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Working Environment Specialist

The working environment specialist is a competent working environment employee (engineer, specialist) in a company whom the employer has commissioned to fulfil tasks related to occupational health and safety. The working environment specialist may have higher education in the field or attended a longer or shorter course.

When appointing the working environment specialist, the employer must consider whether the person has the necessary competence to fulfil their tasks or whether they should be sent for training. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the appointed working environment specialist must already be competent in working environment topics and only needs follow-up training every five tears.

The employer can carry out the tasks of the working environment specialist themselves if they have received relevant training. Taking on the responsibilities of a working environment specialist must be thoroughly considered, as this activity might be rather vast in scale – but in the case of small companies, completely manageable and reasonable.

If the employer does not find a person suitable to be the working environment specialist in their company and does not wish to take on the position themselves, they can use an external service provider.

Usually, one company has one working environment specialist, but the law does not prohibit having several. The number of working environment specialists in a company must be sufficient to carry out protective and preventive measures, keeping in mind the size and hazard factors in the company.

Possible responsibilities of the working environment specialist include:

  • evaluating the work environment risk factors and compiling a corresponding work environment risk assessment document;
  • based on the risk assessment, planning measures to avoid or decrease the influence of factors that might harm the health of employees;
  • compiling safety instructions;
  • introductory training for the employees;
  • carrying out occupational health and safety internal audits;
  • organizing the employees’ health checks;
  • investigating the occupational accidents and occupational diseases diagnosed in the company.

NB! The working environment specialist is obliged to temporarily stop work in a hazardous work section or prohibit the use of hazardous equipment if they pose a direct risk to the employees’ life or health and it is impossible to eliminate the hazard otherwise.

The employer must provide equipment to the working environment specialist for carrying out their tasks. For better results on guaranteeing a safe and healthy work environment, the working environment specialist must cooperate with the employer, employees, and, if necessary, third parties (e.g. an occupational health doctor).

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