OSH and environmental safety with a special focus on small and medium size enterprises. OSH resources available at BOZPinfo originate from a wide range of reliable sources (institutions within the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health including social partners and other bodies or professional associations) including the Focal Point of EU-OSHA. It circulates electronic newsletters and provide practical guidance for interested parties. The site is operated by the Occupational Safety Research Institute (Výzkumný ústav bezpečnosti práce – VÚBP).

Specialized technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

The Occupational Safety Research Institute (Výzkumný ústav bezpečnosti práce – VÚBP)[64] is a public research institution founded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic. The main activity of VÚBP is scientific and operational research, verification and application of methods and means in the area of risk prevention relating to health or life impairment of persons, the environment and patrimony, relating to work activities and improving well-being at work as well as quality of working life. VÚBP is the analytical and conceptual executive office for OSH issues. Further activities of the Institute involve development and maintenance of factual, bibliographical and reporting systems in OSH on national level; selected standardization, testing and certification tasks in the field of personal protective equipment, acting as an office for prevention of major accidents; training, education and promotion of OSH, consultation centre for OSH expertise. In the above-mentioned core areas the Institute also conducts publishing as well as business activities.

VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, Faculty of Safety Engineering (Fakulta bezpečnostního inženýrství VŠB – Technické univerzity Ostrava)[65] carries out scientific research with a focus on fire protection, industrial safety, occupational and process safety, engineering safety of persons and property and civil protection. It publishes the biannual periodical Transactions of the VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, Safety Engineering Series (Sborník vědeckých prací Vysoké školy báňské – Technické univerzity Ostrava, Řada bezpečnostní inženýrství) in Czech, Slovak and English.

Within the National Institute of Public Health, the Centre of Occupational Health (Centrum hygieny práce a pracovního lékařství – CHPPL) carries out occupational health related research.[66]

Standardization bodies

The Czech Office for Standards, Metrology and Testing (Úřad pro technickou normalizaci, metrologii a státní zkušebnictví – ÚNMZ)[67], which was established by Act No. 20/1993 Coll. on the Organisation of the State Administration in the Field of Standards, Metrology and Testing, is a state administration body responsible to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The competency of the office covers technical standardization, metrology, testing, harmonization of technical regulations and ensuring development and publication of Czech standards.

Institutions and organisations

Table 2: Main OSH institutions and organisations in the Czech Republic
Key actors in the Czech OSH dialogue Government Council for Safety and Health at Work (Rada vlády pro bezpečnost a ochranu zdraví při práci) [68]
Key social partners in the Czech OSH field Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (Českomoravská konfederace odborových svazů – ČMKOS) [69]
Association of Independent Trade Unions (Asociace samostatných odborů - ASO) [70]
Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (Svaz průmyslu a dopravy ČR - SP ČR) [71]
Czech Chamber of Commerce (Hospodářská komora České republiky) [72]
Confederation of Employers´ and Entrepreneurs´ Associations of the Czech Republic (Konfederace zaměstnavatelských a podnikatelských svazů ČR - KZPS ČR) [73]
OSH authorities and inspection services State Labour Inspection Office (Státní úřad inspekce práce) [74]
Regional Health Offices (Krajské hygienické stanice) [75]
Professional organisation of OSH services n.a.
Key compensation and occupational insurance bodies The Czech Insurance Company (Česká pojišťovna) [76]
Kooperativa Insurance Company (Kooperativa pojišťovna) [77]
Key prevention institutes Centre of Occupational Health (Centrum hygieny práce a pracovního lékařství - CHPPL) [78]
Occupational Safety Research Institute (Výzkumný ústav bezpečnosti práce – VÚBP) [79]
Key professional associations Czech Ergonomic Society (Česká ergonomická společnost) [80]
Association of Occupational Safety and Fire Protection Technicians of the Czech Republic (Asociace techniků bezpečnosti práce a požární ochrany České republiky) [81]
Chamber of OSH and fire protection of the Czech Republic (Komora bezpečnosti a ochrany zdraví při práci a požární ochrany České republiky) [82]
Association of Accredited and Authorized Organizations (Asociace autorizovaných a akreditovaných organizací) [83]
Czech Technology Platform on Industrial Safety - CZ-TPIS (Česká technologická platforma bezpečnosti průmyslu) [84]
Association of Safety Consultants and Experts (Asociace bezpečnostních poradců a znalců) [85]
Society of Occupational Medicine (Společnost pracovního lékařství) [86]
Key research institutes Occupational Safety Research Institute (Výzkumný ústav bezpečnosti práce – VÚBP) [87]
VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, Faculty of Safety Engineering [88]
Centre of Occupational Health (Centrum hygieny práce a pracovního lékařství - CHPPL) [89]
Key standardisation actor Czech Office for Standards, Metrology and Testing (Úřad pro technickou normalizaci, metrologii a státní zkušebnictví - ÚNMZ) [90]

Source: Overview by the authors

References

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Links for future readings

Bryndová, L., Pavloková, K., Roubal, T., Rokosová, M., Gaskins, M. & Ginneken, E., Czech Repbulic: Health system review. Health Systems in Transition. WHO, Copenhagen, 2009. Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/en/who-we-are/partners/observatory/health-systems-in-transition-hit-series/countries/czech-republic-hit-2009

Charles University in Prague (2009). The occupational medicine foundation in the Czechoslovakia. Retrieved 26 April 2012 from: http://nempov.lf1.cuni.cz/en/history

EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. OSH Monitoring Systems – Czech Republic Register of Accidents & Diseases. Retrived 05 June 2012 from: http://osha.europa.eu/en/topics/osm/reports/czech_system_001.stm

Eurofound (2010). Czech Republic: Industrial relations profile. Retrieved 26 April 2012 from: http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/country/czech.republic_4.htm

International Labour Organisation (2010). NATLEX – Czech Republic. Retrived 05 June 2012 from: http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex_browse.country?p_lang=en&p_country=CZE Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí (2012). Zákony, Nařízení Vlády, Vyhlášky (v platném znění). Retrieved 26 April 2012 from: http://www.mpsv.cz/ppropo.php?ID=IPZ000

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