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Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in Egypt

Health and safety laws

Health and safety laws are a crucial part of any country's legal framework, ensuring the well-being of workers and the general public. In Egypt, these laws are primarily governed by the Labor Law (Law No. 12 of 2003), which outlines broad employer and worker obligations concerning workplace health and safety.

Labor Law (Law No. 12 of 2003)

This foundational law covers various aspects of health and safety, including:

  • Employer Responsibilities: Providing necessary safety equipment and protective measures, informing workers of hazards and how to mitigate them, and implementing regular health and safety training programs.
  • Worker Responsibilities: Complying with safety guidelines and using safety equipment correctly.

Decree No. 134 of 2003 (Executive Regulations on Occupational Health and Safety)

This decree provides granular detail on implementing the Labor Law's health and safety provisions, including technical specifications for workplace safety and hazard prevention and risk mitigation.

Environment Law (Law No. 4 of 1994)

This law is crucial for workplace health and safety as it targets environmental pollution. It mandates emission control and waste disposal standards and safe handling of hazardous substances.

Specialized Health and Safety Regulations

Beyond these core laws, Egypt also features regulations specific to certain hazards or industries. For example, Decree No. 211 of 2003 details safety precautions to prevent workplace accidents and risks. Various ministerial resolutions also address issues like noise levels, chemical handling, first aid provisions, and occupational diseases.

Important Considerations

There are several important considerations to keep in mind when dealing with health and safety laws in Egypt. The Ministry of Manpower and Migration oversees health and safety compliance with designated inspectorates. Violators face fines and even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense. Certain industries, such as construction and oil and gas, might have additional regulations in place for greater risk control.

Evolving Landscape

Egypt's health and safety legislation continuously undergoes updates and revisions. It's advisable to stay updated with the latest information.

Occupational health and safety

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is a crucial aspect of any workplace, and in Egypt, it is governed by various laws and regulations. The Labor Law (Law No. 12 of 2003) is the primary legislation that outlines the responsibilities of employers and workers. It mandates that employers provide safe workplaces, protective equipment, and training to workers. It also empowers workers to refuse unsafe work and report hazards.

Key Regulatory Bodies

The Ministry of Manpower and Immigration is the main regulator for OHS in Egypt. It is responsible for developing and enforcing OHS legislation. The Ministry of Health and Population also plays a role, particularly in relation to occupational diseases and workplace health surveillance. Other relevant agencies include the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality (EOS), which develops OHS standards, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which conducts research and provides training.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Employers are required to systematically identify and assess workplace hazards. These can include physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, and psychosocial factors.

Hazard Prevention and Control

Control measures must be implemented following a hierarchy of controls, prioritizing elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and lastly, personal protective equipment (PPE). Machinery must be fitted with appropriate guards and safety devices, and hazardous chemicals must be handled, stored, and disposed of safely. Workplaces must also have fire prevention and suppression systems, emergency evacuation plans, and regular fire drills.

Occupational Health Services

Employers are required to provide occupational health services, including pre-employment and periodic medical examinations. Medical surveillance programs must be implemented for workers exposed to specific hazards.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Workplaces must have emergency plans in place for accidents, fires, and other emergencies. First aid facilities and trained personnel must be available.

Worker Participation and Consultation

Workers have the right to be informed about workplace hazards and involved in OHS decision-making. OHS committees with worker representation may be established.

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections are a vital part of maintaining safe and healthy working conditions in Egypt. They serve to prevent accidents and injuries by identifying potential hazards, promote compliance with established safety and health standards, and protect worker rights by contributing to the safeguarding of fair labor practices and workers' well-being.

Key Regulatory Bodies

The Ministry of Manpower is the primary authority responsible for labor laws and regulations, including workplace safety and health. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) operates under the Ministry of Manpower and is specifically dedicated to enforcing occupational health and safety standards.

Workplace Inspection Criteria

Workplace inspections in Egypt cover a wide range of issues. The key criteria include physical hazards such as machinery safety, electrical installations, fire safety, structural integrity, noise, lighting, and ventilation. Chemical hazards are also considered, including the safe handling and storage of chemicals, labeling, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Biological hazards, ergonomics, emergency preparedness, and record-keeping are also part of the inspection criteria.

Inspection Procedures

The inspection process involves planning, where OSHA inspectors define the scope, objectives, and relevant regulations for the inspection. Employers may receive advance notice, but surprise inspections are also possible. The inspection includes an opening conference, a walk-through of the facility, a document review, a closing conference, and the issuance of a report.

Inspection Frequency

The frequency of inspections in Egypt varies based on the industry and risk levels. High-risk workplaces, such as construction and manufacturing, are subject to more frequent inspections. Other establishments receive periodic inspections, which can also be triggered by complaints or accidents.

Follow-up Actions

Employers are given mandated timelines to rectify workplace violations. OSHA may conduct re-inspections to confirm compliance, and failure to correct hazards can result in fines, facility closure, or legal action.

Additional Notes

Worker representatives have the right to participate in the inspection process. The foundation for workplace inspection procedures is laid down by the Egyptian Labor Law (Law No. 12 of 2003) and its executive regulations.

Workplace accidents

Workplace accidents in Egypt must be reported primarily by employers to the relevant authorities. Depending on the severity of the injury, employees may also be required to report. The deadline for reporting a workplace accident generally depends on the severity of the accident, as outlined in the Egyptian Social Insurance Law (Law No. 79 of 1975). Fatal accidents or serious injuries must be reported within 24 hours of the incident, while minor injuries may have a longer reporting window, often within 3 days. Reports should typically be submitted to the local Social Insurance Office, the relevant labor authorities, and the police (especially in cases of severe or fatal injuries).

Investigation of Workplace Accidents

The employer, in coordination with the Social Insurance Office and relevant labor authorities, is responsible for initiating an investigation into workplace accidents. In cases of serious or fatal injuries, a formal investigation committee is usually formed. This may comprise representatives from the employer, the Social Insurance Office, the labor authorities, and trade unions (where applicable). The investigation aims to determine the cause(s) of the accident, whether safety protocols were followed, and potential liability or negligence.

Compensation Claims for Workplace Injuries

The Egyptian Social Insurance Law (Law No. 79 of 1975) outlines the primary framework for compensating workplace injuries. Workers injured on the job may be entitled to various forms of compensation. These include reimbursement for medical treatment costs associated with the injury, compensation for lost wages if the injury prevents the worker from working temporarily, payments made in the case of a lasting disability that affects the worker's earning capacity, and compensation for dependents in the case of a fatality.

The worker must submit a claim to the Social Insurance Office, usually through the employer. Necessary medical reports and supporting documentation should be attached. The Social Insurance Office evaluates the claim and determines the type and amount of compensation payable.

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