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Working Environment: Italy Seeks Even Safer Workplaces
Safety and Health at Work are an issue taken very seriously in Italy, and the onus is on employers to cut down job-related risks.(PresseBox) ( Berlin, )
Under articles 28 and 29 Decree 81/08, companies are required to perform a risk assessment in order to determine which hazards workers face in their specific working environments and how big are the risks involved. This analysis is the job of the employer, and it cannot be delegated or outsourced. The employer is also obliged to consult with representative of the workers’ council (“rappresentante dei lavoratori”, or RLS). Companies employing less than 50 employees can make a risk assessment based on a standardized procedures developed by the Standing Advisory Committee on health and safety at work (Article 6 of Decree 81 / 2008) if workers are not subject to particular risk factors.
In order to limit liability, employers can appoint a safety representative (“Preposto”) who is responsible for making sure the company is in compliance with its legal obligations. The Preposto must also inform his line manager in case of violations and ensure that only properly trained employees have access to areas of high risk.
Under Italian law, certain workers must be subject to health checks paid for by the employer. Typical examples include workers exposed to hazardous substances such as biological or chemicals agents. The employer must also ensure that each worker receives sufficient training in health and safety procedures.
Violations of these rules, especially when they lead to injury or death, can lead to serious penalties, fines and even jail time for executives found culpably negligent. Even minor violations can lead to costly administrative fines. In case of serious and repeated safety violations, the entire company or a subsidiary can be closed down by the authorities.
Fabrizio Bianchi Schierholz, ECOVIS Bianchi Schierholz, Montani & Partners, Milano, Italia
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