Anti-crisis shield: new deadlines and forms of OHS trainings

An amendment to the Act on the anti-crisis shield adopted by the Sejm changed the existing rules of conducting OHS trainings during the coronavirus epidemic.

OHS training – what has changed because of the pandemic?

The amendment to the Act on special measures for preventing, counteracting and combating COVID-19 has introduced new approaches and deadlines for health and safety trainings.

Initial health and safety trainings

For the duration of a state of epidemic or an epidemic hazard, initial health and safety trainings (general and workplace instruction) may be fully provided through electronic means of communication, i.e. remotely.

The exception to this is training for workplace instruction of a person being employed or transferred to a worker`s position or to a post where exposure to dangerous agents occurs. This exception also applies to apprentices and students undergoing apprenticeship.

General instruction (min. 3 lesson hours) in the form of guided self-study or a seminar may be conducted using electronic means of communication, with employees being provided with (electronic) materials enabling them to become familiar with basic health and safety regulations:

  • included in the Labour Code,
  • of collective agreements or work regulations,
  • applicable in the given company,
  • and the rules for first aid in the event of an accident.

Periodic health and safety trainings

The new regulations provide for the extension of periodic occupational health and safety training validity to a maximum of 60 days from the date of cancellation of the state of an epidemic or epidemic hazard for the trainings which had to be conducted during one of these states or within 30 days of their cancellation.

Moreover, it is also permitted to carry out remotely, in the form of guided self-education or a seminar (min. 8 lesson hours), periodic trainings for workers employed in working positions, whereby such workers should receive (electronically) a set of materials updating and supplementing their knowledge and skills, as well as receive the necessary range of materials concerning the hazards and methods of protection against those hazards, related to the work performed, and the rules of conduct in case of an accident at work.

Upon cancellation of the state of epidemic or epidemic hazard, employers are obliged to immediately conduct an examination to check the level of knowledge acquired by participants in the remote periodic training and their competence to perform or organise work in accordance with health and safety provisions and rules.

IMPORTANT: Employers’ actions related to occupational health and safety trainings taken during the state of epidemic or epidemic hazard should not reduce the level of occupational safety of workers. However, at the same time they should reduce the risk of further spread of coronavirus.

See also: Coronavirus: applications for exemption from ZUS contributions and downtime benefits only online

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