Occupational safety is one of the main fields of labor law that deals with safety and health of the people in the workplace. The Labor Code of Azerbaijan defines the “occupational safety” as “the system of technical safety, sanitation, hygiene, treatment-prophylactic measures, norms and standards set out in the [Labor] Code, in other normative legal acts, as well as, in the collective contracts, agreements, employment agreements in order to ensure the right of employees to work in safe and healthy conditions.” Entire Chapter 33 of the Labor Code deals with the occupational safety.
The main principles of the occupational safety (among others) are the followings:
- Joint cooperation of state authorities, owners, employers, and employees related to improving of the working conditions to prevent industrial accidents, injuries, damages and occupational diseases;
- Prioritizing the life and health of the employee over the business;
- Setting out uniform requirements in the field of occupational safety for all enterprises, regardless of ownership and organizational-legal form;
- Regular improvement of occupational safety standards;
- Provision of employees with special clothes and shoes, other personal protective equipment, treatment-prophylactic food and other means free of charge;
- Investigation, recording, analysis of every accident that occurred etc.
The owner or employer is directly liable for fulfilment of norms and rules of occupational safety in the workplaces and must ensure the followings:
- Compliance with all requirements of standards, norms and rules of occupational safety;
- Compliance with the safety of buildings, facilities, technological processes and equipment;
- Adaptation of healthy sanitary-hygienic conditions and occupational safety of workplaces to the applicable regulations;
- Observing the normal work and rest regime;
- Providing employees with free special clothing, special shoes and other personal protective equipment;
- Training and instruction of employees on occupational safety norms and so on.
Failure to adhere to the above requirements may result in penalty starting from AZN 500 to AZN 2000 under the Code on Administrative Offences. In case of serious damage to human health as a result of non-compliance with the requirements related to the occupational safety, responsible persons bear criminal liability which sets out monetary penalty or even imprisonment depending on the circumstances of the case (for example, if such a failure causes death, then the imprisonment can be up to 5 years).
As Legalize Law Firm, we provide the following services related to occupational safety:
- Analysis of all related documents and identification of gaps;
- Risk assessment;
- Preparation of action plan to eliminate all deficiencies (depending on client’s discretion, implementation of the action plan);
- In case of any incident accompanying the client and representation its interests before the State Labor Inspection Service;
- In case of criminal investigation to represent the interests of the client before the relevant prosecutor’s office.
Regulatory authorities in Azerbaijan place prime importance on occupational safety and therefore, their approach is very strict in that regard. As noted, failure to meet those requirements may lead to financial loss or even imprisonment of liable persons. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to engage professionals at an early stage to mitigate such legal risks.
About the author: Aygun Alizade is a legal manager at Legalize Law Firm. She is a professional lawyer with more than 10 years of experience in various areas of law. She mainly specializes in public service, labor law and public administration. Before joining to Legalize Law Firm she worked as the head of sector at the State Labor Inspection Service. For more information about the author please see the following link: https://www.legalize.az/en/team/aygun-elizade