Occupational health and safety training – how often should it be refreshed?


Every employer is responsible for ensuring the safety and hygiene of the working conditions and – above all – providing appropriate initial and periodic training in this field. Every employee has to comply with health and safety regulations while performing tasks, regardless of the nature of the work. 

Every employer should provide their employees with hygienic and safe working conditions. The Labour Code obliges employers to conduct health and safety training for employees – both before starting work and during employment. Health and safety training is a prerequisite for safe and hygienic work performance. Disregarding the obligation to provide it can inflict financial penalties, but above all, lead to an increased risk of harm to the health and life of workers.

Exemption from the obligation to conduct OHS training before admitting an employee to work is possible only if the employee takes up work in the same position they held immediately before entering into another employment contract with the same employer.

All employees need to undergo OHS training, along with students on internship and students of vocational schools that are employed to teach them a job.

Training takes place during work and at the expense of the employer.

OHS training is divided into two types of training:

  • initial training – The condition for the employee’s admission to work is participation in initial OHS training, which consists of two parts: general and on-the-job training.

The general instruction allows you to become familiar with the health and safety regulations set out in the Labor Code and the work regulations in force at a given employer. It also ensures that you learnt the principles of first aid.

Who can give a general briefing?

  • a person performing tasks of the occupational health and safety service employed by a given employer,
  • a qualified employee of the occupational health and safety service,
  • the employer, if it performs the tasks of the health and safety service itself,
  • an employee whose knowledge and experience allow for reliable instruction and who has a valid certificate of completion of the required OHS training.

  • On-the-job training should be closely related to the workplace that the employee will be occupying. It makes it possible to get acquainted with the working environment, methods of safe work performance, hazards resulting from the position and safety measures. In the event of significant changes within a given position (e.g. introduction of harmful substances), the employee should undergo on-the-job training appropriate to the changed working conditions.

Who can give on-the-job training?

  • a person supervising the work of employees, appointed by the employer,
  • employer

In both cases, the person conducting the on-the-job training should have appropriate professional experience and be skilled in the conduct of on-the-job training.

On-the-job training should end with a knowledge and skills test in the scope of work performed according to the OHS principles, which allows the trained employee to work in a given position. After the course, an appropriate sheet goes to the employee’s file. The template of the initial training card is specified in Annex 2 to the Regulation of the Minister of Economy and Labour of 27 July 2004 on training on occupational health and safety. General and on-the-job training must be confirmed in writing by the employee.

  • periodic training – Periodic training is an important element affecting occupational health and safety.
    Who is subject to regular training? 
  • Employers and other persons managing employees, especially managers, masters and foremen,
  • blue-collar workers
  • engineering and technicalemployees, designers, engineers of machinery and other technical devices, technologists and production organizers
  • employees of health and safety services and other persons performing tasks of this service, administrative and office employees 
  • other employees not previously included, whose work is associated with exposure to harmful, nuisance or dangerous factors, and individuals whose work is associated with liability in the OHS.

Periodic training should end with an exam that checks the level of acquisition of information provided during the training and the ability to perform and organize work following health and safety regulations and rules. The trainer conducts the exam. An employee who undergoes periodic training receives a training certificate, which is stored in personal files.

When the employer can’t organize periodic training during working hours, it counts into working time with the right to remuneration, overtime allowance, or free time.

Frequency of periodic training:

  • persons who are employers and other persons managing employees: managers, masters, foremen (at least once every five years),
  • blue-collar workers (at least once every three years, and in positions where there are high risks to the safety or health of employees, at least once a year),
  • engineering and technical employees, including designers, engineers of machinery and other technical devices, technologists and production organizers (at least once every five years),
  • employees of the OHS service and other persons performing the tasks of this service (at least once every five years),
  • administrative and office employees and others not mentioned above, whose work is associated with exposure to harmful, burdensome or dangerous factors or with liability in the field of OHS (at least once every six years),
  • administrative workers employed in entities qualified to the activities’ group with risk category not higher than three (without periodic training).

Who is relieved from periodic training?

A person who fulfils one of the following conditions exempts from periodic training:

  • participation in another periodic training provided that its programme includes the thematic scope required by the periodic training program that is in force in the new position.
  • submission of a current certificate of completion of the required periodic training with another employer during this period,