Given the extremely high temperatures recorded during this period in some areas of the country, it is useful to review the main obligations that employers have during such periods.
Emergency Ordinance no. 99/2000 (“G.E.O. no. 99/2000”) sets out a series of minimum measures that can be applied in periods of extreme temperatures for the protection of employees. Of course, the measures will be decided and applied by the employer taking into account also the specifics of the activity (e.g. work in the field or indoors).
Extremely high temperatures mean outside air temperatures which exceed + 37 ° C or which, correlated with high humidity conditions, can be equivalent to this level (THI temperature – humidity index <80 units). Employers have the obligation to be informed, directly or through the staff with responsibilities in the field of health and safety at work, of the fact that the temperature, respectively the temperature-humidity index, has reached or is expected to reach extreme values.
In accordance with the provisions of G.E.O. no. 99/2000, in periods of extreme high temperatures, employers are required to ensure the following minimum measures:
A. Measures aimed to improve working conditions:
- reducing the intensity and rhythm of physical activities;
- ensuring ventilation at workplaces;
- alternating dynamic effort with static effort;
- alternating work periods with rest periods in places with shade and air currents.
B. Measures aimed to maintain the health of workers:
- ensuring adequate mineral water, 2-4 liters / person / shift;
- providing personal protective equipment;
- providing showers.
Employers who cannot ensure the above mentioned conditions will take, in agreement with the representatives of the trade unions or with the elected representatives of the employees, as the case may be, the following measures:
a) reduction of the working day duration;
b) scheduling the working day in two periods: until 11 a.m. and after 5 p.m.;
c) the collective interruption of the work with the assurance of the continuity of the activity in the places where it cannot be interrupted, according to the legal provisions.
In order to prevent occupational diseases caused by working in conditions of extreme temperatures, the employer must take the following measures:
- ensuring the medical examination at employment and the regular medical checks, for the purpose of early detection of contraindications for work at high or low temperatures;
- providing first aid and transport to the nearest health unit of affected persons;
- switching, as far as possible, to other jobs or reducing the work schedule for people with ailments, which have contraindications to working at extreme temperatures.
Failure to comply with the provisions of the G.E.O. no. 99/2000 regarding the measures that can be applied in periods of extreme temperatures for the protection of workers is sanctioned as a misdemeanour, with a fine ranging from lei 1,500 to lei 2,500. The labour authorities verify annually the observance of the provisions of the G.E.O. no. 99/2000 by employers. Inspections on this topic have already been announced.
However, more severe consequences can arise if a worker is affected due to the employer’s failure to take appropriate measures.