On July 11, 2020. the new Rulebook on preventive measures for health and safety at work in order to prevent the occurrence and spread of an infectious disease epidemic entered into force.
The Rulebook of the Ministry of Labor on preventive measures for health and safety at work in order to prevent the occurrence and spread of an infectious disease epidemic was published in the “Official Gazette of RS”, no. 94/2020 on July 3, 2020, and entered into force on July 11, 2020 (hereinafter: the Rulebook).
This Rulebook applies to all workplaces and work environments in which work is performed, except for field work and work from home.
In accordance with the Rulebook, the employer is obliged to adopt a plan for the implementation of measures, aimed at prevention of the occurrence and spread of an infectious disease epidemic, applicable to all work positions in the employer’s work environment (hereinafter: the Plan). This Plan is an integral part of the risk assessment act, which is adopted in accordance with the law and regulations in the field of safety and health at work. The Plan determines measures and activities that increase and improve the employees’ safety and health in order to prevent the outbreak of infectious disease, as well as measures and activities taken in case of the infectious disease outbreaks. At the same time, the Plan regulates the obligations and responsibilities related to the monitoring and control of the health and safety measures at work implementation, for which the person in charge of health and safety at work is in charge.
Duties of the employer in accordance with the provisions of the Rulebook:
A) Measures that are to be taken in order to prevent the occurrence of an infectious disease:
The employer is obliged to ensure the application of preventive measures at every workplace in the work environment, and in particular the following measures:
1) before the beginning of work, to provide written instructions and directions on measures and procedures for the prevention of the infectious disease outbreak, which contain information on the infectious disease symptoms;
2) in accordance with the possibilities, if work in shifts is not organized, to redistribute working hours by introducing the second or third shift with a smaller number of employees;
3) to conduct enhanced hygiene and disinfection of work and auxiliary rooms, which includes regular disinfection of rooms and frequent ventilation of the work space;
4) to provide employees with sufficient amounts of soap, towels, running water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers;
5) to ensure regular cleaning of all surfaces that are frequently touched in the workplace, especially rooms and equipment such as toilets, door handles, fixed telephones, computer equipment and other work equipment;
6) to regulate the manner of keeping records on working and auxiliary premises’ disinfection, which the employer organizes and implements;
7) to ensure the instructions for safe and healthy work with contractors, suppliers, distributors and external associates;
8) to organize and ensure regular removal of waste and garbage (garbage cans lined with plastic bags) from the premises, so that they can be emptied without contact with the contents.
B) Measures taken in case of an infectious disease in the work environment outbreak, in order to suppress it:
The employer is obliged to ensure the application of preventive measures in the event of an infectious disease outbreak, in particular the following:
1) the area where the infected employee stayed is regularly physically and chemically disinfected and ventilated;
2) the procedures for entering and leaving the employer's premises are respected, the prescribed means and equipment for personal protection at work and other protection measures during the work process are used;
3) the directions of movement of employees through working and auxiliary premises are precisely defined;
4) strict control of the movement of employees from the organizational unit in which the infected employee worked is organized;
5) contacts of employees from the organizational unit in which the employee who was infected was staying with other employees are reduced to the necessary ones with the prescribed protection measures;
6) all other measures recommended by the epidemiologist.
The obligations of the employee are as follows:
1) to implement all preventive measures of safety and health at work in order to preserve his health, as well as the health of other employees;
2) to use the prescribed means and equipment for personal protection at work purposefully, and to handle them carefully, in order not to endanger his safety and health, as well as safety and health of other persons;
3) to take care of his hygiene additionally, by washing his hands regularly and correctly;
4) to keep his personal clothing separate from means and equipment for personal protection at work and from work clothes;
5) to inform the employer if he suspects the symptoms of a contagious disease in himself, other employees or members of his family;
6) before the beginning of work, to inspect his workplace, including the means for work he uses, as well as means and equipment for personal protection at work, and, in case of observed deficiencies, to inform the employer or other authorized person;
7) before leaving the workplace, to leave the workplace and means of work in a position not to endanger other employees;
8) in accordance with his knowledge, to inform the employer immediately about irregularities, harms, dangers or other phenomena that could endanger his safety and health at work or the safety and health of other employees;
9) to cooperate with the employer and the person in charge for safety and health at work, for the purposes of additional necessary measures for safety and health at work implementation.
The employer is obliged to adopt the Plan for the implementation of measures within 30 days from the date of the Rulebook’s entry into force, i.e. until August 10, 2020. Furthermore, with the possible occurrence of changes that affect the matter of health and safety at work during the epidemic, the employer will be obliged to harmonize the Plan with the decisions of the competent authorities.