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The Republic of Croatia is a European country, in geopolitical term Central European and Mediterranean countrie, geographically located in the southern part of Central Europe and in the northern part of the Mediterranean. The land area is 56,578 km² and the coastal area is 31,067 km², which puts Croatia among medium-sized European countries. In Croatia is official the Croatian language and Latin script. Croatia has a population of 4,087,843 people. As a former Federal State of Yugoslavia, Croatia was involved in the four-year 1991-1995 independence war. After an 8-year harmonization process, Croatia joined to the EU on 1 July 2013. It is a member of the UN, the Council of Europe, NATO, the WTO and a founding member of the Union of the Mediterranean.

Occupational safety and health legislative framework

The Occupational Safety Act (Zakon o zaštiti na radu) is an "umbrella law", published in 2014 in the Official Gazette Narodne Novine (the date of entry into force: 18/06/2014 | ENG-2014-L-99295), number 71/14, and subsequent revisions 118/14, 94/18, 96/18, and is in accordance with ILO Convention concerning Occupational Safety and Health Convention and the Working Environment  (No.155) [4] and the Occupational Health Services Convention (No. 161).

The following EU Directives have been transposed into the legal order of the Republic of Croatia by this Act: Council Directive 89 / 391 /EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work, (SL L 183, od 29. 6. 1989.), Directive 2007/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2007 amending Council Directive 89/391/EEC, its individual Directives and Council Directives 83/477/EEC, 91/383/EEC, 92/29/EEC and 94/33/EC with a view to simplifying and rationalising the reports on practical implementation (SL L 165, od 27. 6. 2007.), Council Directive 92 / 57 / EEC of 24 June 1992 on the implementation of minimum safety and health requirements at temporary or mobile constructions sites (eighth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16 ( 1 ) of Directive 89/ 391 /EEC), Council Directive 91 / 383 /EEC of 25 June 1991 supplementing the measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of workers with a fixed-duration employment relationship or a temporary employment relationship (SL L 206, od 29. 7. 1991.), Council Directive 92/85 /EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (tenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16 ( 1 ) of Directive 89/ 391 /EEC), (SL L 348, od 28. 11. 1992.) and Council Directive 94/33/EC of 22 June 1994 on the protection of young people at work (SL L 216, od 20. 8. 1994.).

The Republic of Croatia has been a member of the ILO since 30 June 1992. and has ratified 61 conventions in total, of which 8 are basic, 4 out of 4 managing (priority) conventions and 49 out of 178 technical conventions. Of the 61 ratified, 45 are in force and 14 have been canceled. The last convention ratified by Croatia is Convention no. 144 - Tripartite Consultation.

The Occupational Safety Act regulates the system of occupational safety in the Republic of Croatia, and in particular national policies and activities, general principles of prevention and rules for occupational safety, obligations of the employer, rights and obligations of workers and commissioners of workers for occupational safety, activities related to occupational safety, surveillance and misdemeanor liability. The purpose of the Act is to systematically improve the safety and health protection of workers and persons at work, to prevent occupational injuries, occupational diseases and other diseases that are related to work.

Occupational safety as an organized activity that includes a system of rules:

·        rules for the design and production of labour resources

·        rules for the use, maintenance, inspection and testing of work equipment

·        rules that are related to workers and the adaptation of work processes to their gender, age, physical and mental abilities

·        methods and procedures for training and informing workers and employers in order to achieve an adequate level of protection at work

·        ways and procedures of cooperation between the employer, workers and their representatives, associations and state institutions and bodies responsible for occupational safety and health

·        a ban on placing workers in a disadvantageous position because of activities that are undertaken with the purpose of protecting them at work other measures to prevent occupational risks, with the aim of eliminating risk factors and their harmful consequences.

The Occupational Safety Act prescribes the obligation of the employer to organize and implement safety and health at work, including risk prevention and notification, making risk assessment, training, organization and means of work, as well as the obligation to carry out prevention in all work procedures, in organization of work and management of work processes, while ensuring that workers have the highest possible level of protection at work. The Act covers particularly vulnerable groups of workers (underage workers, pregnant workers, workers who have recently given birth, workers suffering from an occupational disease, etc.). The employer is also required to provide the worker with health care that is appropriate to the risks to safety and health that are exposed at work.

There are specific legal acts to regulate occupational safety issues, such as protection against certain sources of danger (eg noise, explosive substances, nuclear hazard, chemical hazards, harmful radiation, etc.), a summary of Croatian legislation can be found in the ILO NATLEX database.

The following are the most important regulations:

·        Act of 13 December 2018 to amend and supplement the Act on protection against noise - Text No. 2199, 2018-12-13 HRV-2018-L-109168

·        Act of 17 October 2018 to amend and supplement the Act on Occupational Safety - Text No. 1819, 2018-10-17, HRV-2018-L-109163

·        Regulations of 20 February 2017 on safety at work when using work equipment - Text No. 421, 2017-02-20 HRV-2017-R-106226

·        Act of 21 April 2016 to amend and supplement the Act on protection against noise - Text No. 1065 2016-04-21 HRV-2016-L-104547

·        The Mining Act of 2 May 2013 - Text No. 1133 2013-05-02 HRV-2013-L-95269

Rules on risk assessment was published in 2014 in the Official Gazette, No. 112/14 and subsequent revisions 129/19, which stipulates the conditions, manner and method of making the risk assessment, the mandatory contents covered by the assessment and the data on which the risk assessment is based, and classification of hazards, harms and efforts at work and in relation to work.

According to the Compulsory Health Insurance Act (Official Gazette, No. 80/13, 137/13, 98/19) [18] adopted in 2013, all workers are covered by compulsory insurance against occupational diseases and accidents at work, including the military and police, students and trainees, as well as the self-employed. Insurance and compensation for occupational diseases and accidents are regulated by the following legal acts, which are amended in accordance with the new Compulsory Health Insurance Act:

·        Voluntary Health Insurance Act (Official Gazette No. 85/06, 150/08, 71/10), internal unified text

·        Health Care Act (Official Gazette 100/18, 125/19)

·        Law on Compulsory Health Insurance and Health Protection of foreigner in the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette 80/13, 15/18)

·        Ordinance on the conditions and manner of exercising the right to compulsory health insurance (Official gazette No. 49/14, 51/14 - correction, 11/15, 17/15, 123/16 - correction, 129/17);

·        Ordinance on the rights, conditions and manner of exercising compulsory health insurance in the case of occupational injury and occupational disease (Official Gazette No. 75/14, 154 / 14,79 / 15, 139/15, 105/16, 40 / 17, 66/17, 109/17, 132/17, 119/18, 41/19, 22/20 and 39/20)

·        Ordinance on the manner and procedure of selection of a specialist in occupational medicine (Official Gazette No. 12/14, 149/14, 53/17, 129/17)

·        Decision on the special standard and the criteria for its application in the implementation of the specific health protection of workers (Official Gazette No. 66/14)

·        Decision on the grounds for concluding agreements on the implementation of specific health care (Official Gazette", number 47/14, 157/14, 139/15, 28/16, 26/17, 132/17, 119/18, 32/19, 128/19 I 22/20).

National strategy and programmes

In December 2008, the Croatian Government adopted a national OSH programme for 2009-2013. The main objectives are:

·        Reducing the number of injuries

·        Reducing the number of occupational diseases and diseases related to work

·        Reducing the number of occupational accidents

·        Improving the health status of workers

·        Reducing economic losses due to injuries, occupational diseases, and work-related illnesses (sick leave, early retirement and disability)

The state bodies, trade unions and employers´ associations collaborate closely to achieve these objectives. Their activities include:

·        Risk prevention and reduction (threat to life and health of workers)

·        Prevention of risks arising from new technologies

·        Increasing the level of security in high-risk sectors (construction, forestry, health sector, agriculture, manufacturing)

·        Health and safety in small businesses

·        Protection of vulnerable groups of workers (women, young and ageing workers, disabled workers, and temporary workers).

By implementing the National Programme, the following overarching and specific goals shall be achieved:

·        The basic strategic goal of “Healthy Workplaces"

·        The more specific goal of improving the overall health and safety in workplaces

·        Encouraging employers and workers to implement legislation and practical measures to achieve a safe and healthy workplace.

A new national occupational safety program is under development and will be in compliance with Croatian, European and international guidelines and regulations.

Social dialogue

In the Republic of Croatia in socio-economic fields such as economic policy, social policy and OSH, there are employers’ association and three and three trade union organizations:

·        SSSH (Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia, Savez samostalnih sindikata Hrvatske) -  united 20 unions with 94,622 members

·        NHS ((Independent Croatian Trade Unions, Nezavisni hrvatski sindikati) -  96.870 members

·        MHS (Association of Croatian Unions, Matica hrvatskih sindikata) - 60.648 members

·        HUP (Croatian Employers’ Association, Hrvatska udruga poslodavaca) - 30 branch of HUP associations represent the specific interests of different industries.

National Tripartite Social Dialogue

The Croatian Economic and Social Council was established in 1994 as the central body for a tripartite dialogue between government, employers and trade unions. The aim was to provide opinions, suggestions and assessments on various issues of common interest. The Government Office for Social Partnership has been formed to provide professional and logistical support to the Council. It was established by Government Decree of 13 September 2001, and officially started operating on 5 December 2001. However, in 2012, this office was set aside and formed as an Independent Sector for Social Partnership by the Ministry of Labour and the Pension System. An autonomous sector for social partnership is a support for trade unions activities; employers; Government of the Republic of Croatia; civil society, units of local and regional self-government.

Representatives of the social partners are actively involved in the work of the governing boards of institutions such as the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, the Croatian Health Insurance Institute, the Croatian Employment Service, etc.

The tripartite social dialogue in the Republic of Croatia has been firmly established and institutionally well-ordered over the past 20 years of its formal functioning, and in the last 20 years it has created an atmosphere of regular communication, correct relationships and relatively moderate conflicts, which, and when they do, take place within the legal framework, by using legitimate means of political action, such as demonstrations, public appeals and referendum initiatives, to find solutions for issues of common interest to all three parties, trade unions, employers' associations and authorities as equal and independent partners.

Social dialogue at sectoral level

The establishment of Sectoral Social Councils is of multiple importance for the immediate actors of social dialogue as well as the overall implementation of EU standards in the field of relations between the social partners and the development of sectoral social dialogue.

In order to achieve productive social dialogue, it requires strong and independent employers' and trade union organizations that are technically equipped and able to reach all relevant information, political will and commitment to engaging in social dialogue, respect for fundamental rights of associations and collective bargaining and adequate institutional support.

The end result of the work of the Sectoral Social Councils should be a creative solution; a social pact that can determine how to initiate and implement change to preserve social security and improve the competitiveness of the sector.

Sectoral and tripartite social dialogue are not competition but desirable and necessary complement, which will certainly in the future provide further momentum cooperation of the social partners at all levels.

Social dialogue at enterprise level

Social dialogue at enterprise level can be in the form of negotiations for labour agreements, and also can be directly between the employer and the works council, the trade union representative and/or the OSH representative. The lack of competence among representatives is considered to be the biggest problem. The unions have seemingly reacted, increasing their efforts to raise awareness and offering courses. These efforts will hopefully improve worker participation and, in turn, the OSH situation.

OSH infrastructure

OSH infrastructure scheme

Figure 1: The OSH infrastructure in Croatia
Figure 1: The OSH infrastructure in Croatia
OSH infrastucture in Croatia
Source: Compilation by the authors

National competent bodies

OSH authorities and Inspection services

In line with the OSH Act, the Government of Croatia is bound to monitor the latest developments in OSH, and work on and evaluate OSH policy, in consultation with the social partners. The main administrative body for OSH in Croatia is the Ministry of the Labour and Pension System. Other authorities with a key role include:

·        Ministry of Health

·        Croatian Institute for Public Health - Department of Occupational Medicine

·        the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance

·        the State Inspectorate.

Ministry of Labour and Pension System

The mandate of the Ministry of Labour and Pension System includes drafting legislation, monitoring OSH, making suggestions for campaigns to raise awareness, and organizing activities to promote OSH.

Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health deals with the protection, preservation and improvement of public health, including as a special group of working population through the protection of public health interests, early identification of risks of occupational diseases and diseases related to work, prevention of diseases, injuries at work and also treatment and rehabilitation of diseased.

State Inspectorate

The State Inspectorate is a state administrative organization and the centre of the State Inspectorate is in Zagreb.

Inspection activities within the scope of the State Inspectorate are performed by market inspection, sanitary inspection, veterinary inspection, agricultural inspection, hunting inspection, forestry inspection, phytosanitary inspection, tourist inspection, mining inspection, inspection of pressure equipment, energy inspection, inspection of toxic chemical management, labour inspection, construction inspection, environmental inspection, inspection of nature protection and water inspection.

Inspection work in the field of labour and occupational safety is performed by labour inspection, which includes: inspection regarding injuries in the premises of the employer, supervision of the legality of work of persons authorized to perform occupational safety, tasks and inspection of the implementation of occupational safety in construction area in accordance with a special regulation on construction.

The work of a labour inspector is to supervise the implementation of regulations in the field of occupational safety and that can be performed by a person who, except for the statutory requirements for admission to civil service, has completed undergraduate and graduate university studies or integrated undergraduate and graduate university studies or graduate professional study in the field of technical sciences, fields: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, construction engineering, interdisciplinary technical sciences (direction: occupational safety), at least one year of work experience in relevant jobs, passed state professional exam for labour inspector, computer skills and driving licence (category B).

Labour inspectors are authorized to:

·        make decisions on elimination of deficiency

·        to ban activities that are a direct threat to life and health

·        prohibit the use of work equipment, machinery, personal protective equipment, premises, devices, equipment if they are defective and present a risk or do not have required documentation

·        prohibit the performance of occupational safety and health jobs to legal or physical person when there is no prescribed authorization

·        order the removal of workers for whom they can not provide evidence of eligibility (job training, jobs with special conditions, work of minors, protection of pregnant women, foreign workers, workers with reduced working capacity)

·        inform the other body responsible for proceeding

·        impose penalty

·        initiate administrative proceedings against those who violate rules and regulations.

National Council for Safety and Health at Work

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health at Work was established on 5 October 2000 by the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia on the establishment of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health at Work (Official Gazette 99/00 and 47/03) with the aim of systematically monitoring the situation in the field of occupational safety and health in the Republic of Croatia, and in consultation with representatives of employers and workers, to determine, propose, implement and systematically review occupational safety policies and propose legislative changes to improve safety and health of workers.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health at Work has seven members, and the members of the National Council are appointed by decision of Government as their advisory body for occupational safety, consisting of two representatives proposed by the minister responsible for labour, one representative proposed by the minister responsible for health and two representatives of employers and two representatives of workers proposed by representative associations of higher-level employers and workers under a special regulation.

National Council for Occupational Safety and Health at Work:

1) monitors, analyses and evaluates the occupational health and safety system and informs Government on its findings and assessments and proposes necessary changes

2) monitor the effects of the application of Occupational Safety Act, its implementing regulations, special laws and other regulations in the Republic of Croatia to protect the safety and health of workers and, if necessary, propose to the Government their changes, as well as their alignment with international regulations

3) give opinion on draft statements on the assessment impact of regulations and on draft regulations in the field of occupational safety

4) propose measures for improving the system of occupational safety in the Republic of Croatia

5) participate in marking the National Occupational Safety Day

6) perform other tasks at the request of the Government.

Performing occupational safety jobs / authorized persons

The contracting and performance of occupational safety jobs in Croatia is regulated by the provisions of the Occupational Safety Act and the provisions of the Ordinance on performing occupational safety jobs, which means that occupational health and safety jobs can perform OSH expert for employer if he fulfils the conditions prescribed by the aforesaid ordinance, depending on number of workers and activities.

An employer may contract the performance of occupational safety work with a person authorized to perform occupational safety jobs when, for objective and justifiable reasons, he is unable to perform such work on his own, in accordance with the provisions of the Occupational Safety Act and the Ordinance on authorizations for occupational safety jobs.

In Croatia, occupational safety jobs is performed by institutions authorized by the Ministry of Labour and Pension System for the measurement of chemical, physical and biological hazards at the workplace. These are usually private companies that employ engineers from various fields (with expertise in occupational risk management) who are trained to perform and interpret occupational exposure measurements.

Occupational Medicine

Croatian Occupational Safety Act prescribes to employers the obligation to contract services of occupational medicine. For this purpose, the employer can contract the occupational medicine services with a health care institution that performs occupational medicine or with an occupational specialist in private practice, in accordance with the regulations on health care and health insurance.

Occupational medicine tasks and functions are activities related to the workplace, activities aimed at the worker and his / her health, and activities involving information and training.

Compensation and insurance bodies

The beginnings of organized health insurance (then social) insurance in the territory of the Republic of Croatia occur in the 1920s, and to this day, health insurance holders have undergone numerous reforms, as in a name and in their organizational structure, but always with one purpose: implementing insurance for workers and taking care of their policyholders.

The 1990s were marked by numerous normative reforms as well as the wartime events, all of which had an impact on the reforms in the field of health care and health insurance, so that the holder of health insurance since 21 August 1993 is the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, which take the business from the Republican Health Insurance Fund and the Croatian health care, and which to this day operates under this name in order to ensure that all insured persons have the rights and obligations of the compulsory health insurance based on the principles of reciprocity, solidarity and equality. From 2006 to 2010, the Croatian Institute for Occupational Health Insurance was responsible for allocation funds for preventive activities, diagnosis and treatment of occupational diseases and injuries, and sickness compensation. These tasks have been performed by the Croatian Health Insurance Institute since 2011.

The Croatian Pension Insurance Institute is a public institution established by the Pension Insurance Act, which started the process of reforming the pension system, in order to achieve the rights of employees, farmers, craftsmen and other persons from compulsory pension insurance, on the basis of generational solidarity. CPII is the legal successor of the former Republican funds for workers 'pension and disability insurance, independent proprietorships and individual farmers, and all previous institutions whose history began in 1922, when the Central Office for Workers Pension Insurance was established in Zagreb.

Other OSH bodies

Croatian Institute for Public Health - Occupational Health Department

Croatian Institute of Public Health is a public health institute that carries out the following activities: epidemiology of infectious diseases and chronic mass non-communicable diseases, public health, health education with health promotion and disease prevention, health ecology, microbiology, school medicine, mental health and addiction prevention, and implementation of specific health care, education and stakeholder education in the occupational health and safety system (Occupational Health Service). The goal of the Occupational Health Department is to improve the quality of occupational health for all Croatian employees. With that aim they define they define health protection measures, develop standards and working methods, provide advices and carry out occupational health education. The CIPH is the institution responsible for maintaining registries and databases, [Reporting and Surveillance of Occupational Accidents and Illnesses in Europe | and the collection and analysis of data on occupational conditions and injuries at work and occupational diseases].

Croatian Institute for Health Insurance

Croatian Institute for Health Insurance is a public institution within the Ministry of Health which determines the rights, obligations and responsibilities in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Compulsory Health Insurance. The Institute is established through the Directorate and four regional offices (Zagreb, Osijek, Split, Rijeka) that manage the work from 16 branch offices in 134 locations. In Croatia, about 4.300.000 insured persons (99.7%) have compulsory health insurance, and about 2.500.000 policyholders have supplementary health insurance.

In accordance with the Ordinance on the rights, conditions and manner of substantiation of rights arising from compulsory health insurance in the case of work-related injuries and occupational diseases, specifies the rights and obligations arising from compulsory health insurance in the case of work-related injuries and occupational diseases, which include measures of specific health protection of workers, the procedures for determining and recognizing an occupational injury or occupational disease, and the procedures for identifying and recognizing other diseases as a consequence of an already recognized occupational injury or occupational disease of insured persons, as well as the scope of rights, conditions and manner of their realization, which is the responsibility of the Croatian Health Insurance Institute.

Professional associations

Some of important independent expert OSH organizations in Croatia are:

1. Croatian Medical Association - Croatian Society for Occupational Medicine (CSOM) - is a professional association of occupational medicine specialists and / or specialist in occupational medicine and sports of the Croatian Medical Association. All occupational medicine specialists are members of the Croatian Society for Occupational Medicine, with headquarters in Zagreb and branches in Rijeka, Split and Osijek. CSOM membership is voluntary. CSOM organizes specialized courses for its members in the medical training of its members. [31] The society is very active in all regional branches. CSOM organizes professional meetings for their members and professional lectures that are scored according to the Regulations of the Croatian Medical Association. CAOM annually organises 2 professional meetings of the Society, in spring and autumn, as well as the Congress of OSH every four years.

2. Croatian Society of Safety Engineers (CSSE) – is an umbrella professional association that gathers OSH experts, and was founded in 2001 in Zagreb. The aim of the Company is to protect and promote the rights and interests of the safety engineers and to improve OSH in general.

3. Croatian Engineers Association – gathers and unites engineering associations for joint action to protect, develop and promote the engineering profession, and ensure the necessary awareness of the significant influence of engineers in development of the technology, the economy and improvement quality of life.

4. Association for Occupational Health, Safety, Environmental and Fire Protection in Croatian northwest region (AOEF) - The AOEF has been active since 21 May 2004 and is registered with the State Administration Office in Varazdin County. Association headquarter is in Varazdin and is represented by its president and secretary. The association is a non-profit entity whose work is public.

These associations organize workshops, lectures, symposium, congresses and meetings on a various topics about health protection.

Education, training and awareness raising

Legally required training for OSH specialists

Occupational medicine

The Ordinance on specialist training for medical doctors, defines the branches of specialization for medical doctors, duration and program of specializations and narrow specializations, the conditions that must be fulfilled by health institutions, companies that carry out health care and doctors who have private practice for specialization, the way of conducting specializations and narrower specializations and methods for passing the specialist exam.

Specialization in Occupational and Sports Medicine lasts 48 months (4 years) and consists of:

I. theoretical education - 3 months Postgraduate study "Occupational and Sports Medicine"

II. practical training - 41 months

III. vacation - 4 months.

It is conducted in four institutions:

Theoretical education (which lasts three months) takes place at the Schools of Medicine, University of Zagreb.

Practical training takes place in hospital departments, wards, and specialist outpatient clinics operating as residency hosts licensed by the Ministry of Health.

In part, these courses take place in specialised Occupational and Sports Medicine practices ran by Occupational or Occupational & Sports Medicine Specialists licensed by the Ministry of Health.

Areas of occupational and sports medicine expertise that cannot be covered elsewhere are taught at the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Zagreb and the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health.

The curriculum of the 41 month practical training includes:

·        Occupational and sports physiology, working and sporting ability assessment

·        Career orientation and selection

·        Occupational and work-related diseases and Occupational Toxicology

·        Consultative-specialist examinations of patients referred from primary health care, specialist clinics, hospital wards and experts for the evaluation of disability

·        Maritime, Underwater & Hyperbaric Medicine, as well as Aviation Medicine

·        Training and competitions

·        Clinical experience - diseases and injuries related to work and sports, diseases and injuries significant in relation to loss of work and sports ability

·        Mental Health

·        Occupational and Sporting Environment, Health and Safety at Work and Sporting, Sanitation

·        Practice in the Occupational and Sports Medicine outpatient clinics and offices - educational goal is to train the resident to work independently and conduct clinics of occupational medicine and sports

Within the framework of the above residency programme, the resident is obliged to complete postgraduate residency studies in Occupational and Sports Medicine. During the three months of residency, the resident is obliged to attend MD-tailored continuous education courses.

Safety engineers

There are 4 training institutions providing training in occupational safety: The Colleges of Applied Sciences, located in Karlovac, Velika Gorica, Rijeka and Pula. In the fields of technical sciences and interdisciplinary technical sciences, the degree programmes “Professional study of safety" and “Specialist graduate professional study of safety" are offered.

Upon completion of the professional study in occupational safety, lasting 3 years (180 ECTS), one acquires the title of baccalaureus engineer of safety and upon completion of the specialist graduate professional study in occupational safety, lasting 2 years (120 ECTS) one acquires the title “professional specialist safety engineer".

Engineers from other technical fields (e.g. mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and chemical engineers) can gain further qualification as Experts in OSH, certified by the Ministry of Labour. Professional occupational safety exam can be taken according to the program of the Ordinance on occupational safety training and passing the professional exam.

Other vocational training

Vocational education is carried out by institutions for vocational education on the basis of the decision of the Ministry responsible for education, and the Vocational Education Act (Official Gazette No. 30/09, 24/10, 22/13, 25/18) regulates secondary vocational education, training and education and also an activity that enables the development and acquisition of competences necessary to obtain vocational qualifications.

The VET Council is established under the Vocational Education and Training Act, and the Council coordinates the work of all stakeholders in the field of VET, initiates initiatives for adopting new or modifying existing curriculum, proposes measures, activities and strategies for the development of VET, gives opinion for adopting the network and designating regional centers of competence.

The current system of vocational education and training in Croatia covers 70.9% of the total secondary school population, (135,930 pupils in 290 schools).

Awareness raising networks

Members of all professional associations are interconnected in a national OSH network. There are informal networks on social media (Facebook, Linkedin and similar).

Specialized technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health (IMROH)

The Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health (IMROH) was established in 1947, originally as the Institute for Industrial Hygiene. Research started in 1949 studying the health impacts of physical and chemical workplace conditions. From 1953, the Institute expanded to include departments of oncology, immunochemistry, chemotherapy, balneology, climatology, and the history of medicine. IMROH applies a multi-disciplinary approach to studying how chemical, physical, and biological agents affect biological systems – in the general and working environment. This includes monitoring air, soil, water, and food, providing occupational health research, professional services, and expert advice to policy makers on environmental protection and safety at work.[1]

Standardization bodies

Croatian Standards Institute

The Croatian Standards Institute, the national standards body of the Republic of Croatia, is an autonomous non-profit public institution. It pursues the following objectives related to standardisation and certification:

  • increasing the safety level of products and processes
  • protecting human health, lives and the environment
  • promoting the quality of products, processes and services
  • ensuring the appropriate use of work, materials and energy
  • improving production efficiency
  • controlling variety, ensuring compatibility and interchangeability
  • removing technical barriers to international trade.

The Croatian Standards Institute is a member of the following international organisations:

  • International Organisation for Standardization (ISO)
  • International Electro-technical Commission (IEC)
  • European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
  • European Committee for Electro-technical Standardization (CENELEC)
  • European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) (status: NSO member).[2]

Institutions and organisations

Table 2: Main OSH institutions and organisations in Croatia

Key actors in OSH dialogue National OSH Council
Key OSH social partners Croatian Employers' Association
Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia
Independent Trade Unions of Croatia
Association of Croatian Trade Unions
Federal OSH authorities and inspection services Ministry of Labour and Pension System
The State Labour Inspectorate
Professional organisations of OSH services Croatian Association of Occupational Medicine (CAOM)
Key compensation and insurance bodies Croatian Institute for Health Insurance
Croatian Pension Insurance Institute
Key prevention institutes Croatian Institute for Public Health
Key research institutes Institute for Occupational Medicine and Medical Research (Zagreb)
Key standardisation body Croatian Standards Institute

Source: Summary by the authors


[1] IMROH - Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health (2010). Homepage. Retrieved 6 November 2013, from:

[2] Croatian Standards Institute (no date). Homepage. Retrieved 1 December 2013, from:

Further reading

WHO – World Health Organization, Assessment of health-system crises preparedness – Croatia, 2012. Available at:

Country Agenda between Croatia and the International Labour Organisation 2010-2011, Decent Work. Retrieved 17 February 2014, from:

Voncina, L., Jemiai, N., Merkur, S., Golna, C., Maeda, A., Chao, S., Dzakula, A., ‘Croatia. Health system review’, Health Systems in Transition, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (editor), Vol. 8, No. 7, 2006. Available at:

Voncina, L., Kehler, J., Evetovits, T., Bagat, M., ‘Health insurance in Croatia: dynamics and politics of balancing revenues and expenditures’, The European Journal of Health Economics, Apr.,11(2), 2010, pp. 227-233. Available at:

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Klaus Kuhl

Richard Graveling

Ana Akrap