The safe working environment is imperative nowdays when accidents and failures are more frequent. The Law on Safety and Health at Work (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 101/2005, 91/2015 and 113/2017) foresee as one of the measures for ensuring a safe working environment, the obligation of an employer to train employees on providing a first aid.
Employers have two more months to harmonize their businesses with the provisions of the Rulebook on the method of providing first aid, the type of tools and equipment that must be provided at the workplace, the manner and timeframes for training of first aiders (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 109/2016) (hereinafter: the “Rulebook”).
The Rulebook entered into force on January 7, 2017, by which the Rulebook on equipment and procedure for first aid and organization of the rescue service in the event of an accident at work of 1971. has been replaced after 50 years.
Those employers who have provided the use of tools and equipment for providing first aid before 7 January 2017, are also obliged to fully apply with the provisions of the Rulebook.
Namely, by January 7 2019, employers are obliged to conduct first aid training for all workers, that should be repeated on every five years. The work process should be organized in such manner which ensure hat the provision of first aid is available to every employee during working hours, in all shifts and at all locations.
Health workers are exempted from this obligation, while employees who already completed first aid training and those who already passed the first aid exam in accordance with other regulations, are exempted from basic first aid training until the expiration of five years.
Namely, there are two types of trainings, basic first aid training, which relates to all work places and advanced first aid training, which relates to workplaces with increased risk.
In particular, first aid training should be carried by all managers, as well as at least 2% of the total number of employees in one work shift or locally separated unit. They should carry basic or advanced first aid trainings, depending on the estimated risks.
The Rulebook therefore does not envisage the maximum number of employees who should be able to provide first aid, but only a minimum.
The Appendix 2 to the Rulebook, the First Aid Training Program sets out the mandatory content of basic and advanced first aid trainings, tailored to the estimated risks at the work places and consists of theoretical and practical parts.
At least one employee who has completed basic training for first aid should be present for each work shift and locally separated unit, while at least one employee educated on advanced first aid training should be present at the workplace with increased risk. The employer is obliged to inform all employees about employees who are qualified for providing a first aid.
In addition to the obligation to train first-aiders, special provisions are also prescribed for the first aid equipment that should be located in the work premises.
Namely, the employer is obliged to provide a wall cabinet or a carry-on first-aid kit in work rooms and open spaces.
The Rulebook lists a number of tools and equipment, that should be located in a wall cabinet or carry-on first-aid kit, such as sterile gauze of certain sizes, adhesive patches, disposable gloves, but also Guidelines and procedures for provision of first aid, that is attached to the Rulebook, as Appendix 1. This implies that, if employers have acquired first aid tools and equipment that do not meet the specifications prescribed in the Rulebook, they bear the risk of non-compliance with the regulations on first aid kits.
One wall cabinet or carry-on first-aid kit is sufficient for up to 20 employees, while from 20 to 100 employees and for each next 100 employees, one more additional cabinet or a carry-on first-aid kit is needed.
A wall cabinet need to be easily accessible by every employee. The cabinet must be marked with a red cross, and following contacts need to be marked: the address and telephone number of the nearest ambulance service and the medical institution; address and telephone number of the healthcare institution that provides specific services for individual injuries (e.g. poisoning center, center for burns, etc.); telephone numbers of the nearest police station and fire brigade and telephone numbers and the names of employees qualified to provide first aid.
It should be noted that the obligation to train first aid workers is one of a number of obligations that employers should implement in order to provide with safe and secure work environment in terms of the Law on Safety and Health at Work.
The ministry in charge for the for labor matters, through the labor inspectorate, has the authority to monitor the implementation of the Rulebook and to initiate misdemeanor proceedings against employers if finds that employers have not undertook necessary trainings or have not acquired appropriate equipment.
The Law on Safety and Health at Work prescribes a fine for non-compliance with the Rulebook, ranging from an amount of RSD 800,000 to 1,000,000 for an employer which is legal entity, an amount of RSD 400,000 to 500,000 for an employer who is a private entrepreneur and an amount of RSD 40,000 to 50,000 for a director or other responsible person within an employer.
Attorney at law Damir Petrović
The information contained herein has been provided only for the purpose of general information and cannot be considered as a legal opinion or legal advice. Accordingly, the Law Firm Petrović Mojsić & Partners disclaims all responsibility and accept no liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents contained herein.