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Introduction

National strategies are vital policy instruments to enhance the effectiveness of an OSH system by defining the key priorities and actions for improving workers’ health and safety.

The Commission called on the Member States to update and draw up their national OSH strategies in line with the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027 - in cooperation with social partners - to ensure that the new measures are applied on the ground.

In Slovenia, safety and health at work falls within the competence of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of Health. These two ministries monitor and assess the situation in the aforementioned area and on this basis draw up regulations and solutions for the standardised regulation of safety and health at work.

The Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work 2018-2027[1] was adopted by the National Assembly in 2018 on the basis of Article 4 of the Safety and Health at Work Act[2]. It provides a national strategy of development in the field of OSH.

More information on the various OSH systems can be found in the relevant OSHwiki articles on national OSH systems.

Basic information on the national OSH strategy

The Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work 2018-2027 (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 23/18; ReNPVZD18-27)[3], adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia at its 39th session on 27 March 2018 replaces the 2003 Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work (ReNPVZD). It is implemented by three-year action plans[4][5] with concrete measures, deadlines, financial resources and responsible institutions.

The current Action Plan is the second three-year implementation document of the Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work 2018–2027 (Akcijski načrt za izvajanje resolucije o nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu 2018-2027 v drugem triletnem obdobju[5])

Background and the perceived problem

The vision of the Slovenian  'Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work 2018-2027' (hereinafter: the National OSH Programme) is:

Safety and health and well-being at work are the highest priority in the working environment and the foundation of sustainable business success. Effective provision of safety and health at work without accidents at work, occupational and work-related diseases is of national interest, an interest of workers and the obligation of employers. Efforts to raise the level of a culture of prevention in the working environment must become a joint commitment of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, social partners, companies and workers.

The aim of the National OSH Programme is to bring together all stakeholders in the system of safety and health at work in order to join forces and cooperate in the realisation of the generally accepted vision in the field of safety and health at work in Slovenia according to their best abilities and in compliance with their mission: to create and maintain a working environment, which will preserve workers’ health throughout the entire period of their employment, so they will be able to work longer and the work performed will be to their personal satisfaction.

Main characteristics and objectives of the OSH strategy (activity plan)

The National OSH Programme is structured by strategic objectives and measures:

  1. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring safety at work.
  2. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring occupational health.
  3. Strategic objectives aimed at promoting a culture of prevention in occupational safety and health practice. and taking into account the diversity of workers.
  4. Strategic objectives aimed at promoting social dialogue on occupational safety and health.
  5. Other tasks foreseen by the ReNPVZD18-27.

The three-year action plans for the implementation of the National OSH Programme further define the measures, the target groups, the time frame of the actions, the responsible and participating institutions, estimated financial resources and monitoring indicators. The current three-year Action Plan covers the period 2021-2023.

Details of the strategy and activity plan

Axis description

1. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring safety at work

1.1. Reducing the number of accidents at work by 20% in the next 10 years.

Measures:

  • 1.1.1. Development and implementation of a programme of targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia and other competent inspection authorities on the quality and suitability of risk assessment in organisations.
  • 1.1.2. Development and implementation of the programme for raising awareness campaigns on safety and health at work in transport, particularly in cooperation with the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency and the Police, including targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the inspection authorities.
  • 1.1.3. Development and implementation of programmes for awareness-raising campaigns for employers and employees in the construction sector to prevent accidents at work, including targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate.
  • 1.1.4. Development and implementation of a programme for awareness-raising campaigns for employers and employees regarding risks of falling from a height or into a cavity, including targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate.
  • 1.1.5. Development and implementation of a programme for awareness-raising campaigns for small enterprises and their employees to prevent accidents at work, including targeted supervision campaigns and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate.
  • 1.1.6 Introduction of a differentiated contribution rate for health and pension and disability insurance on the basis of a preliminary analysis and simulation.
  • 1.1.7. Examination of possibilities for tax relief for investments in a safe and healthy working environment and the promotion of health in the workplace.
  • 1.1.8. Development and implementation of a programme for preparing practical e-tools for risk assessment, OiRA, including a plan for their upgrading, promotion, training of employers to work with the tools, and the introduction and operation of the user support service.
  • 1.1.9. Developing and producing practical occupational safety and health e-tools.
  • 1.1.10. Awarding national recognitions for employers’ achievements in an integrated approach to occupational safety and health.

1.2. Ensuring the safe use of hazardous chemical substances in work processes and replacing hazardous chemicals with less hazardous ones.

Measures:

  • 1.2.1. Revision and compilation of a new list of binding limit values for occupational exposure to hazardous chemical substances.
  • 1.2.2. Development and implementation of a targeted supervision programme and consulting of the Labour Inspectorate regarding the correct use and the implementation of regulations governing hazardous substances, e.g. chemical, carcinogenic and mutagenic substances, substances toxic to reproduction and asbestos.
  • 1.2.3. Development and implementation of a programme of awareness-raising campaigns for employers, employees and the general public on risks arising from working with nanomaterials and endocrine disrupters.
  • 1.2.4. Development of practical guidelines for an assessment of risk due to exposure to hazardous chemical substances.
  • 1.2.5. Development and implementation of a programme of tighter supervision campaigns of the Labour Inspectorate relating to the quality of risk assessment regarding exposure to hazardous chemical substances.
  • 1.2.6. Implementation of the Roadmap on Carcinogens for the phase-out of carcinogens in the workplace.

1.3. Ensuring the high-quality implementation of expert tasks of occupational safety.

Measures:

  • 1.3.1. Reinforcement of the staff of the Safety and Health at Work Division within the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (MDDSZ), which will also assume the responsibility of the OSH doctrine.
  • 1.3.2. Reinforcement of the staff of the Safety and Health at Work Inspection Service at the Labour Inspectorate.
  • 1.3.3. Development and implementation of a training programme for labour inspectors and other inspectors competent for supervision and consultation.
  • 1.3.4. Development and implementation of a training programme for expert workers.
  • 1.3.5. Development and implementation of a programme of targeted supervision campaigns of the Labour Inspectorate on the quality and suitability of performance of expert tasks of safety at work by legal entities and sole traders licensed to perform expert tasks.
  • 1.3.6. Development of a modern interdisciplinary study in occupational safety and health.
  • 1.3.7. Increasing budgetary resources earmarked for basic and applied research in occupational safety and health.
  • 1.3.8. Promotion of interdisciplinary scientific and research work relating to occupational safety and health.
  • 1.3.9. Dissemination of findings of foreign research in occupational safety and health at work.
  • 1.3.10. Monitoring of public procurements to ensure compliance with obligations set out in regulations governing occupational safety and health in practice.

2. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring occupational health

2.1. Regulation, enforcement, monitoring and upgrading of the system to recognise, diagnose and report occupational diseases.

Measures:

  • 2.1.1. Drafting, adoption and enforcement of regulations governing the recognition, diagnosis and reporting of occupational diseases.
  • 2.1.2. Revision of the regulation on preventive medical examinations.
  • 2.1.3. Development of expert bases for adopting a regulation on biological monitoring of workers’ exposure to hazardous chemical substances.

2.2 Implementing, monitoring and upgrading workplace physical and mental health promotion programmes aimed at preventing chronic diseases and maintaining the ability to work.

Measures:

  • 2.2.1. Setting up a national platform for providing expert support to employers for the implementation of workplace health promotion programmes.
  • 2.2.2. Development and delivery of training programmes for employers to promote workplace health, tailored to small enterprises.
  • 2.2.3. Promotion of examples of good practice for workplace health promotion, particularly examples of good practice from small enterprises.

2.3. Setting up mechanisms for early detection and assistance in the event of work-related mental strain

Measures:

  • 2.3.1. Development of practical guidelines for the early detection of work-related mental strain.
  • 2.3.2. Approach to concluding a social partners’ agreement on work-related stress prevention.
  • 2.3.3. Approach to concluding a social partners’ agreement on implementing the European Social Partners’ Autonomous Framework Agreement on Active Ageing and an inter-generational approach.
  • 2.3.4. Development and implementation of training programmes for managers on measures regarding work organisation and treatment of people at work to improve the working environment and reduce the presence of psychosocial risks.
  • 2.3.5. Development and implementation of a campaign programme to identify, detect and help prevent employee burnout.
  • 2.3.6. Promotion of scientific and research work relating to psychosocial risks in the workplace.

2.4. Adapting workplaces to prevent musculoskeletal disorders; reducing sick leave absence due to musculoskeletal disorders by 5% in the next 10 years.

Measure:

  • 2.4.1. Development and implementation of a programme of targeted supervision campaigns, consulting of the Labour Inspectorate and other competent inspection authorities regarding the correct use and implementation of regulations governing the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders, high-quality risk assessment and execution of workplace health promotion.

2.5. Setting up mechanisms to assist workers when returning to work after long-term illness.

Measures:

  • 2.5.1. Development and implementation of training programmes for employers on how to recognise labour law and health consequences of chronic diseases in workplaces and how to adapt workplaces.
  • 2.5.2. Preparation and implementation of training programmes for occupational health providers, expert workers.
  • 2.5.3. Collection and dissemination of information on measures and good practices intended to facilitate workers’ return to work after long-term illness.
  • 2.5.4. Development of practical guidelines to assist workers when returning to work after long-term illness.

2.6. Ensuring high-quality implementation of expert tasks by occupational medicine practitioners.

Measures:

  • 2.6.1. Conducting a situation analysis in occupational medicine and the adoption of suitable systemic changes.
  • 2.6.2. Adoption of quality standards in occupational medicine.
  • 2.6.3. Development and implementation of a programme of targeted supervision campaigns and consultation with inspection authorities regarding the quality and suitability of performance of expert tasks in occupational health services.
  • 2.6.4. Review and update of national legislation with the objective of reducing administrative burdens, when this is possible, particularly for micro and small employers.

3. Strategic objectives aimed at promoting a culture of prevention in occupational safety and health practice and taking into account the diversity of workers.

3.1 Running of thematic campaigns aimed at promoting a culture of prevention in the working environment.

Measures:

  • 3.1.1. Development and implementation of a programme of national campaigns aimed at promoting a culture of prevention in occupational safety and health practice.
  • 3.1.2. Continued participation in European Healthy Workplaces Campaigns implemented at the initiative of the EU-OSHA.
  • 3.1.3. Preparation of material with fundamental principles of culture of prevention in occupational safety and health practice.

3.2. Introduction of safety and health at work and healthy lifestyle into education at all levels and disciplines.

Measure:

  • 3.2.1. Development and implementation of a modern programme for introducing occupational safety and health into education, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the National Education Institute Slovenia, and other relevant institutions.

3.3. Promotion of respect for diversity when ensuring occupational safety and health; promotion of providing workplaces for all generations and of intergenerational cooperation.

Measures:

  • 3.3.1. Development of practical guidelines for risk assessment while taking into account workers’ diversity – particularly differences in gender, age and reduced work capacity, including special risks to which migrant workers and posted workers are exposed.
  • 3.3.2. Consideration of special risks to which certain groups of workers are exposed (e.g. pregnant workers, workers with disabilities, workers with reduced work capacity, elderly and young workers, migrant workers, posted workers, and women) when preparing practical OiRA e-tools for risk assessment.
  • 3.3.3. Development of practical guidelines for managing occupational safety and health, taking into account the age structure, and the promotion of intergenerational cooperation.
  • 3.3.4. Introduction and promotion of risk assessment that takes into account the particular workplace characteristics of older workers.
  • 3.3.5. Development and implementation of training programmes for managerial and HR staff for intergenerational cooperation.

4. Strategic objectives aimed at ensuring safety and health for workers working in new forms of work employment

4.1 Raising the awareness of workers engaged in new forms of work and employment relationships about the basics of safety and health at work.

Measures:

  • 4.1.1. Planning and running an OSH campaign for workers engaged in new forms of work and employment relationships.
  • 4.1.2. Promotion of lifelong learning in occupational safety and health, including the promotion of exchanging knowledge and experience between younger and older workers through mentoring and reverse mentoring.

4.2. Dissemination of the latest knowledge on changing working environments and new forms of work and employment.

Measures:

  • 4.2.1. Informing the general public and professional circles of the latest research findings on new forms of work and employment implemented/to be implemented by ILO, Eurofound, EU-OSHA and other research institutions.

5. Strategic objectives aimed at promoting social dialogue in the field of safety and health at work

5.1. Promotion of social dialogue on occupational safety and health.

Measures:

  • 5.1.1. Development and implementation of training programmes for employers, employees and their representatives for social dialogue on occupational safety and health in organisations.
  • 5.1.2. Conclusion of social agreements in fields which contribute to improving occupational safety and health.

6. Other tasks foreseen by the ReNPVZD18-27

6.1 Regulations governing occupational safety and health.

Measures:

  • 6.1.1 Regulations and guidance on occupational safety and health.
  • 6.2 Statistics on occupational safety and health.

Measures

  • 6.2.1 Evaluation of administrative and survey sources of statistical data on work accidents, work injuries, sick leave, occupational diseases and work-related health problems.
  • 6.2.2 Renovation of the statistical monitoring system for that area.

6.3 Analyses, evaluations and drafting of implementing documents for the ReNPVZD18-27.

Measures

  • 6.3.1 Evaluation of the implementation of the Action Plan to the ReNPVZD18-27 for the 2021–2023 period.
  • 6.3.2 Drafting of implementing documents.

Actors and stakeholders

The Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of Health determine the policy and priorities in the field of safety and health at work, set the rules and ensure these rules are correctly and consistently implemented in practice in consultation with the tripartite Economic and Social Council.

The Economic and Social Council participates in the preparation of legislation and provides opinions, recommendations and incentives for the adoption of new or amendment of the applicable regulations on safety and health at work.

The key holders of measures for realising objectives defined in the National OSH Programme are:

  • Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities,
  • Ministry of Health,
  • Labour Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia,
  • National Institute of Public Health,
  • National Education Institute,
  • University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Institute of Occupational, Traffic and Sports Medicine,
  • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology,
  • Tripartite National OSH Council for Safety and Health at Work,  
  • Social partners.

Other ministries, governmental bodies, expert associations and networks are also important for achieving the set objectives:

  • Ministry of Education, Science and Sport,
  • Ministry of Economic Development and Technology,
  • Ministry of Public Administration,
  • Chemicals Office of the Republic of Slovenia,
  • Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia,
  • Health Insurance Institute of the Republic of Slovenia,
  • Occupational Safety and Health Chamber,
  • Union of Associations of Safety Engineers of Slovenia,
  • Association for Occupational, Traffic and Sports Medicine,
  • The National Network for the Cooperation with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA),
  • The Slovenian Network of Healthy Schools.

Resources and time frame

The time frame of the National OSH Programme is 10 years (2018-2027); two 3-year action plans have been so far adopted (2018-2020, 2021-2023) for its implementation, while the last action plan should cover a 4-year time span (2024-2027).

In 2023, an analysis of the implementation of the second Action Plan (2021-2023) will be carried out. If the analysis shows that there have been radical changes in the labour market and consequently in the field of occupational safety and health, a new national OSH programme will be prepared and adopted. However, if the analysis shows that the current National OSH Programme is still responding adequately to the OSH challenges, a final action plan will be submitted for adoption.

The estimated financial resources planned for the individual measures are set out in the Action Plans and taken into account when preparing the Budget of the Republic of Slovenia for a particular year.

Evaluation/lessons learned

As explained in the previous chapter, after the expiry of each three-year period for which an action plan has been adopted, an analysis of the implementation of the plan is carried out. The analysis can lead to adoption of:

  • a new three-year plan or
  • an amendment of the National OSH Programme or
  • a new national OSH programme (if the conditions in the labour market and as a result in the field of health and safety at work in Slovenia change so radically).

The monitoring and evaluation of the National Programme is based on statistical data collected on the basis of legislation. The impact assessment is implemented by determining the results of adopted and implemented measures for end users. When this is possible, direct impact indicators are used.

The monitoring of the implementation of the National OSH Programme and individual measures are determined by action plans.

Ex ante indicators for the years 2021 to 2023

The list of monitoring indicators is defined for each measure by an action plan.

Relationship to EU Strategic Framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027

The Resolution on the National Programme for Safety and Health at Work 2018-2027 was adopted on 27 March 2018, i.e. before the adoption of the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027.

However, the Action Plans made it possible to adjust the priorities and measures to the EU Strategic Framework. So, when the draft of the current Action Plan (2021-2023) was discussed by the Tripartite National Council for Safety and Health at Work, it was concluded that there is no need for a new national OSH programme, as the existing one adequately responds to the challenges and key objectives identified by the EU Strategic Framework. Furthermore, there is a close link between the priorities and activities mentioned in the EU Strategic Framework and the National OSH Programme and its current Action Plan (2021-2023).

In this context, it is worth noting that new and emerging risks and challenges have been intensively discussed in various institutions and fora (in particular EU-OSHA and ACSH), even before they were highlighted by the EU Strategic Framework. This has enabled Slovenia to adequately address new and emerging risks and challenges in the National OSH Programme adopted in 2018. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic could not have been foreseen at the time; however, this challenge has been adequately addressed in the current Action Plan (2021-2023).

Examples:

Key objective 1 of the EU Strategic Framework (Anticipating and managing change) is covered by the national strategic objectives:

  • 1.2. Ensuring the safe use of hazardous chemical substances in work processes and replacing hazardous chemicals with less hazardous ones.
  • 2.2 Implementing, monitoring and upgrading workplace physical and mental health promotion programmes aimed at preventing chronic diseases and maintaining the ability.
  • 2.3. Setting up mechanisms for early detection and assistance in the event of work-related mental strain.
  • 2.4. Adapting workplaces to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, reducing sick leave absence due to musculoskeletal disorders by 5% in the next 10 years assessment and workplace health promotion. 
  • 3.3 Introduction and promotion of risk assessment that takes into account the particular workplace characteristics of older workers
  • 4.1 Raising the awareness of workers engaged in new forms of work and employment relationships about the basics of health and safety at work
  • 4. 2. Dissemination of the latest findings on how the working environment is changing and new forms of work and employment.

Key objective 2 of the EU Strategic Framework (Improving prevention of work-related diseases and accidents)  can be found in the national strategic objectives:

  • 1.1. Reducing the number of work accidents by 20 per cent in the next 10 years.
  • 1.2. Ensuring the safe use of hazardous chemical substances in work processes and replacing hazardous chemicals with less hazardous ones.
  • 1.3. Ensuring the high-quality implementation of expert tasks relating to safety at work.
  • 2.1. Arranging, enforcing, monitoring and upgrading the system of establishing, confirming and reporting occupational diseases.
  • 2.3. Setting up mechanisms for early detection and assistance in the event of work-related mental strain.
  • 3.1. Implementation of thematic campaigns directed at promoting a culture of prevention in a working environment.
  • 3.3. Promotion of respect for diversity when ensuring occupational safety and health; promotion of providing workplaces for all generations and of intergenerational cooperation.

Key objective 3 of the EU Strategic Framework (Increasing preparedness – responding rapidly to threats): is tackled in the strategic objectives:

  • 2.1. Regulation, enforcement, monitoring and upgrading of the system to recognise, diagnose and report occupational diseases.
  • 3.3. Promotion of respect for diversity when ensuring occupational safety and health; promotion of providing workplaces for all generations and of intergenerational cooperation.

References

[1] Resolucija o nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu 2018–2027, ReNPVZD18–27 (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 23/18, 6 April 2018). Available at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=2003126&stevilka=5394

[2] Zakon o varnosti in zdravju pri delu, ZVZD-1 (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 43/11, 3 June 2011). Available at: http://www.uradni-list.si/1/objava.jsp?urlid=199956&stevilka=2652

[3] Resolucija o nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu, ReNPVZD (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia [Uradni list RS], No. 126/03, 18 December 2003). Available at: https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina?urlid=2003126&stevilka=5394

[4] Akcijski načrt za izvajanje resolucije o nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu 2018-2027 v prvem triletnem obdobju (2018-2020). Available at: https://zssszaupnikvzd.si/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/1.-triletniAkcijski-na%C4%8DrtVZD_final.pdf

[5] Akcijski načrt za izvajanje resolucije o nacionalnem programu varnosti in zdravja pri delu 2018-2027 v drugem triletnem obdobju (2021-2023). Available at: https://www.gov.si/assets/ministrstva/MDDSZ/VZD-/Akcijski-nacrt.pdf

 

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