At national level, state and administrative supervision is organised by the Director-General of the Labour Inspectorate on the basis of the statute of the Inspectorate, the statutes of the structural units and the job description. On behalf of the Labour Inspectorate, supervision is carried out by labour inspectors.
The purpose of supervision of the Labour Inspectorate is to contribute, through inspection and informing the employer, to ensuring a safe and healthy working environment and to the existence of employment relationships that comply with the requirements of legislation, in order to direct the employer's activities towards the creation of fair, safe and healthy working conditions.
Benefits of supervision
The Labour Inspectorate supervises all employers regardless of their form of ownership or area of activity, based on the same requirements. This contributes to ensuring equal competition so that some employers do not gain an unjustified short-term advantage over organisations that care about the life and health of workers, the advantage gained by means of not paying attention to health and safety at work and not bearing the related costs.
In the companies inspected, cooperation with the Labour Inspectorate generally results in the following:
- increased awareness of employment relationships and the working environment among employers and employees;
- a safer working environment;
- less damage to health;
- more satisfied employees;
- higher productivity;
- a better reputation among partners and customers.
How to prepare for an inspection?
Good cooperation between the labour inspector and the employer is a prerequisite for effective, fast, non-burdensome supervision. The employer's representative must ensure the availability of occupational health and safety documentation and participation in the inspection of workers dealing with work environment issues. During the inspection, the inspector has the right to talk to employees, a working environment specialist, a working environment representative and representatives of employers.
The inspector shall inform the employer of the commencement of the supervision procedure as well as of the inspection. This means that the inspector sends the employer a corresponding notice, stating the documents to be examined during the inspection and the time of the visit. On the basis of the list, the employer can review the documents in the notice, whether all the required documents exist or not, and prepare the existing documents for inspection. It is also possible to upload all the requested documents to the Working Life Information System so that the inspector can consult them even before the visit. The employer can also provide feedback to the labour inspector if the time for carrying out the inspection is not suitable.
It is important to remember that the Labour Inspectorate has the right to carry out inspections without prior notice.
Regardless of whether the inspection is carried out with or without advance notice, the following rules shall apply:
- The labour inspector has an obligation to explain the conduct of the procedure;
- During the inspection, the labour inspector shall examine the working environment and the related documents on the spot in the enterprise.
- The employer also has the opportunity to submit the documentation on employment relationships or working environment in TEIS before the inspection takes place, enabling the labour inspector to consult them before the inspection.
- If the labour inspector identifies deficiencies during the inspection, these shall be recorded in the minutes of the proceedings. The labour inspector also explains to the employer the content of the deficiencies.
- After the inspection has been carried out, the labour inspector shall draw up a report on the proceedings, which shall be forwarded to the employer.
- The employer has the right to submit their opinion/objections to the labour inspector within five working days after receipt of the report. It means the right to consultation.
- If, within these five working days, the employer submits evidence that the deficiencies have been remedied and the labour inspector can confirm this, no precept shall be issued.
- The labour inspector shall have the right to issue a precept concerning the deficiencies identified. This means requiring the deficiencies to be remedied by means of a precept setting a specific deadline.
The supervision shall include the inspection of:
- compliance with occupational health and safety requirements;
- compliance with employment relationship requirements;
- compliance with the requirements for the employment relationship of vehicle drivers;
- compliance with the requirements set out in sections 38 and 391 of the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act.
Underlying legislation of the supervision
Supervision by the Labour Inspectorate is based on legislation and related regulations:
- Law Enforcement Act;
- Administrative Procedure Act;
- Government of the Republic Act;
- Substitutive Enforcement and Penalty Payment Act;
- Chapter 6 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
- Section 115 of the Employment Contracts Act;
- Chapter 6 of the Seafarers Employment Act;
- Section 8 of the Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act;
- Subsection 71 (7) of the Railways Act;
- compliance with working and rest time requirements of vehicle drivers:
- Section 139 of the Traffic Act;
- Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
- Regulation (EU) No. 165/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
- Regulation No. 151 of the Government of the Republic of 21 October 2010 on the ‘Organisational requirements for the supervision of working, driving and rest time of drivers of motor vehicles1’;
- compliance with the requirements of collective labour relations legislation:
- Section 161 of the Collective Agreements Act;
- Section 22 of the Employees’ Trustee Act;
- Section 241 of the Trade Unions Act;
- Section 83 of the Community-scale Involvement of Employees Act;
- Subsection 38 (7) and section 39 of the Chemicals Act;
- Subsection 13 (5) and Chapter 4 of the Contained Use of Genetically Modified Micro-organisms Act;
- Clause 43 (1) 3), sections 431, 432 and 46 of the Biocidal Products Act;
- Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (or REACH Regulation);
- Sections 38 and 39¹ of the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act;
- Compliance with the requirements of the Regulation established on the basis of Subsection 97 (3) of the Radiation Act on the ‘Reference level of radon concentrations in the air in premises, the procedure for measuring air radon content and the employer's obligations in workplaces with an increased radon risk¹’.