Departament description

To manage safety means to predict hazards

Zofia Pawłowska, Ph.D. (Eng.) (Head)
with the Department's Team

The Department of Safety and Health Management has functioned as part of the Central Institute for Labour Protection since 1997.
The research and implementation work conducted here focuses on important occupational health and safety management issues both at the state and the company level.
The workcovers improvements in the law on occupational health and safety, economic incentives for improvements inworking conditions, monitoring occupational healthand safety, and methods for the effective management of occupational health and safety.

Work on the legal aspects of occupational health and safety management are conducted by Barbara Krzyśków, Ph.D.. During the Department's early years (in particular prior to 2004 when Poland joined the European Union), bringing Polish occupational healthand safety law in line with the provisions of EU directives was the focus of attention. Concurrently, the Department conducted cost-benefit analyses on implementing new legal regulations in this area.

Currently, due to the increasing popularity of non-standard forms of employment, the Department has worked on improving legal solutions to occupational health and safety for all workers, regardless of employment status. Other significant tasks include surveys and opinions on new legal solutions to occupational health and safety issues, including laws on bridging retirement pensions, as well as surveys and opinions on the causes of accidents at work, which are issued for pending prosecutions and court proceedings.

Occupational health and safety monitoring systems are used to assess the effectiveness of statutory requirements, expressed as changes in the level of occupational health and safety. Work carried out at the Accident Analysis Centre, which is part of theDepartment, including the development of methods for conducting statistical analyses of accidents in the workplace for preventive purposes, is aimed at improving the systems. The main result is identification of the highest risk areas and sectors for accidents at work, and recurring sequences of events in those areas, as well as proposed new methods for monitoring working conditions.

The Section for Economic Analysis works on accident insurance operating principles, which are used to develop and improve economic incentives for improvements in working conditions. They have long been supervised by Jan Rzepecki, Ph.D. As a result of this work, a proposed model of differential occupational accident insurance premiums was developed which constituted a basis for determining the differentiation principles for the premiums in the accident insurance system implemented in 2003. At present, work is continuing on improving the system as an economic incentive towards improving working conditions in companies.

Cost-benefit analyses of occupational health and safety management in companies are used to refute the opinion that investing in occupational health and safety is unprofitable; an opinion held by many business people.The first outcome was the development of cost-calculation methods for businesses for accidents at work, which is now an important element in the general model of occupational health and safety cost-benefit analysis. The model can easily be applied in any business thanks to software available on the Institute's website which facilitates occupational health and safety cost-benefit calculations. Further work has made it possible to prove the economic profitability and effectiveness of implementing occupational health and safety management systems in business.

Currently, attempts are being made to assess the effectiveness of human resources management with respect to occupational health and safety in companies. Initial results indicate that sound human resources management  is required and profitable here. Improving and facilitating the implementation of effective occupational health and safety management solutions in companies is the primary goal of work carried out by the Section for Risk Management and Assessment, headed by Zofia Pawłowska, Ph.D., (Eng.), and Małgorzata Pęciłło, Ph.D. In 1999, the results formed the basis for developing the PN-N-18001 national standard, the Occupational health and safety management systems'  Requirements, and the draft PN-N-18002 national standard, Occupational health and safety management systems. General guidelines regarding occupational risk assessment.

With a view to improving occupational health and safety management, studies are currently being conducted on implementing programmes to modify dangerous behaviours and promote corporate social responsibility. The studies have confirmed that such activity may significantly contribute to improvements in occupational health and safety levels, as well as quality of working life.

International cooperation is significant in developing all this research. Since 2003, Department employees have been actively participating in the work of international teams at the Bilbao-based European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and the European Commission, including projects on the economic and social impact of implementing EC directives on the prevention of musculoskeletal system illnesses and reduction of the adverse impact of electromagnetic fields on employees. The Department also participates in research work as part of the EU's 6th and 7th Framework Programmes, analysing issues related to monitoring different aspects of health protection at work.


Main areas of activity:

  • Analysis of legal solutions related to occupational safety and health in force in Poland as well as the European Union, and also development and consultation of proposed changes to the existing legal regulations
  • Preparation and improvement of methods of economic analysis in the area of occupational safety and health
  • Investigation of causes of /accidents at work/ occupational accidents
  • Development and improvement of methods of occupational risk assessment
  • Analysis and definition of the principles of effective management of occupational safety and health in companies and methods of assessing the management systems
  • Popularisation of modern occupational safety and health management principles
Zofia Pawłowska,
Pracownicy Instytutu