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Health and Safety Representation

Health and safety representation in Greece is provided through separately elected health and safety representatives or a health and safety committee in larger companies. The committees are employee bodies but they or the health and safety representative should meet the employer on a regular basis.

 

Basic approach at workplace level

 

The employer is responsible for health and safety in the workplace, and, although in larger companies there is an obligation to make use of health and safety specialists and works doctors, this does not remove this responsibility.

 

Employee health and safety bodies

 

In smaller companies, employees have the right to have a health and safety representative and in larger companies there is a health and safety committee (Επιτροπής Υγείας και Ασφάλειας των Εργαζομένων (Ε.Υ.Α.Ε.))

 

Numbers and structure

 

In companies employing 50 people or fewer, there is a single safety representative, although the way he or she is chosen varies depending on whether the company employees 20 or more. In companies with more than 50 employees a health and safety committee can be elected. The size of the committee varies with the number of employees, as follows.

 

Number of employees

 

 

Number of members

 

 

21 to 100

 

 

2

 

 

101 to 300

 

 

3

 

 

301 to 600

 

 

4

 

 

601 to 1,000

 

 

5

 

 

1,001 to 2,000

 

 

6

 

 

2,000 plus

 

 

7

 

Tasks and rights

 

Both the health and safety representative and the health and safety committee have an advisory role. Their main responsibilities are:

  • to look at working conditions in the company, monitor compliance with health and safety provisions and make proposals for improvement;
  • where there are serious accidents or other occurrences to make proposals as to how they could be avoided in the future; and
  • to assist with risk assessment in the company.

The health and safety representative or the health and safety committee (depending on the size of the company) should be informed by management about accidents and occupational diseases, as well as the introduction of new production processes and working methods, in as far as they have an impact on health and safety. They are able to call on the employer to respond appropriately to any imminent and serious threat, including by halting production. They can also approach the labour inspectorate if they consider the employer’s approach on health and safety to be insufficient.

 

There should be regular joint meetings with management (see below) and minutes of these meetings should be kept.

 

Frequency of meetings

 

The health and safety representative or the health and safety committee should meet the employer or the employer’s representative once every three months, within the first 10 days of the quarter and both sides should inform the other of the issues they wish to raise at least three days before the meeting.

 

Election and term of office

 

In companies with fewer than 20 employees the health and safety representative is chosen by a majority of employees in an informal way.

 

In larger companies more detailed election procedures are laid down. Where there is a works council, which can be set up in companies with 50 employees or more (20 or more in some circumstances), it chooses the members of the health and safety committee. Where there is no works council – the normal situation – the members of the committee or the health and safety representative are elected at a general meeting of the company’s employees.

 

The term of office is two years.

 

Resources and time off

 

The health and safety representative or, in larger companies, the members of the health and safety committee have an entitlement to paid time off for their duties. This should not be less than 8.3 hours a year for a company employing up 20 people, 16.7 hours a year for a company employing between 21 and 50 people and 25 hours a year for companies employing more than 50 people. This does not include the quarterly meetings with the employer.

 

The health and safety representative and the members of the health and safety committee also have the right to appropriate training although the details are not specified in the legislation.

 

They also have the right, with the agreement of the employer, to request the assistance of outside experts.

 

Protection against dismissal

 

The health and safety representative and the members of the health and safety committee have protection against dismissal. They can only be dismissed in certain closely defined circumstances, such as the disclosure of secret information or the use or threat of violence or abusive language towards the employer.

 

Key legislation

 

Law 3850/10 (GG 84 A/2-6-2010): "Ratification of the Code of Laws on the Health and Safety of Workers."

 

Ν. 3850/10 (ΦΕΚ 84 Α/2-6-2010) Θέμα: «Κύρωση του Κώδικα νόμων για την υγεία και την ασφάλεια των εργαζομένων.»

L. Fulton (2013) Health and Safety Representation in Europe. Labour Research Department and ETUI (online publication prepared for worker-participation.eu)