Occupational safety is one of the priorities of the social security system in Belarus. An employee’s right to a safe workplace is one of the key guarantees enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
The occupational health and safety management system has certain peculiarities in Belarus. One of them is that the government is actively involved in managing this system through a number of mechanisms and procedures, like regulations establishing binding requirements and guarantees and determining the scope of authority of all parties involved in labor relations.
Belarus has developed a comprehensive legal framework in the field of occupational safety that is based on the best practices of Belarus and other countries.
This law was the basis for developing a consistent and comprehensive occupational management system that determines roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders at all levels: from the national level to the company level, to people in charge of occupational safety and employees. This system provides for comprehensive solutions related to workplace safety. It protects employees’ right to safe labor and compensation for accidents and diseases related to work.
The system of compulsory insurance against accidents at work is made up of employers’ contributions. It is meant to support workers in the event of accidents at work and occupational diseases.
There are laws regulating occupational safety training of employees and managers, medical checks of workers, provision of personal and collective protective equipment, investigation of accidents at the workplace.
Workplace attestation is meant to protect workers in hazardous conditions. Employees working in harmful working conditions are entitled to certain types of compensation. They have the right to higher wages, a shortened working day, additional annual leave.
Early retirement (five and ten years earlier) is envisaged for certain categories of employees. In 2009 a special law introduced a professional pension insurance system based on additional contributions from employers depending on workplaces with hazardous working conditions.
At present, it is implemented by a special supervisory body, the Occupational Safety Department at the Labor and Social Security Ministry of Belarus.
Social partners are actively involved in addressing occupational health and safety issues. The Law on Trade Unions of the Republic of Belarus empowers trade unions to protect workers' rights to safe working conditions within the framework of public control.
Occupational safety measures are an integral part of the overall management system of a company. This work takes into account the specifics of a particular enterprise, the risks associated with its production processes.
The occupational health and safety management system is designed to take account of these specific features and ensure comprehensive work on occupational health and safety risk management. The Law on Occupational Health and Safety obliges the employer to develop, implement and maintain an occupational health and safety management system.
The national standard STB 18001 "Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. Requirements" was introduced in Belarus in 2005. The document establishes the main requirements for the occupational health and safety management system of an enterprise. In 2009, the national standard was amended taking into account generally accepted international standards.
The whole complex of measures in labor protection, from adoption of legislation and development of labor protection management systems to state supervision and public control, aims to solve one main task, which is to reduce the number of on-the-job accidents. Belarus has achieved positive results in this area.
Compared to 1991, in 2019:
- the number of workers injured at work decreased tenfold;
- fatal injury rates decreased by almost 3 times;
- fatal injury rate per 100,000 workers decreased from 8.7 in 1991 to 3.6 in 2019 and meets the level of European countries today.
In recent years the country’s occupational safety policy has been aimed at introducing new forms and methods to prevent on-the-job accidents.