Let’s start with the Labour Code. The requirement to create instructions is referred to in several places, including: Art. 209(2). § 1:
“In the event of a possible danger to health or life, the employer shall: 2) immediately provide employees with instructions enabling them, in the event of imminent danger, to stop work and to move away from the place of danger to a safe place.”
Such hazards may include: fire, explosion, or chemical substance leakage. The likelihood of such adverse events occurring varies, as they depend on many factors. However, we cannot treat them as totally improbable events. Preparing for the eventuality of such an occurrence and implementing appropriate instructions specifying the course of action should therefore be considered the right approach.
Further in Art. 237(4) § 2:
“The employer is obliged to issue detailed instructions and guidelines on occupational safety and health at workstations.”
The provision does not directly indicate the form in which the workplace instructions are to be drawn up, therefore it may be concluded that familiarisation with the instructions may take place in written or oral form.
However, as regards the confirmation of acquaintance with the work safety and hygiene regulations in force, the employee should do it in writing, which is confirmed in Art. 237(4) § 3:
“The employee is obliged to confirm in writing that he has become acquainted with the regulations and rules of occupational safety and health.”
The obligation to create occupational safety and health instructions also stems from specific provisions, including the Ordinance of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 26 September 1997 on general occupational safety and health regulations. § 41 indicates as follows
,,1. The employer is obliged to make available to employees, for their permanent use, up-to-date occupational health and safety instructions concerning:
technological processes used in the establishment and the performance of work associated with accident hazards or risks to employees’ health;
operation of machinery and other technical equipment
handling hazardous and dangerous materials;
provide first aid.
The instructions referred to in section 1 shall indicate, in a manner comprehensible to workers, the activities to be performed before starting the work, the principles and methods of safe performance of the work, the activities to be performed after completion of the work, and the emergency procedures to be followed in the event of danger to the life or health of workers. The instructions for work involving hazardous chemical substances and preparations shall take into account the information contained in the safety data sheets of those substances and preparations.”
POSITION MANUAL WARSAW
We are certainly able to indicate what work is performed and on which positions, which machines and equipment are used by employees in their daily work, whether hazardous materials are used and how the first aid system functions in the plant. Operating instructions for machines and equipment should be prepared on the basis of technical documentation provided by the manufacturer.
In point. 4 § 44 of the above mentioned Ordinance specifies the place where the first aid instructions are to be placed:
“at first aid points and at first aid kits, in visible places (…)”.
Reference to instructions is also made in § 51:
“(2) The assembly, disassembly and operation of machines, including their operation, should take place while observing the requirements of occupational safety and health and ergonomics, taking into account the instructions contained in the technical and operating documentation. (…)”
Particular attention was paid to hazardous materials: § 96:
,, 2. In warehouses, instructions shall be displayed specifying the method of storage, packaging, loading and transport of hazardous materials; the contents of the instructions shall be made known to the employees engaged in such work.”
If carcinogens, infectious biological and other agents hazardous to the health and life of workers are present in the work process, one of the employer’s obligations is to determine in the instructions appropriate rules of conduct in the event of unforeseen situations causing serious risks to workers.
Instructions are also required for the use of personal protective equipment. According to § 6 of ANNEX 2 of the Regulation on general health and safety at work:
,, 1. Personal protective equipment should be used for its intended purpose, except in special and exceptional situations – in accordance with the instructions provided by the employer. If necessary, in order to ensure the proper use of personal protective equipment, the employer should organise demonstrations of its use.”
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS – LEGAL REGULATIONS
Depending on the type of work performed or the activity of the entrepreneur, the preparation of instructions stems from various legal regulations. For example, in the case of construction work, the obligation to prepare instructions on safe performance of construction work results from § 2 of the Regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure of 6 February 2003 on occupational safety and health during construction work: “The contractor, prior to the commencement of construction works, is obliged to prepare an instruction on safe execution of construction works and familiarise employees with it in the scope of the works performed by them.”
The instructions may be prepared internally at the respective workplace or may be provided, for example, by the manufacturer of hazardous substances and preparations, machinery, tools, scaffolding, etc.
The scope of the instructions should relate to the specific nature of the work, e.g. in the case of assembly work on steel structures and large-sized prefabricated elements, they should be carried out on the basis of an assembly project and a bioz plan, by workers who are familiar with the assembly organisation instructions and the type of machinery and other technical equipment used (§ 214 of the above-mentioned Ordinance).
In many cases, instructions are often mentioned when talking about the use of machinery and equipment.
The way the instructions are prepared should enable the employee to understand them (user language, avoidance of complicated terminology or the use of explanations, concise presentation of the most important information).
Having many tasks to perform in a company, we may face a dilemma: “to buy a ready-made occupational health and safety instruction or to develop one on our own?”
On various websites we will come across many offers: machine station instructions, hairdresser’s health and safety instruction, office worker’s station instruction, computer work station instruction, workplace instructions. The question we can ask is whether it is worth buying a so-called ready-made product.
Personally, I would encourage you to try to prepare the instructions on your own, with the participation of people who have knowledge in the area we are analysing.
EHS Consulting provides advisory services in the area of preparation of documentation related to work safety, including occupational health and safety manuals.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY MANUAL IN WARSAW AND SURROUNDINGS – HOW DO WE PRODUCE IT?
We start with a header, marking the number of our document. If there are many documents in the organization, such a system will allow us to organize our documentation. It will be easier to find a proper instruction, we will know what it concerns and we will be able to determine its validity more efficiently.
On the first page, include information on persons who participated in the development of the manual (their role: drafting, reviewing, approving).
General provisions/introduction/introduction – regardless of how we call this point, we should indicate in it:
what the instruction concerns,
what place it has in the hierarchy of documents in force in the company (is it e.g. related to another document),
the legal basis (why such an instruction should be developed).
We indicate the legal requirements with respect to employees (required training, qualifications, etc.).
Rules when performing the work (described step by step, as if we were to perform the work ourselves 😊). If applicable (e.g. in the case of chemicals), outline storage and containment conditions (based on manufacturer’s instructions).
List hazards that may occur during the work, as well as emergency procedures.
Concluding remarks (we can give information, for example, when the instruction is no longer valid).
This is our proposal, which we can follow when drawing up health and safety instructions. However, it is important to take into account the diversity of work processes and the specific nature of the works and therefore, the instructions should be prepared by a team.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING WORK SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS IN WARSAW AND ITS SURROUNDINGS – PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US.
Remember that only in the case of instructions prepared within the organisation, are we able to better manage safety during individual work processes. Do you have any questions? Haven’t we mentioned something? Still not sure what a workplace manual should look like? Call or write to us – we will explain everything. Feel free to use our services – EHS Consulting.