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Are you interested in Health and Safety Documentation?
Have you ever wondered how many documents your company has? 10, 100, 1000, or more? How many of them comply with the current legal requirements? Do the provisions outlined in these documents reflect in practice? Similar questions can be raised regarding the development of individual documents that define workplace safety standards. We realize that it’s not just ‘paper’ that improves workplace safety in a company, but rather the implementation of required principles in practice. However, in many cases, we should ensure the proper drafting and documentation of procedures, instructions, and regulations.
How should the mandatory health and safety documentation in a company look like in order to be prepared for a State Labor Inspectorate inspection?
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HEALTH AND SAFETY DOCUMENTATION IN THE COMPANY – WARSAW AND SURROUNDINGS. WHAT SHOULD IT CONTAIN?
Are there differences between occupational health and safety documentation in a small company compared to that in a large organization? The first thing that comes to mind is the amount of formalities – the greater the number of employees and the broader scope of activities, the more documents we need to keep track of. Besides having them, it’s particularly important that all required information is included, ensuring familiarity with them, and ensuring proper archiving. We’ve compiled a list of 8 key aspects crucial for occupational health and safety documentation, including:
- risk assessment;
- occupational health and safety instructions;
- training documentation;
- post-accident documentation;
- documentation regarding hazardous substances;
- results of reviews and measurements.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY DOCUMENTATION REGARDING RISK ASSESSMENT
Did you know that an employer is obliged to assess and document occupational risks present in workplaces and inform employees about them? Additionally, after conducting the assessment, it’s necessary to implement essential preventive measures to reduce occupational risks. Examples include:
- the assessment of the risk associated with the possibility of the occurrence of explosive atmospheres in workplaces, also known as ‘risk assessment’;
- explosion risk assessment;
- assessment of working conditions at screen monitors.
Know that the employer is responsible for assessing the occupational risks of each position in the company. However, he is not obliged to carry it out personally, he can designate dedicated people to do it, who, for example:
- knew and understood the principles of occupational risk assessment;
- had the knowledge necessary to identify hazards at the evaluated positions;
- knew the principles of applying protective measures to prevent hazards;
- were able to assess the harmful consequences of existing hazards.
If you need advice on developing and documenting the occupational risk assessment process, seek help from EHS Consulting specialists.
Occupational Health and Safety Instructions, i.e., What Arises from the Labor Code
You should know that according to Art. 209(2). § 1 of the Labor Code: ‘In the event of a potential threat to health or life, the employer is obliged: 2) to promptly provide employees with instructions enabling, in case of immediate danger, the cessation of work and moving away from the hazard to a safe place.’ Proper management of occupational health and safety documentation should therefore be based on preparing procedures for ordinary situations as well as proper planning for responding to emergencies and exceptional conditions such as fire, explosion, etc. Even in the case of occupational health and safety documentation in a small company, it’s important to remember about position-specific instructions.
According to Art. 237(4) § 2 of the Labor Code: ‘The employer is obliged to issue detailed instructions and guidelines concerning safety and hygiene at workstations. Instructions should be adequate to the nature of the work conducted and the type of activities of a given enterprise. Only with internally prepared instructions can we better manage safety during specific work processes.
Occupational Health and Safety Training Documentation for Companies in Warsaw
During their employment, employees undergo various training sessions, including those related to workplace safety. Starting from the initial occupational health and safety training, completion of which is confirmed by an initial training card, and proceeding to periodic occupational health and safety training, for which the training organizer issues relevant certificates. This is just one example of the documents we most frequently encounter. However, they may vary depending on the organization.
Occupational health and safety training documentation may also include information about: completion of first aid pre-medical training, acquisition of necessary knowledge and skills in evacuation and fire fighting, or attesting to attendance in thematic training, for example, in storing and using hazardous substances or working at heights.
Post-accident Occupational Health and Safety Documentation for Companies in Warsaw
Has there been an accident at your company or has your employee had an accident on their way to/from work? For this purpose, having post-accident documentation is essential and it needs to be properly archived. The applicable regulations specify a series of obligations that the employer should fulfill in the event of an accident at their company:
- providing first aid to the injured;
- securing the accident site;
- establishing a post-accident team;
- determining the circumstances and causes of the accident;
- preparing and approving a post-accident report;
- preparing the statistical accident form for GUS (Central Statistical Office);
- identifying preventive measures and recommendations.
The circumstances and causes of the accident are determined by a two-person post-accident team appointed for this purpose by the employer. If the employer cannot fulfill the obligation to establish a two-person post-accident team due to a small number of employed workers, the circumstances and causes of the accident are determined by a post-accident team consisting of the employer and an external specialist. The template for the document concerning the circumstances and causes of the accident is strictly defined by the regulation of the Minister of Economy and Labour dated September 16, 2004.
If there has been an accident at your workplace or during the commute to or from work, please contact us. We will visit your workplace in Warsaw or nearby areas and then ensure the proper conduct of the initial post-accident procedure. Our collaboration doesn’t end with just preparing the protocol. To ensure high safety standards in your company and continual improvement and enhancement of safety culture, we’ll advise on preventive measures to implement.
H&S DOCUMENTATION RELATED TO THE USE OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES
Each one of us is a user of chemical substances. However, when it comes to using harmful substances to health in the workplace (regardless of whether the substance is purchased for personal use, such as cleaning, or for production purposes), we are obliged to obtain a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) from the manufacturer. Information provided by the manufacturer of a given chemical substance directly translates into several obligations for us as users, including
- fire procedure;
- procedure in case of accidental release to the environment;
- handling of substance/product and its storage;
- exposure control;
- personal protective measures;
- waste management;
- transportation information.
What is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are types of documents issued by manufacturers of chemical substances classified as hazardous. The obligation to provide them along with the substance stems from the European Parliament Regulation 1907/2008, commonly known as REACH. The regulation specifies when to develop the sheet and what information should be included on it. It’s important to note that safety data sheets apply exclusively to hazardous substances, not to all chemical substances in general. Therefore, in the case of substances other than hazardous ones, the manufacturer is not required to issue an SDS, and users of such substances cannot demand it.
If your company uses chemical substances and you need advice on their safe use, storage, and transportation, contact EHS Consulting.
LIST – WHAT SHOULD IT CONTAIN AND WHY IS IT CRUCIAL FOR H&S DOCUMENTATION?
Besides having cards containing information about health-hazardous chemicals, another equally important occupational health and safety document in Warsaw and all other cities are lists. One could say they are a set of rules applicable in a given facility, which cover specific issues related to work execution. These include, among others:
- work prohibited for women (as an attachment to the regulations, if exists);
- work prohibited for minors (as an attachment to the regulations, if exists);
- dedicated work tasks to be performed by at least two persons;
- particularly hazardous tasks occurring in the company.
By having such precisely developed lists within the company, we’re able to avoid confusion in case of sudden unforeseen situations. Importantly, we increase the level of safety and comfort for employees. In the aforementioned occupational health and safety document, two more pieces of information should be included – about who will provide first aid, conduct evacuations, and handle fire control in case of necessity.
RESULTS OF INSPECTIONS AND MEASUREMENTS – HEALTH AND SAFETY DOCUMENTATION FROM INSPECTIONS CARRIED OUT
Besides being aware of how to ensure our safety and that of others, using devices, machinery, or even facilities that are appropriately adapted also plays a crucial role in this matter. Therefore, it’s essential to supplement the occupational health and safety documentation with recently conducted inspections and measurements to rely on up-to-date data concerning:
- building structures;
- result of electrical installation review (should take place no less than once every 5 years);
- chimney flues;
- emergency lighting and workplace lighting;
- firefighting equipment – abbreviated as firefighting equipment.
RECORDS – COLLECTIVE HEALTH AND SAFETY DOCUMENTATION WARSAW
Record keeping is a must for any manufacturing company. It contains practically all the most important issues we have mentioned so far. In a sense, we can say that it is a collection of information that is crucial for safety in the workplace. Health, safety and fire safety documentation is an element on which we are able to rely for many years, and thus it is very often the basis of decisions made. Few people like to prepare extensive and detailed reports, but to ensure the highest possible level of safety, it is simply essential. This can be done in the traditional way on paper, in Excel, or using automated tools available on the market.
What records should be included in the prepared documents?
- Workplace accident register.
- Occupational disease register.
- Register of tasks exposing employees to contact with hazardous substances.
- Register of tasks exposing employees to harmful biological agents classified as group 3 or 4 hazards.
- Register of tasks involving contact with substances, preparations, agents, or technological processes with carcinogenic or mutagenic effects.
- Register of results from examinations and measurements of harmful factors present in the company – the register’s template is determined by the Minister of Health’s regulation from February 2, 2011.
- Register of machines and equipment subject to technical supervision, including their recent inspections.
- Register of completed occupational health and safety training.
- Register of medical certificates issued for purposes outlined in the Labor Code – template regulated by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare’s regulation from May 30, 1996.
A FEW WORDS TO SUM UP – HEALTH AND SAFETY DOCUMENTATION OF COMPANIES IN WARSAW
The obligation to keep records is imposed by the Labor Law Code – so it is a necessity. It is also worth keeping in mind the issues included in the employer’s ordinance, which should also be included in health and safety documents. Its content may vary depending on the nature of the company and the activities it conducts – examples of employer’s orders include: the allocation of work clothes and footwear and personal protective equipment, as well as information on the occupational health and safety service established in the company, i.e. employees designated to provide first aid.
If you want your occupational health and safety documentation to be professionally developed, and your employees aware of existing risks and how to act in case of an accident, we can assist you. We’ll handle the implementation of efficient procedures for the safe use of chemical substances. Additionally, we’ll prepare a risk assessment regarding chemical factors and provide training for your staff – EHS Consulting, your occupational health and safety service.