Rivermate | Bahrain flag


Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in Bahrain

Health and safety laws

Bahrain's health and safety laws are primarily governed by the Labour Law for the Private Sector (Law No. 36 of 2012) and Ministerial Order No. 3 of 2013 on Occupational Safety and Health. These laws outline the responsibilities of employers and employees, and provide detailed regulations on a wide range of health and safety topics.

Core Principles of Bahrain's Health and Safety Framework

Employers hold the primary responsibility for ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for all their employees, as stated in Article 108 of the Labour Law. The law also emphasizes a proactive approach to hazard identification through risk assessments and the implementation of preventive measures, as outlined in Article 8 of Ministerial Order No. 3. Employees, on the other hand, have the right to be informed about workplace hazards, contribute to health and safety decisions, and refuse unsafe work, as per Article 112 of the Labour Law.

Key Areas Covered by Legislation

General Workplace Safety

The legislation mandates that employers must maintain safe and clean workplaces, with adequate lighting, ventilation, temperature control, welfare facilities, and emergency exits. Machinery must be properly guarded, maintained, and operated by trained personnel. Specific regulations address risks associated with working at height, including fall protection and scaffolding safety.

Hazard-Specific Controls

The laws also cover specific hazards such as chemical safety, fire safety, electrical safety, and noise and vibration. Employers are required to assess chemical hazards, label substances, provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and ensure safe handling, storage, and disposal practices. Workplaces must have fire prevention and suppression measures, along with emergency evacuation plans. Electrical installations and work practices must follow safe standards to prevent shocks and electrical fires. Measures must be in place to manage risks from excessive noise and vibration exposure.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Employers are obligated to provide suitable PPE to employees when other hazard control measures cannot adequately eliminate risks.

Occupational Health

Workplaces must provide first aid facilities and trained personnel according to the size and risks present. In some high-risk industries, employers may need to arrange for occupational health examinations.

Enforcement and Penalties

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development is responsible for overseeing compliance with health and safety laws. Labour Inspectors have the right to conduct inspections, issue improvement notices, and initiate legal proceedings in case of violations. Violations can result in fines and, in severe cases, imprisonment for employers.

Occupational health and safety

Bahrain's commitment to occupational health and safety (OHS) is firmly established within its legislative framework. This includes the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain (2002), Ministerial Order No. 8 of 2013, and the Labor Law for the Private Sector (Law No. 36 of 2012).

Key Regulatory Bodies

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) is the primary agency responsible for overseeing the implementation of OHS laws and regulations in Bahrain. The Supreme Council for Occupational Safety and Health (SCOSH) is a tripartite body comprised of government, employer, and worker representatives. SCOSH plays a crucial role in developing and promoting OHS policies and standards in Bahrain.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Bahrain have a legal obligation to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their workers. Key responsibilities include conducting regular risk assessments, implementing necessary safety measures, providing workers with OHS training, establishing procedures to report and investigate workplace accidents, maintaining adequate first-aid facilities and emergency response plans, and conducting medical examinations for workers exposed to specific hazards.

Worker Rights and Responsibilities

Workers in Bahrain have the right to information about hazards in their workplace, the right to refuse unsafe work, the right to participate in OHS decision-making, and the responsibility to comply with OHS policies, use personal protective equipment correctly, and report any unsafe conditions or incidents.

Specific OHS Standards

Bahrain's OHS regulations address a wide range of workplace hazards, including physical hazards (noise, vibration, heat stress, radiation, working at heights), chemical hazards (exposure to hazardous substances, safe handling, and storage of chemicals), biological hazards (bloodborne pathogens, infectious diseases), ergonomic hazards (repetitive strain injuries, manual handling, awkward postures), and psychosocial hazards (stress, workplace violence, bullying).

Enforcement and Compliance

The MLSD's Occupational Safety Department conducts workplace inspections and enforces OHS regulations. Non-compliant employers may face penalties, fines, or even closure of their business.

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections are a crucial part of maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. They help identify potential hazards, ensure compliance with regulations, and prevent workplace accidents and illnesses. In Bahrain, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) is responsible for conducting these inspections.

Inspection Authority

The Labor Law for the Private Sector (Law No. 36 of 2012) empowers MLSD inspectors to enter workplaces freely without prior notice, at any time of the day or night. They can carry out examinations, controls, or investigations considered necessary to ensure compliance with the law. They can also request information and take copies of documents relevant to workplace safety. Furthermore, they have the authority to issue warnings notices for non-compliance and impose administrative fines.

Inspection Criteria

Workplace inspections in Bahrain cover a wide range of safety criteria outlined in various laws and regulations. These include specific safety requirements for workplaces, general workplace safety, working hours, and the protection of vulnerable workers. There may also be additional regulations for high-risk sectors like construction, oil and gas, or manufacturing.

Inspectors will focus on areas including physical hazards, chemical hazards, ergonomic hazards, fire safety and emergency preparedness, first aid, and recordkeeping.

Inspection Frequency

The frequency of workplace inspections in Bahrain typically depends on the size of the workplace, the industry and risk level, and the history of compliance. Larger workplaces generally warrant more frequent inspections, as do high-risk industries. Workplaces with a history of safety violations may be inspected more often.

Inspection Process

The inspection process begins with planning, where the MLSD develops inspection plans based on risk factors and complaints received. This is followed by an opening conference, a walkthrough inspection, a document review, a closing conference, and finally, the preparation of an inspection report.

Follow-Up Actions

After the inspection, the employer is required to address any violations or hazards identified during the inspection within a specified timeframe. The MLSD may conduct follow-up inspections to verify that corrective actions have been taken. Employers who fail to comply with safety regulations may face administrative fines or other penalties, potentially including closure.

Workers have the right to report workplace hazards and request inspections from the MLSD if they believe their employer is not providing a safe workplace.

Workplace accidents

In Bahrain, protocols have been established to ensure the prompt reporting, investigation, and compensation of workplace accidents.

Reporting Requirements

Employers have a responsibility to notify the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) of any workplace accident resulting in a worker's death, serious workplace injuries, any injury preventing a worker from returning to work for seven consecutive days, and any vehicle accident occurring at the workplace. This notification must be made within a timeframe specified by the MLSD and must include details such as the worker's name, nationality, occupation, nature of the injury, date/time/location of the accident, as well as a brief description of the circumstances.

Investigation Process

The MLSD's Occupational Safety Department investigates workplace accidents to determine the cause and identify preventive measures. Employers and workers are required to cooperate fully with the investigation, providing access to the site, witnesses, and relevant information or documentation. The investigator prepares a report outlining the causes of the accident and recommendations to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Compensation Claims

According to the Social Insurance Law (Law No. 24 Of 2006), employers must provide insurance coverage for workplace injuries and occupational diseases. Injured workers are entitled to compensation, including medical expenses, temporary disability benefits (partial wages during time off of work), permanent disability benefits (in case of long-term or significant impairment), and survivor benefits (in case of work-related fatalities). Workers or their families file compensation claims through the insurance provider. Disputes may be referred to the competent courts in Bahrain.

Additional Notes

Employers must maintain detailed records of all workplace accidents and injuries, regardless of severity. These records contribute to data analysis and preventive measures. Employers have the primary responsibility of preventing workplace accidents by implementing effective occupational health and safety management systems.

Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

We're here to help you on your global hiring journey.