POLICY BRIEF

 POLICY BRIEF

 Name of the project: Towards Improved Health and Safety at Work in Western Balkans

Name of the partner: PEN & CPA – Kosovo

Topic: The role of the social partners in the creation, implementation and revision of the strategy and regulations of the OHS; Review of the strategy and regulatory framework in OHS and Labor inspection in Kosovo.

Aim: This research is part of a regional initiative between Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project: Towards Improved Health and Safety at Work in Western Balkan aims to contribute towards the improvement of labor rights in the above mentioned countries with a special focus on the right to healthy and safe workplace, in the context of EU perspective of the Western Balkans and the EU Pillar of Social Rights as adopted in 2017.

By connecting the main stakeholders of the field, this project is trying to promote health and safety councils, promote the Social Dialogue between employers and employees and also promote and advocate the importance of harmonizing our legislation with the EU standards.

This specific desk research conducted by two organizations in Kosovo is focused on the role of social partners in the creation, revision as well as implementation of the existing strategies on the Health and Security field. This research first revises the existent regulatory framework and the strategies of the field in Kosovo, to further continue with the existent bodies, their mission and their work. Furthermore, through the policy brief, there is a comparison with the strategies and frameworks on the European level.

Kosovo as a transitional country is facing difficulties in adapting policies and especially practicing those policies in every institutional level. Apart from revising the European level policies that have been merged into the Kosovo legislation, this research tries to identify the gaps in implementation and propose new approaches, that could be adapted in Kosovo and in the region as well.

Research team: Erblin Ajdini (Peer Educators Network); Diana Morina (Peer Educators Network)

and Milaim Morina (Center for Policies and Advocacy).

CONTENT

1.      Methodology

1.2 Stakeholders

  • Existing strategies and regulatory framework on the national level
  • Labor Inspectorate and National Council on Health and Safety at Work

3.1 National Council on Occupational Health and Safety

  • The role of social partners in the creation, implementation and revision of the

strategy and regulations of the OHS

  • Conclusions and recommendations


1.   METHODOLOGY

Since this policy brief aims to come up with a general idea of how the system works in Kosovo, regarding the health and safety in the workplace, it was very important to contact the main stakeholders in this field, apart from consulting the legal framework, literature and other previous researches and policy briefs.

Therefore, in order to respond to the main idea of the policy brief, mixed methods and qualitative and quantitative tools have been used, such as: interviews, reviews and analyzes of empiric data, consultation with previous policy briefs and researches etc.

First, the staff involved in this research contacted with Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Ministry of Health, Labor Inspectorate and Economic Chamber of Kosovo and conducted interviews with representatives of the above mentioned institutions. The purpose of the interviews was to understand more about the structure of these institutions known as stakeholders, their mission and competences, their work in the field and the compatibility of what they do with the laws and regulatory framework in general. The research team has drafted and used specific questions for each interviews, but following the same template. The questions were adapted according to the person/official interviewed and did aim to find out more about their knowledge on the field, their level of responsibility and their daily work.

Secondly, the researchers team have consulted the regulatory framework on health and safety at work in Kosovo and the regulatory framework on the European level to see the level of compatibility and if specific articles of EU are relevant and are well-adapted to the context of Kosovo.

Taking into consideration the data obtained from the interviews and reviews of regulatory framework the staff has been able to come up with a brief analyze of the current situation in Kosovo and the functioning of the stakeholder institutions and the role of social partners in drafting, reviewing and implementing the laws and administrative instructions. The research has been completed by the outcomes of the roundtable on health and safety at work organized in Pristina in October 2018 and with stakeholders as panelists and participants and also has been complemented by certain second interviews with some of the stakeholders such as the Head of the Inspectorate in order to update the data.

According to the findings and the qualitative analyzes, by the end of the policy brief the researchers team did come up with conclusions and brief recommendations for the main stakeholders.

1.2  STAKEHOLDERS

Based on the existing laws, responsibilities regarding health and safety at work fall within the competencies of some institutions, such as: Labor Inspectorate, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and Ministry of Health. By law, each of these Institutions have specific duties when it comes to health and security at work.

On the other hand, apart from these public institutions that have executive competencies, there are other stakeholders such as:

  • Union of Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo,
  • Kosovo Chamber of commerce and other chambers,
  • Civil Society organizations

Union of Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo (alb. Bashkimi i sindikatave të pavarura të Kosovës – BSPK) – is the only confederate of independent trade unions in Kosovo, playing an important role in representing workers rights. The role of the union is to build and promote a modern democracy and a functioning economy in which unemployment, economy and charity, privatization, health and safety at work, education, workers’ rights and union freedoms, salaries, pensions and poverty, are the main battles and challenges of BSPK. BSPK is represented in some of the main bodies that have been established with the aim of improving health and safety at work.

Kosovo Chamber of Commerce (KCC) is a leading business association in Kosovo. According to the law on the establishment of KCC, membership is on a voluntary basis. KCC consists of two main departments, thirty associations and over 15,000 registered members.

Business Alliance of Kosovo (BAC) is the largest alliance of business associations and individual businesses in Kosovo. Founded in 2002, BAK has attracted 28 business associations with over 9500 members.

Civil society organizations – independent non-governmental organizations who deal with human rights in general and workers rights in particular. Numerous organizations work in Kosovo in the field of labor with the special focus on the promotion of decent work, shared parental leave and health and safety at work. These respectful organizations are: Peer Educators Network (PEN); Center for Policies and Advocacy (CPA), Democracy for Development (D4D); Archidata, Kosovo Occupational Health and Safety etc.

2.   EXISTING STRATEGIES AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL

Safety and health at work as well as the role and functioning of social partners and implementing mechanisms is regulated by specific laws and is complemented by secondary legislation/administrative instructions.

I.                        Primary legislation

LAW NO.03/L –212 ON LABOUR1 – approved in 2010, The labour Law aims at regulating the rights and obligations deriving from employment relationship, as defined by this Law.

LAW NO. 04/L-161 ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK2 – approved in 2013, The purpose of this law is to define measures for improving safety levels and health of the employees at workplace. The law contains general principles for preventing professional risks, elimination of risk factors and accidents, information, consultation, balanced participation in improvement of safety and health levels at work, training of employees, their representatives and general instructions for implementation of these principles.

LAW NO. 2002/9 ON LABOUR INSPECTORATE3 – approved in 2008, The law established the Labour Inspectorate as an executive body of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. The Labour Inspectorate supervises implementation of legal provisions and by-laws in the field of labour generally, including labour relations, safety at work, protection of health of the employees and working environment.

LAW NO.03/L-017 ON AMENDMENT AND SUPPLEMENTATION OF THE LAW ON LABOUR

INSPECTORATE NO.2002/94 – approved in 2008. The law established the Labour Inspectorate as an important mechanism that supervises implementation of Labor Law and protection provisions at work. With a purpose of avoiding obstacles and difficulties in implementation of the Law on Labour Inspectorate

LAW NO.04/L –008 ON SOCIAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL5- approved in 2011, This law regulates and defines the organization, scope, forms of work and the overall functioning of the Social Economic Council, as well as defining terms and criteria for representation of social partners in this tripartite body.

1  https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDocumentDetail.aspx?ActID=2735

2 https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDocumentDetail.aspx?ActID=8689

3 https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDocumentDetail.aspx?ActID=3252

4  https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDocumentDetail.aspx?ActID=2581

5  https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDocumentDetail.aspx?ActID=2747

LAW NO. 05/L – 062 ON SAFETY AT WORK IN MINING ACTIVITY 6 – approved in 2016. This law

reto determine the general principles on prevention of risks at work and protection of health of the employees in mining sector, obligation of the employer, rights and obligations of the workers and persons responsible for the safety at work and health of the employees, to set the necessary standards for safety at work in mining activities.

II.    Secondary legislation in the field of safety and health at work7

REGULATION (GRK) NO.14/2014 FOR SETTING THE RULES AND WORKING PROCEDURE OF THE

NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK – This regulation aims to define the rules and work procedure of the National Council on Safety and Health at Work (hereinafter referred to as the Council), the rights and duties of the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Secretary and members of the Council, as well as other important issues for the work of the Council.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 09/2017 ON THE PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES FROM RISKS RELATED

TO THE OPTICAL RADIATION AT THE WORKPLACE – This regulation lays down the minimum requirements for the protection of employees from risk to their health and safety arising or likely to arise from exposure to optical radiation during their work.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 10/2017 ON SAFETY AND HEALTH PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES

FROM THE RISKS RELATED TO CHEMICAL AGENTS AT WORK – This regulation establishes minimum requirement for protection of safety and health at work from risks that arise or many arise from the effects of chemical agents present at the workplace or as a result of any work activity involving chemical agents.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 08/2017 ON THE PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES FROM RISKS RELATED

TO THE ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD AT THE WORKPLACE – This regulation lays down minimum requirements for the protection of employees from risks to their health and safety during work, arising, or likely to arise, from exposure to electromagnetic fields.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 05/2017 ON PROTECTION OF WORKERS FROM RISKS RELATED TO

EXPOSURE TO BIOLOGICAL AGENTS AT WORK – This regulation defines minimum requirements needed from safety and health of employees thorough prevention of risks that are likely to arise from exposure to biological agents at work.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 06/2017 ON MINIMUM SAFETY AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS AT

TEMPORARY OR MOBILE CONSTRUCTIONS SITES – This regulation lays down the minimum safety and health at work requirements at temporary and mobile construction sites.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO.07/2017 ON THE PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES FROM RISKS RELATED

TO EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS AT WORK – This regulation has as its aim the protection of workers against risks to their health, including the prevention of such risks, arising or likely to arise from exposure to asbestos at work.

REGULATION  (MLSW) NO. 03/2017 ON  THE PREVENTION  FROM SHARP  INJURIES  IN  THE

WORKPLACES IN THE HOSPITAL AND HEALTHCARE SECTOR- this regulation defines minimal

6 https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDocumentDetail.aspx?ActID=12324

7 https://gzk.rks-gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=8689

requirements of the prevention of sharp injuries/accidents in their workplaces in the hospital and healthcare sector.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 04/2017 ON THE PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES FROM RISKS RELATED

TO EXPOSURE TO CARCINOGENS AND MUTAGENS AT WORK – The purpose of this regulation is to protect employees against risks to their health and safety arising or likely to arise from exposure to carcinogens of mutagens at work, including the prevention of such risks.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 01/2017 ON THE PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES FROM RISKS RELATED

TO VIBRATION AT THE WORKPLACE – This regulation lays down for the protection of employees from risks to their safety and health arising or likely to arise from exposure to mechanical vibration.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 02/2017 ON THE PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES FROM RISKS RELATED

TO NOISE AT THE WORKPLACE- This regulation lays down the minimum requirements necessary for the protection of employees from risks to their safety and health, arising or likely to arise from exposure to noise at the workplace, and in particular, the risks of hearing damages.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO.05/2016 ON MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS REGARDING OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH OF EMPLOYEES AT RISK FROM EXPLOSIVE ATMOSPHERES – This regulation

lays down the minimum requirements regarding occupational safety and health of employees at risks from explosive atmospheres.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 06/2016 ON THE MINIMUM SAFETY AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

FOR WORK WITH DISPLAY SCREEN EQUIPMENT– This regulation lays down the minimum requirements for work with display screen equipment.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 02/2016 ON MINIMUM SAFETY AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS FOR THE USE OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AT THE WORKPLACE – This regulation lays

down the minimum requirements for the use of personal protective equipment at the workplace, necessary for the protection of life and health of employees and self-employed persons at work.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 03/2016 ON MINIMUM SAFETY AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS FOR PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES REGARDING MANUAL HANDLING OF LOADS – This regulation lays

down the minimum safety and health requirements for protection of employees, with regards to manual handling of loads where there is a risks to health, particularly of musculoskeletal injuries.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 04/2016 ON MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PROVISION OF

SAFETY AND HEALTH SIGNS AT WORK – This regulation lays down the minimum requirements for the provision of safety and health signs at work.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO.05/2014 ON MINIMUM SAFETY AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS FOR

THE USE OF WORK EQUIPMENT BY WORKERS AT WORKPLACE – This regulation aims to determine minimum requirements for safety and health for the use of work equipment by the workers of work place.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 04/2014 ON MINIMUM SAFETY HEALTH REQUIREMENTS FOR THE

WORKPLACE – This regulation aims to determine minimum requirements for safety and health at workplace.

REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 03/2014 ON PREPARATION OF RISK ASSESSMENT DOCUMENT, IT’S CONTENTS, DATA ON WHICH THE RISK ASSESSMENT IS BASED AND RECORD KEEPING FOR

SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK – This regulation determines the manner and procedures for preparation of risk assessment document, manner and procedures to assess the risk related to injuries at work, occupational illnesses and work process related irregularities that may have harmful effect on employees safety and health, as well as protection measures determined by the employer upon the risks assessment act.

REGULATION NO.02/2014 ON DETERMINATION OF CONDITIONS AND CRITERIA FOR CERTIFICATION AND LICENSING PERSONS AND INSTITUTIONS THAT CARRY OUT HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK DUTIES AS WELL AS MANNER, TERMS AND PROGRAM PROFESSIONAL EXAM

PASS – The Regulation determines conditions and criteria for licensing legal persons that carry out professional work in the area of health and safety at work; conditions, manner and program for the professional exam pass in health and safety at work, as well as cost ceiling in granting license and certificate of health and safety at work.

3.   LABOR  INSPECTORATE    AND  NATIONAL  COUNCIL ON HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK

The Labor Inspectorate is established based on the law nr. 2002/9 for the Labour Inspectorate in Kosovo, approved in 2002 and revised in 2008. This body functions within the authority of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and is lead by the Head of the Inspectorate, Mr. Basri Ibrahimi (at the moment). The Head is obliged to report to the Ministry and when required they report to the Parliamentary Commision for Health, Labor and Social Welfare.

The Head of the Inspectorate is followed by three Vice Heads of Inspectorate. Clustering down, the Inspectorate has 7 regional coordinators, 18 in Prishtina, 7 in Peja, 7 in Gjilan,4 in Mitrovica, 6 in Ferizaj,

4 in Prizren and 3 in Gjakova. Furthermore, each region has a specific number of inspectors. The number is supposed to be decided based on the needs of the region. At the moment, 49 labor inspectors work in 38 municipalities of Kosovo. Based on the law, these inspectors are obliged to inspect every employer once a year or more (if required). Apart for the low number of labor inspectorates, the existing inspectors also need to build their capacities through trainings for the investigation of accidents in the workplace as well as risk assessment in terms of health and safety at work.

Apart from the basic inspection, the Inspectorate is the only body that covers with inspection the health and safety at work field.

The research team has conducted an interview with the Head of the Inspectorate, Mr. Basri Ibrahimi – who has been holding this position for more than 8 years now. Referring to the health and safety at work, Mr. Ibrahimi declares that even though there have been trainings on risk assessment and accident investigation, there is still a great need for additional trainings on this field. Starting from the end of 2017. training on health and safety at work have been held for

employers who have more than 50 employees.8 Each employer that has more than 50 employees and less than 250 is obliged to assign one expert on health and safety at work. Approximately 40 people have been certified till now.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in 2017 have licenced six legal entities to offer services on health and safety at work. The evaluation of applicants is conducted by a special Commission within the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. Apart from the Commission that evaluates the legal entities, there is another Commission established to evaluate individuals who aims to get certified. These applicants go through two phases: written exam and a practical risk assessment.

The Labor Inspectorate is represented in the National Council for Health and Safety by Mr. Basri Ibrahimi.

Mr. Ibrahimi claims that the Inspectorate is more knowledgeable and professional when it comes to the field, while other members of the Council might have lack of information. The Council only has recommendation competences, therefore according to him what the Council can do is limited and might be based on the good will of the members, who already are very eager to improve the situation. Furthermore, Mr. Ibrahimi highlighted the lack of Inter-institutional cooperation between Inspectorates of Construction and Tax Inspectorate. This has led to the overlapping of the inspections to the same companies which go through a lot of inspections. A better cooperation between these bodies would lead to a greater exchange of data and statistics which would be time saving and helpful for all the involved bodies.

Apart from all the above mentioned obligations that come from the law and all the practices that the Inspectorate as a stakeholder claims to have taken, the situation in health and safety at work has not improved. In 2017, 19 people have died in the workplace (14 because of accidents and 5 others from natural diseases), while 50 people have been injured.9 Starting from January 2018 till November 2018 there have been no improvement. More than 50 accidents have been reported, 21 employees have died 19 accidents and 2 natural diseases) mainly from the 11 construction sector and approximately 97 people have been reported as injured in the workplace. The Labour Inspectorate has conducted 4918 inspections in the first half of the year.10 In the last week of October, The Labour Inspectorate has conducted 158 site visits in construction companies related to occupational health and safety as a part the one week campaign/action which came as a result of the increase on accidents at the workplace. Out of these site visits, The Labour Inspectorate has suspended the work of 102 construction companies due to the conditions of work that they were not fulfilling (lack of scaffold and other personal protective equipment that each worker should have based on: REGULATION (MLSW) NO. 02/2016 ON MINIMUM SAFETY AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS FOR THE USE OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AT THE WORKPLACE.)

After the suspension, 17 companies have taken into consideration the issues raised by the Inspectorate and after a reinspection have been allowed to continue their work. Also, the Labour

8 The Law on Health and Safety, nr. 04/L-161, Article 10.1 https://gzk.rks- gov.net/ActDocumentDetail.aspx?ActID=8689

9 The yearly report of the Labour Inspectorate (2017) https://ip.rks-gov.net/wp-content/uploads/Raporti-i- Punes-per-vitin-2017-nga-Inspektoriati-i-punes-2.pdf

10 Mr. Basri Ibrahimi, Head of the Inspectorate. Prishtina, 24.07.2018

Inspectorate during the action week has used punitive measures toward 4 companies and has issued 36 warrants. 11

According to Mr. Ibrahimi, the Labour Inspectorate lacks support from all other stakeholders and has mainly been supported by the European Union. Currently, the Inspectorate is implementing a project on fighting the informality.

On the other hand, during the roundtable, as a panelist Mr. Ibrahimi has mentioned several times that the Labor Inspectorate works based on the philosophy of awareness raising. This means that the inspectors in the field, do not usually use punitive measures toward businesses but do prefer giving comments/remarks in order for them to understand the law better and improve their functioning. This being said, the lack of inspectors in general might lead to one-time inspections to certain businesses without the possibility of inspecting them for the second time and checking if the remarks have been taken into consideration.

3.1              NATIONAL COUNCIL ON OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

The Law on Safety and Health at Work nr.04/L-161, Article 4 regulates the procedure for the establishment the National Council for Safety and Health at Work. According to this law, the Council is proposed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare while the government forms the council based on this proposal.12

According to the Law on Safety and Health at Work, the Council’s objective is to propose, recommend and develop policies to improve the level of safety and health at work and to continuously monitor the health and safety at work.13

Although the law for the establishment of the council has passed in 2013, the council officially started working in 2016. The first meeting of the council was held in January 2017 while the secretariat started functioning in 2018. 14

The National Council for Health and Safety at work consists of 11 members in total; 3 members from the Kosovo’s Government (Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Ministry of Health and Labor Inspectorate), 2 members from employers’ representatives (Kosovo Chamber of Commerce and Kosovo Business Alliance); 2 members from workers’ representatives respectively the confederate (Union of Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo), 3 experts of occupational health and safety at work. Additionally, there’s a possibility to have 1 (one) other expert “ad-hoc”, even though there were no such cases until now.

11 Mr. Basri Ibrahimi, Head of the Inspectorate, Prishtina, 16.11.2018

12 LAW No. 04/L-161 on health and safety at work, article 4.1 https://gzk.rks- gov.net/ActDetail.aspx?ActID=8689

13 Ibid.

In April 2018, the council has drafted an action plan for a two-year period and has foreseen drafting the Strategic Plan. The Action Plan that has been secured by the research team as a hard copy, outlines some of the priorities that shall be undertaken during 2018 and 2019:

  1. Evaluation of the current situation regarding the policies and legal framework on health and safety at work:
    1. Analyze the legal framework on health and safety;
      1. Analyze strategic documents and current policies;
      1. Organize regular meetings of the Council and discuss issues related to health and safety;
      1. Organize meetings and workshops with employers and employees;
    1. Identify risks on health and safety at work:
  2. Collect data on health and safety at work;
  3. Organize visits on field;
  4. Prepare analysis related to the current situation on health and safety at work;
  5. Prepare analysis on health and safety at work;
  6. Identify the most exposed to risk sectors and those that are potentially at danger due to their conditions at work;
    1. Draft the National Strategy on Health and Safety at Work:
  7. SWOT analysis based data collected on the field;
  8. Organize meetings and workshops with stakeholders in order to identify objectives, actions and activities that should be involved in the Strategy;
  9. Draft the National Strategy on Health and Safety at work and consultation with all stakeholders.

This Action Plan, even though it was said to be public by all the interviewed stakeholders, could not be found online in any website related to the work of the National Council. The research team could find a hard copy through different channels.

The National Council through their initial meetings did come to some conclusions that they have listed in the very beginning of the Action Plan:

  • The Council has evaluated that Kosovo needs at least 2 labor medicine institutions: one in Obiliq and one in Gjakova that are currently functioning for this purpose.
  • The Council has evaluated that Kosovo does not have the List of Occupational Diseases and has requested from the Ministry of Health to draft this document as soon as possible.

During this year, as planned, the Council has conducted on-field visits in public institutions – Kosovo Clinical Hospital Service (Oncology, Radiology and Nuclear Medicine) and a private company “Sharr-Cem”. Also in two primary health institutions, one at the National Center of Medical Work in Gjakova/Djakovica and another at the Public Health Institute in Obiliq/Obili?.15 In the meantime, the Council has organized other on-field visits. Till October 2018 they have conducted 10 visits in total. According to the Head of the Council and the Deputy Minister of Labor Mr. Dukolli, as a Council they have concluded that the sectors that are mostly exposed to dangers and unsafe working places are construction first and energetics second.

The Council is in the preparation phase for the drafting of a National Strategy. According to Mr. Ibrahimi, this Strategy might be ready in two years and would gather into one place all the challenges and recommendations and this would be a great pressure towards the Government.

4. THE ROLE OF SOCIAL PARTNERS IN THE CREATION, IMPLEMENTATION AND REVISION OF THE STRATEGY AND REGULATIONS OF THE OHS

While the law regulates the establishment, competences and functioning of each body, considered as a stakeholders in this field, when it comes to their role in the improvement of the alarming situation in Kosovo, there is a lot of room for misunderstandings.

The National Council for Health and Security that has been established for the purpose of assessing the needs in the field, evaluating the current situation and giving recommendations. After conducting visits in the field, according to the Deputy Minister of Health Mr. Rrustem Musa, the Council has seen a list of procedures that are not functioning well and where the respective Ministries shall act immediately, such as intervening in the Institute of Obiliq or drafting the list of occupational illnesses.

Kosovo does not have a list of occupational illnesses yet, that is leaving a lot of space for businesses and employers in general to manipulate with their employees rights to have a safe and healthy work environment. The Council has agreed to come up with the list of occupational illnesses. The working group has been established and have already started to work on the list. The experts group has not required any extra cost from the Government and is doing the list on voluntary basis.16 The working group is composed of representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Health, representatives of SHARR CEM ( which will serve as a good example), representatives of the Division of Public Health, Medical Work Specialists, representatives of the Division of Pulmonology and other professionals of the field. The list is planned to be finalized by December and afterwards go for approval to the Government.

If the List gets finalized and approved as planned, this will mean that Kosovo is getting closer to the acqui communautaire and following the good European practices. Anyway, when it comes to the role of each stakeholder in the implementation of the list once it is approved, there have been some misunderstandings which came out from the conducted interviews. While the Ministry of Health claims that the Labor Inspectorate has a crucial role in the implementation/supervision of the List, the Head of the Inspectorate declares that this does not belong to them as a body, since the List consists of illnesses that can be recognized and evaluated only from professionals of the field and a labor inspector can only evaluate the workplace in general (based on what is mentioned in the law) and the rest belongs to the professionals. So, there are opened questions about the implementation and well-functioning of the list and the role of each stakeholder in it.

On the other side, according to the members of the Council, interviewed from the research staff, the Council has managed to draft and finalize an Action Plan that involves all the stakeholders and that

16 Interview with Deputy Minister of Ministry of Health, Mr. Rrustem Musa

aims to increase general awareness on health and safety and also put pressure for the sake of improving the current situation. The list anyway has not been published by any of the members and it is not accessible by other interested pairs and there is not a way to verify if the Council as a social partner is trying and will implement activities to improve the current situation.

5.   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

On health and safety at work there have been new regulations issued, but the implementation is ineffective. In 2017, there was an increase in workplace accidents, of which 14 out of 50 were fatal, mainly in the construction and services sector. The Labour Inspectorate needs to target the informal part of the construction sector more effectively and to be given adequate resources to fulfil its mandate without further delay. This has to be done above all by increasing the number of inspectors, at least from the current 49 to the 65 planned.17 From January 2018 there were 116 accidents in the workplace from which 19 of them were fatal and 97 with severe injuries.

This policy brief recommends: To the Labor Inspectorate:

  • Labor inspectorate needs to implement punitive measures to businesses who do not implement good practices on health and safety and are not in line with the laws and regulations.
  • Prioritizing Strategy established by the Labor Inspectorate that outlines the sectors who are potentially threatened from work conditions. Based on the previous year inspections, the Inspectorate shall come up with exact data and conclusions and draft their working plan for the upcoming year with prioritized areas.
  • Professional capacity building on health and safety at work, more specifically on investigation of accidents at the workplace and risk assessment.

To the government:

  • The financial cost of the Occupational Diseases List shall be decided.
  • Government shall publish a list with the licensed entities that are authorized by Ministry of Health to provide professional services regarding the examination and evaluation of occupational diseases.

To the Council for Health and Safety at work:

  • The Council shall be more persistent toward the Government based on their observations in the field and their findings.
  • The Council shall as planned in the Action Plan, find donors and other financial alternatives to organize and implement meetings and workshops with employers and employees and raise awareness on health and safety at work.
By | 2019-07-23T09:22:50+00:00 July 23rd, 2019|Publikime|0 Comments