The obligation of health and safety training applies to all farm workers. The farmer works in many jobs that require a variety of skills while causing numerous health risks. It is the duty of every farmer to ensure safe and hygienic working conditions for himself and his colleagues in order to avoid accidents and occupational diseases.
The employer’s obligation to ensure that its employees undergo initial and periodic training in occupational health and safety to an extent appropriate to the type of work performed and the position of work arises from the Labour Code. Detailed requirements are set out in the Regulation of the Minister of Economy and Labour of 27 July 2004 on training in the field of occupational safety and health (as amended) (Journal of Laws No. 180, item 1860, of 2005 and Journal of Laws No. 116, item 972, of 2007 and Journal of Laws No. 196, item 1420).
Training may be carried out by the employer or a designated employee, each of whom must have received prior training in the form of an examination-based course or seminar organised by a health and safety training body. Training can also be outsourced directly to a person or entity providing training in this field.
Initial training is conducted in the form of:
- general instruction – for all newly recruited staff,
- job-related training – for employees in blue-collar jobs starting work or transferred to a new position.
The employee shall confirm in writing that he/she has received general and job-specific instruction on the initial training card, which shall be kept in the employee’s personal file. Periodic training is carried out for specific groups of employees at the following intervals:
- for workers in manual positions, instruction – at least every 3 years,
- for the employer and those in charge of employees (managers, masters, foremen) – a course, seminar or guided self-study – at least every 5 years,
- for administrative and clerical workers exposed to harmful, strenuous or hazardous factors, at least every 6 years.
- NOTE: Pursuant to Section 15(1) of the r.s.b.h.p. (Regulation on occupational health and safety training, the next periodic training of workers employed in blue-collar jobs shall be carried out in the form of instruction at least once every three years, and in positions where particularly hazardous work is performed, at least once a year.
Particularly hazardous work listed in the aforementioned regulation includes:
- construction, demolition, renovation and assembly work carried out without stopping the operation of the workplace or part of it,
- working in tanks, ducts, inside technical equipment and other dangerous confined spaces,
- work with hazardous materials (e.g. chemical substances and preparations – including, for example, herbicides or biocides),
- working at heights.
Periodic training concludes with an examination by an organiser, e.g. a suitably trained employer. Confirmation of the training and a positive result of the examination is a certificate attached to the employee’s personal file. During the training, the employee acquires, updates or supplements knowledge and skills concerning the performance of work and behaviour in the workplace in a manner consistent with the health and safety regulations and principles. The training programme is developed by the training provider, e.g. an appropriately trained employer according to the nature of the activities carried out on the farm and the type of workstations, taking into account the risk analysis. The scope of the training should include the following:
- factors in the working environment that may cause risks to the safety and health of workers at work,
- risk prevention measures and actions,
- health and safety regulations and rules to the extent necessary to carry out the work in the specified position,
- Work-related health and safety duties and responsibilities,
- carrying out the work in a way that is safe for themselves and others,
- dealing with emergency situations and providing assistance to a person involved in an accident.
The framework curricula for initial and periodic training for different groups of employees, a specimen training card and a specimen training certificate are available in the annexes of the aforementioned MEL regulation.
Records of training activities should be kept on the farm, including information on training dates, programmes and lecturers. Attendance lists of trainees should be available.