Safety at Work: Legal Regulations and Consolidated Safety Act


Safety at work: the regulatory framework

Safety at work is an essential aspect for every business organization and it is no coincidence that the legislator has intervened many times to deal with this matter, making changes and additions from time to time.

Safety at work is currently regulated by a specific decree, also known as TUSL or Testo Unico Sicurezza Lavoro, a text that in 2008 repealed many previous laws concerning safety at work, incorporating and integrating them into a single body of legislation.

Among the main laws repealed are:

  • Legislative Decree 626 of 19 September 1994 (often called Law 626) is the law that was issued to implement in Italy eight directives of the European Community, aimed at promoting the health and safety of workers and to prescribe protective measures to be applied in the workplace, in all sectors, public and private. The law was repealed by the TUSL and inserted into Title I thereof.
  • Legislative Decree 494 of 14 August 1996 (often referred to as the Construction Sites Directive) is the law transposing a Community directive concerning occupational safety on construction sites. The law was repealed by the TUSL and inserted in Title IV thereof.

Leaving aside the specific legislation of the sector, the following are also of particular importance:

  • Article 2087 of the Civil Code, which establishes that “The entrepreneur is required to adopt in the exercise of the company the measures that, according to the particularity of the work, experience and technique, are necessary to protect the physical integrity and moral personality of the workers“.
  • Articles 32, 35 and 41 of the Constitution, in which it is emphasized that economic and labor initiatives must take into account the rights of the worker, strictly avoiding to cause damage or harm the safety, dignity and freedom of the latter.
  • The Workers’ Statute (art. 9 – Law 300/1970), one of the main regulations of the Italian Republic on labor law, which has the merit of having introduced changes both on the side of improving working conditions and on that of relations between employers and workers.


What is Legislative Decree 81/08 or Consolidated Law on Safety at Work (TUSL)?

Legislative Decree 81/08 or TUSL is a legislative decree published in the Official Gazette on 9 April 2008, consisting of 306 articles and 52 annexes, which today represents the main regulatory reference in the field of health and safety at work in Italy. The Consolidated Law on Safety at Work lists in detail the obligations that the Employer must fulfill to safeguard the safety of workers.

It is based on well-defined principles such as:

  • assess the health and safety risks present in the company
  • eliminate or reduce these risks, replacing them – if possible – at the source
  • limit the use of dangerous substances in the workplace
  • carry out periodic health checks of workers
  • inform and train workers on safety (e.g. occupational safety courses)
  • consult and involve workers’ safety representatives
  • plan and implement appropriate security measures
  • activate health surveillance, when necessary
  • supervise the effective effectiveness and application of these security measures.

The legislation specifies that these obligations “must in no case entail financial burdens for workers“.

Within Title I of Decree 81 08 are defined roles, tasks and responsibilities of the main figures involved in safety at work:

  • Employer
  • Manager for Safety at Work
  • Responsible for Safety at Work
  • Head of the Prevention and Protection Service or RSPP
  • Competent Doctor
  • Prevention and Protection Service Officer or ASPP
  • Workers’ Safety Representative or RLS
  • Emergency management workers (fire and first aid)
  • Workers


When does Legislative Decree 81 08 apply?

Legislative Decree 81/2008, as already indicated, deals with the protection of the health and safety of workers and applies:

  • To the person in every aspect: health, safety, dignity, taking into account geographical origin and gender
  • At work, in whatever form carried out, in all sectors, both public and private, to which workers are employed.

The TUSL recognizes the principle of effective protection: the right of all those who work in the workplace, whatever the employment relationship or contract.


Whatare the main rules defined by the TUSL?

Making a list of all the measures envisaged and present in Legislative Decree 81/08 is not easy, as it is very articulated.

However, we can mention the main measures (some already reported in the previous paragraphs) applicable to all forms of employment or self-employment.

  • Adoption of a safety management system
  • Risk analysis, management and reduction
  • Identification and appointment of the Prevention and Protection Service
  • Drafting of the DVR and specific risk assessments
  • Definition of procedures, protocols and instructions to ensure the healthiness of the environment, as well as the health and safety of workers
  • Application of health surveillance
  • Information and training for workers, supervisors, managers and RLS
  • Training for PPE, machines and chemicals.

All this is aimed at reducing accidents and occupational diseases at work.


What specific topics does Law 81 cover?

Legislative Decree 81/2008 imposes on the Employer the obligation to adopt a safety and health management system through:

  • identification of risk factors
  • the reduction of risk factors and the quantification of residual risk
  • the adoption of risk mitigation and management strategies at a technological, organizational and operational level
  • monitoring of preventive and protective measures put in place.

Specifically, Legislative Decree 81/2008 currently consists of 14 Titles and 52 Annexes:

  • Title I – General provisions
  • Title II – Workplaces
  • Title III – Use of work equipment and PPE
  • Title IV – Temporary or mobile construction sites
  • Title V – Safety signs
  • Title VI – Manual handling of loads (MMC)
  • Title VII – Display screens
  • Title VIII – Physical agents – Risks of exposure to noise, vibration, electromagnetic fields (EMF), artificial optical radiation (ROA)
  • Title IX – Dangerous substances – Chemical agents, carcinogens and mutagens, asbestos
  • Title X – Biological agents
  • Title X-bis – Protection against sharp injuries in the hospital and healthcare sector
  • Title XI – Explosive atmospheres (ATEX)
  • Title XII – Criminal provisions
  • Title XIII – Final provisions
  • ANNEX I – Serious violations for the purpose of adopting the measure of suspension of business activity
  • ANNEX II – Cases in which the employer is allowed to carry out the tasks of prevention and protection of risks directly
  • ANNEX 3A – Contents of the health and risk record
  • ANNEX 3B – Content and modalities of transmission of information relating to aggregated health and risk data of workers
  • ANNEX IV – Workplace requirements
  • ANNEX V – Safety requirements for work equipment constructed in the absence of legislative provisions transposing Community product directives … (omitted)
  • ANNEX VI – Provisions concerning the use of work equipment
  • ANNEX VII – Verification of equipment
  • ANNEX VIII – General information concerning special protection
  • ANNEX IX – Values of rated operating voltages of electrical machinery and installations
  • ANNEX X – List of construction or civil engineering works
  • ANNEX XI – List of work involving special risks to the safety and health of workers
  • ANNEX XII – Content of the prior notification
  • ANNEX XIII – Safety and health requirements for site logistics, for sanitation services available to workers on construction sites, for workplaces on construction sites
  • ANNEX XIV – Minimum contents of the training course for coordinators for the design and execution of works
  • ANNEX XV – Minimum contents of safety plans at temporary or mobile construction sites
  • ANNEX XVI – Dossier with the characteristics of the work
  • ANNEX XVII – Technical and professional competence
  • ANNEX XVIII – Roads on construction sites, scaffolding and transport of materials
  • ANNEX XIX – Safety checks on fixed metal scaffolding
  • ANNEX XX – Construction and use of portable ladders – authorization to certification laboratories
  • ANNEX XXI – State, Regions and Autonomous Provinces Agreement on training courses for workers working at height
  • ANNEX XXII – Minimum contents of the IP.M.U.S.
  • ANNEX XXIII – Derogation allowed for wheeled tower bridges
  • ANNEX XXIV – General requirements for safety signs
  • ANNEX XXV – General requirements for signposts
  • ANNEX XXVI – Requirements for the marking of containers and piping
  • ANNEX XXVII – Requirements for signs to identify and indicate the location of fire-fighting equipment
  • ANNEX XXVIII – Requirements for obstacle warning and route signalling
  • ANNEX XXIX – Requirements for light signals
  • ANNEX XXX – Requirements for acoustic signals
  • ANNEX XXXI – Requirements for verbal communication
  • ANNEX XXXII – Requirements for hand signals
  • ANNEX XXXIII – Manual handling of loads
  • ANNEX XXXIV – Display screens
  • ANNEX XXXV – Physical agents
  • ANNEX XXXVI – Electromagnetic fields
  • ANNEX XXXVII – Optical radiation
  • ANNEX XXXVIII – Occupational exposure limit values
  • ANNEX XXXIX – Mandatory biological limit values and health surveillance procedures
  • ANNEX XL – Prohibitions
  • ANNEX XLI – Standardized measurement methods
  • ANNEX XLII – List of substances, mixtures and processes
  • ANNEX XLIII – Occupational exposure limit values
  • ANNEX XLIV – Example list of work activities that may involve the presence of biological agents
  • ANNEX XLV – Biohazard signal
  • ANNEX XLVI – List of classified biological agents
  • ANNEX XLVII – Specifications on containment measures and containment levels
  • ANNEX XLVIII – Specifications for industrial processes
  • ANNEX XLIX – Allocation of areas where explosive atmospheres may occur
  • ANNEX L – Minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres and criteria for the selection of equipment and protective systems
  • ANNEX LI – Warning sign to indicate areas where explosive atmospheres may occur


Risk Assessment Document

One of the most important general measures introduced by Law 626 and now provided for by the TUSL is represented by risk assessment. The law also refers to the particular risks to which workers are exposed, such as the risk of related stress, chemical risk, risk related to the use of the video terminal, etc.

In this regard, the main obligation envisaged by the legislator is the drafting of the DVR (Evaluation Document of the Rischi).

The DVR must contain the following elements:

  • The risk assessment report, which indicates the criteria adopted to establish the protection and prevention measures implemented (for example in fire prevention) and the protective devices used
  • The program of procedures to be adopted to improve the security levels of company structures and infrastructures
  • The identification of tasks to which specific risks are related, linked for example to the use of plants or particular equipment.

The responsibility for drafting the DVR lies with the employer, who generally prepares it with the support of the internal RSPP or an external RSPP and with the advice of experts for specific risk assessments.

The DVR is also inspected by the Competent Doctor (and integrated where necessary) and by the RLS.



Failure by the employer to comply with legal obligations results in administrative and in many cases criminal sanctions.

Do you need to carry out the risk assessment in your company or update it? Do you need to appoint an external RSPP? Do you need advice on safety at work?

Safetyone Ingegneria Srl, thanks to its twenty years of experience in the sector, is able to provide you with a fast, economical and professional service.