What is the difference between special and harmful factors in the work environment?

Work in special conditions is not the same as work in harmful (onerous or dangerous) conditions.
Work in special conditions gives you the option of early retirement. Occupations that are carried out under special conditions are listed in the Bridging Pensions Act. The allowance for work in harmful or special conditions is paid only if such a provision is included in the work or remuneration regulations.
The employer is not obliged to pay the employee additional remuneration if there are harmful factors at his workplace.

On the other hand, the employer should strive to eliminate and reduce conditions harmful to the health and life of employees. In situations where, based on the results of the measurements and the occupational risk assessment carried out, it is found that it is large, i.e. unacceptable, it is necessary to amend the given position in order to limit this risk below the level posing a threat to the health or life of the employee.

Issues related to work in harmful conditions are mainly governed by health and safety regulations. They define the employer’s obligations and how to protect employees against harmful factors (e.g. the use of protective clothing, ear muffs, glasses).

The employer is obliged to identify factors harmful to health in the work environment and recognize the sources of their origin, and then commission tests and measurements of these factors. In the workplace where employees are exposed to harmful factors, the employer must keep a record of these factors. The employer is obliged to register and store the results of measurements and tests of factors harmful to health in the work environment in order to make them available to employees and control bodies.

The register of factors harmful to health occurring in the workplace should be kept for a period of 40 years from the date of the last entry.

A referral for preventive examination should contain information on factors harmful to health or onerous conditions as well as current results of tests and measurements of factors harmful to health, performed at these positions.

In the referral, the employer may list harmful factors, which are divided into:

  1. Physical:
  2. noise,
  3. mechanical vibrations (general, local),
  4. dust
  5. metals found in dusty form, e.g. lead, iron,
  6. laser radiation,
  7. cold microclimate,
  8. hot microclimate
  9. Chemical:
  10. Toxic substances
  11. Irritants
  12. sensitizing substances,
  13. carcinogens.
  14. Biological:
  15. bacteria,
  16. viruses,
  17. fungi.

You can also enter other factors in the referral, including dangerous and onerous ones, as well as others resulting from the way you work. The employer may enter factors such as:

  • support for screen monitors (up to 4 hours / more than 4 hours a day),
  • work at height (up to 3 m / over 3 m),
  • work at night.

Source: https://poradnikprzedsiebiorcy.pl/-szkodliwe-czynniki-w-srodowisku-pracy-a-skierowanie-na-badanie

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