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Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in Comoros

Health and safety laws

Health and safety legislation in Comoros is primarily governed by the Constitution of Comoros and the Labor Code (Loi n° 84-108/PR portant Code du travail). The Constitution establishes fundamental rights, potentially including elements related to health and safety, while the Labor Code contains a dedicated section titled "Hygiene and Safety - Medical Service," outlining primary health and safety provisions. Additionally, Law No. 88-015 (Loi n° 88-15 du 29 décembre 1988) provides detailed regulations on preventing hazards and improving working conditions.

Key Areas Covered

Comorian health and safety laws cover several areas. Employers are required to take necessary measures to safeguard workers' health, safety, and well-being in the workplace, while workers have the responsibility to comply with safety guidelines. The laws address the prevention and control of physical, chemical, biological, and ergonomic hazards. They may also outline the use and supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), mandate workplace health surveillance, medical examinations, and record keeping, and require employers to provide first aid facilities and ensure procedures are in place for emergencies.

Specific Regulations

Additional decrees and ordinances elaborate on these core laws. For instance, there may be restrictions on specific tasks, hazardous work environments, and night work for women and children (example: Arrêté no 66/84/IT-C du 22 janvier 1966). There may also be workplace-related measures for HIV/AIDS prevention and control, and some aspects of environmental protection might concern worker health and safety.

Enforcement and Compliance

The Ministry of Labor and related agencies are likely responsible for enforcing health and safety laws. Enforcement may include workplace inspections to verify compliance, issuing improvement notices mandating corrective action, and penalties and sanctions for violations.

Occupational health and safety

Occupational health and safety (OHS) in Comoros is primarily regulated by the Labor Code of Comoros. This legal instrument outlines the rights and responsibilities of both employers and workers concerning workplace health and safety. The Ministry responsible for Labour may also issue orders and regulations supplementing the Labour Code on specific OHS matters. Additionally, some provisions on OHS rights may be negotiated within collective bargaining agreements at the enterprise level.

Key OHS Principles and Requirements

The Labor Code, along with relevant ministerial orders, sets forth several key OHS areas:

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Employers are obliged to identify hazards within the workplace and assess the risks they pose to workers. This should be an ongoing process.

Prevention and Control Measures

Employers must implement appropriate measures to prevent or control workplace hazards, following the hierarchy of controls (elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment).

Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Employers are responsible for providing suitable PPE to workers when other hazard control measures cannot fully eliminate risks. Workers must wear and correctly use the provided PPE.

Information, Instruction, and Training

Employers must provide workers with adequate information, instruction, and training on OHS matters, including the hazards present in their jobs and the necessary safe work procedures.

First Aid and Emergency Response

Employers must implement first aid systems and have plans in place to respond to workplace emergencies.

Incident Reporting and Investigation

Employers must maintain records of work-related accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Incidents must be investigated to determine the causes and implement corrective measures.

Institutional Framework

The Ministry of Labor has the primary oversight role in enforcing OHS regulations. Labor inspectors play a vital role in enforcing OHS regulations. The Labor Code outlines the formation of OHS committees in workplaces of a certain size. These committees provide a platform for worker participation in addressing OHS concerns.

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections in Comoros are a crucial tool in maintaining safe and healthy working conditions. They allow employers to identify and address potential hazards before they result in accidents or illnesses. These inspections also encourage regulatory compliance and help to cultivate a strong safety culture.

Entities Authorized to Conduct Inspections

In Comoros, the following entities are authorized to conduct workplace inspections:

  • Labor Inspectors: These inspectors act as the primary enforcement agents of labor law. They have the authority to conduct unannounced inspections and issue citations or fines for violations.
  • Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committees: These committees are required in workplaces with at least 20 workers. They are tasked with contributing to workplace inspections and monitoring of OHS conditions.

Inspection Criteria

Workplace inspections in Comoros may cover a broad range of health and safety aspects, including physical hazards, chemical hazards, biological hazards, work organization and psychosocial risks, and emergency preparedness and response.

Inspection Frequency

The frequency of workplace inspections in Comoros may vary depending on the size of the workplace, the type of industry, and the compliance history of the workplace.

Inspection Procedures

The typical steps involved in a workplace inspection in Comoros include an opening conference, a walk-through inspection, a document review, a closing conference, and the preparation of an inspection report.

Follow-up Actions

Employers are required to take timely action to correct hazards identified during workplace inspections. Failure to do so can result in further enforcement action, including fines or even closure of the workplace. The employer should develop a corrective action plan detailing how they will address identified hazards, including timelines for completion. In some cases, a follow-up inspection may be conducted to verify that corrective actions have been implemented.

Workplace accidents

Workplace accidents are a serious concern in Comoros. Employers are legally obligated to report these incidents to the appropriate authorities, which may include the Labor Inspectorate and the National Social Security Fund. The timeframe for reporting varies depending on the severity of the incident, with serious accidents requiring immediate notification.

Investigation Processes

The Labor Inspectorate is typically responsible for investigating workplace accidents. The purpose of these investigations is to determine the root causes of the incident and identify corrective measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future. This process may involve interviews with witnesses, examination of the accident scene, review of safety procedures and documentation, and analysis of equipment or materials involved.

Compensation Claims

Workers who are injured or become ill due to a workplace accident may be entitled to compensation. This can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits. There are two primary mechanisms for obtaining compensation: through the National Social Security Fund, which provides insurance coverage for workplace injuries and illnesses, and through civil liability lawsuits, particularly if negligence is suspected.

The Labor Code of Comoros outlines the general responsibilities of employers and workers with respect to workplace health and safety, including provisions for reporting and investigating workplace accidents. The regulations of the National Social Security Fund govern the procedures for obtaining compensation for workplace injuries.

Important Considerations

Employers should maintain detailed records of all workplace accidents, including reports, investigation findings, and any compensation provided. Prevention is the most effective way to deal with workplace accidents, and employers should implement robust safety programs and cultivate a strong safety culture within their organizations. Workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace and should be encouraged to report any safety concerns or hazards.

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