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Rights and Responsibilities of the Working Environment Representative

Viimati uuendatud: 24.02.2017

Rights and Responsibilities of the Working Environment Representative

The working environment representative is the representative of employees and the employer’s cooperation partner in questions related to the working environment. One important task of the representative is to check that the company operations are safe and all requirements are met (e.g., that employees use personal protective equipment, tools’ protective devices are in working order, and employees get required training before starting to work). Employees are legally obliged to follow the orders related to the working environment that are given by the working environment representative.

To fulfil their role, the representative must be aware of the legal acts related to occupational health and safety that are applicant to the specific company, and the working environment regulations enacted in the company (e.g., the obligation to wear personal protective equipment at certain tasks).

When discovering a deficiency, the representative must inform the employees and the employer. The representative is entitled to give orders related to the occupational health and safety to other employees, demand that the employer eliminates the discovered deficiencies and upgrades the working environment. If the work endangers the health or life of someone, the representative is entitled to temporarily stop the work. The representative is also involved in the investigation of occupational accidents and occupational diseases.

How much time the representative needs for fulfilling their working environment responsibilities depends on the company and this shall be determined in the contract concluded between the employer and the employee (or in the collective agreement). The Occupational Health and Safety Act prescribes that this time is, at the minimum, 2 hours per week, remunerated for with the average wages.

The employer must grant the working environment representative access to working environment information and documents necessary to perform their tasks (e.g., if the employee usually does not work on a computer, they are granted access to a computer with Internet connection for two hours per week, to acquaint themselves with the legal acts relevant for the working environment).

Like any other employee, the representative is entitled to consult the labour inspector and get information about precepts issued to the employer.

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