Safety at work: the obligations of the Employer


What are the employer’s obligations in the field of occupational health and safety protection?

The employer is the main figure of guarantee within the system of health and safety protection in the workplace. The T.U.S. provides for two types of obligations of the Employer, those that can be delegated and those that cannot be delegated.

The non-delegable obligations  are provided for in Article 17 of the aforementioned decree and include:

  • The assessment of all the risks present in the company, with the consequent elaboration of the Risk Assessment Document (DVR);
  • The designation of the head of the prevention and protection service (RSPP).

The risk assessment document is provided for and governed by Article 28 of Legislative Decree. 81/2008 and must contain within it the description of the company activities and the risks to which workers are exposed.

Each risk is assigned an assessment (low, medium or high), which allows you to frame:

  • The severity and probability of damage,
  • The urgency of the intervention,
  • The most appropriate protection and prevention measures.

Once drafted, the DVR must be made available to workers, so that they have knowledge of the risks to which they are exposed during their working days, of the methods and solutions to contain them.

The appointment of the RSPP has a fiduciary nature, since this figure has the task of assisting the employer in carrying out the analysis of the risks present in the company and in the preparation of appropriate measures to contain them.

The fiduciary nature of this appointment is motivated by the fact that the responsibility for drawing up the DVR lies with the employer, even if he makes use of the professionalism of the RSPP. Therefore, the employer must choose a truly competent and prepared professional, so as to be sure that the assessment of the risks present in the workplace is carried out optimally and that the preventive measures to be prepared are the most appropriate to the company reality.

The delegable obligations of the employer, on the other hand, are provided for in Article 18 of Legislative Decree 81/2008 and can be identified, among others, in the duties of:

  • Appointment of the competent doctor (CTM) for the implementation of health surveillance in the company
  • Designation of workers responsible for the implementation of fire prevention and fire-fighting measures
  • Provision of necessary and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers
  • Monitoring of workers’ compliance with prevention and protection measures and the correct use of PPE
  • Fulfillment of the obligations of information, education and training of workers.

With regard to the duty of information and training, it should be specified that these obligations make it possible to fully implement the protection of the health and safety of workers, as they allow them to have adequate knowledge for the prevention of the risks of accidents and occupational diseases and allow them to participate actively in a policy of effective prevention.

The duty to provide information involves the transmission to workers of knowledge useful for identifying and managing risks.

The duty of training is an educational process aimed at involving the worker in a culture of prevention of risks present in the workplace, which includes the appropriate methods and procedures for achieving the safety objectives and the correct use of PPE.

Finally, training represents the set of activities suitable for workers to learn the correct use of equipment, machines, plants, substances and personal protective equipment and work procedures.

Compliance with these duties makes it possible to recognize workers as an active role in the protection of health and safety at work. They not only have the right to work in a safe and healthy place, but also the duty to take action on two fronts:

  • Know the most suitable ways to protect yourself during work
  • Implement procedures and use PPE appropriate to the risks to which they are exposed, in order to protect themselves and the people with whom they work.