P.O.E.S. – Health and Safety at Work (Application to EDs)

SUBJECT: Health and Safety at Work (Application to EDs)
REL.: a. Law 3850/2010 (Official Gazette A’ 84, “Sanction of the Code of Laws on the health and safety of workers”)
b. No. 20911/26-9-2016/YPEKA/SEPE
c. SYA HYPTHA 2022
d. Our document No. 1432/2023
e. No. prot. 1656/2023 our document
Madam Minister.
One of the most serious issues that concerns our Federation is that of Health and Safety at Work, which, unfortunately, has been proven to have very serious implementation problems in EDs. A consequence of these problems is the essentially non-application of the law in practice, except in name only.
In view of the revision of (a) the relevant Code (KNYAE) and in the spirit of the Workshop on Health and Safety at Work organized by the Ministry last December, our Federation will assist in every way in the substantial improvement of working conditions. In order to do this, a substantial tightening of the implementation framework will be required, a vulnerability recognized by both the Ministry and the social partners who developed their positions on the panel.
According to paragraph 2 of article 2 of the KNYAE, “The provisions of the code are also applied to the uniformed personnel of the armed forces and the security forces, with the exception of certain activities of such personnel that present inherent peculiarities. In this case: a) for the uniformed personnel of the armed forces, the health and safety of the workers must be ensured as far as possible within the framework of the aforementioned provisions.
The generalization of the above description, due to its ambiguity, creates two very serious windows, so that Health and Safety may not be applied to EDs and remain an empty letter, just as we constantly point out. We refer to the terms “with the exception of certain activities … which present inherent peculiarities” and “to be ensured as far as possible”.
It is a fact that with (b) related, among other things, an attempt was made, at least indirectly (through the exemption from the control of the Labor Inspectorate), to clarify these “inherent peculiarities”. However, the result was simply to further widen the ambiguity, specifically with paragraph C2: “It is clarified that, according to no. 2 of Law 3850/2010 in the auditing competence of the S.E.P.E. in general, those activities which present inherent particularities (operational training, deployment of forces, civil protection actions, guarding facilities, etc.) are not included”
The above, over the years, have further distorted the already misinterpreted picture of Health and Safety at Work in EDs, because they have created the false sense that, because the accident in an activity falling within the inherent specificities is not foreseen to be checked by the Labor Inspectorate, then this implies that the activities under inherent particularities are not subject to the Health and Safety at Work provisions on a case-by-case basis. We will mention two indicative examples:
a. Special Forces Training. The executives go through specific trainings in specific facilities. Operational training obviously involves an increased risk which under the circumstances must fall under the exceptions of (b) relative. The maintenance and proper operation, or even the certification of the facilities and the means used, however, cannot be excluded. We will recall the death of a PN Officer in 2010 during his training (fall from a height due to poor maintenance of individual parts). Poor maintenance cannot be excluded from related provisions.
b. During a warship cruise, operational training may take place, or even response to an incident under real conditions. Obviously, and depending on the case, these conditions can be subject to the exceptions of (b) related, however the general condition of the ship or the crew (e.g. properly maintained or cleaned facilities, personnel who have rested, etc.) cannot be put under any regime exception. For example, if an officer during operational training loses his balance due to a slippery floor in the cleaning area and sustains a fractured arm in the fall, the injury cannot be considered an outcome related to operational training and treated as an “exception”. .
We would like to remind you that the phenomena of serious health problems that are obviously related to occupational diseases and syndromes due to psychosocial factors (such as those of a cardiac nature) have increased, just as suicide incidents seem to have increased. These figures were confirmed for the general working population during the Conference, where there were no figures for the military, which does not cause us any surprise.
All of the above is confirmed in the worst way, which proves that in EDs there is not even the right culture to treat military personnel as employees and is summed up in the non-observance, or even faulty observance in some cases, of Individual Medical Files, an obligation that is wrongly considered to concern only the political staff.
Madam Minister.
Our Federation will agree with the general finding developed during the Ministry’s Day, that there is a serious problem in the observance of the law. Especially with regard to the Armed Forces, the compliance provision must be explicit, with no scope for windows. Following this and adhering to the spirit that a safe working environment is a human right, we propose to improve the existing framework as follows:
Special Application Cases

All Services, Units, Installations and structures of all kinds and all levels of internal hierarchy of the Armed Forces have full correspondence with the concepts of “businesses” or “farms” as defined in this law and are fully subject to the provisions of this law applied , unless otherwise specified.
The Minister of Defense is designated as the employer. Responsible before the law in the name of the employer is determined the Commander of each Service with responsibility that concerns the Service of his administration as a whole.
All ED employees, including military and apprentice personnel, are understood as employees, regardless of individual employment relationship or its particularities.
From the provisions of this law, only activities related entirely and exclusively to operational activities (real or training) and not related to factors independent of these activities are exempted. The facilities, equipment and any other means used are not included in the operational part if the event or accident or mishap is documented to be due to an action or omission related to the condition of these facilities, equipment or other means.
Especially for business activities, those responsible for the law must have ensured the existence of the right working conditions throughout the activities.
Exemptions of ED personnel (including military and apprentice personnel) in matters of health monitoring and optimization of working conditions are not allowed. Any conflicting provisions in the relevant regulatory and institutional framework of the ED with this law cease to apply upon publication in the Government Gazette.

Transitional provisions
… Specifically in the case of the Armed Forces, within six months of the publication of this law in the Government Gazette, the Ministry of National Defense must notify the Ministry of Labor and the Independent Labor Inspection Authority:
a. Those responsible before the law in the name of the employer for all ED Services.
b. All activities that are excluded from the competences of the Labor Inspectorate accompanied by documented reasons for their exclusion.”
We remain at your disposal for any clarification or information.
Messrs. Members of the Hellenic Parliament, to whom this is communicated, are requested to highlight the matter, through parliamentary control.

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