The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) applies to posted workers. This Act applies to posted workers even if the provisions of the Act are less favourable to them than the provisions of the relevant foreign state. The employer of the posted worker and the contracting entity or the person for whom the posted worker works in Estonia may agree who of them is liable for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. If there is no such agreement, the contracting entity or the person for whom the posted worker works in Estonia is liable for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. If the requirements of the Act are not complied with, the provisions regarding liability laid down in the Act are applied to the contracting entity or the person for whom the posted worker works in Estonia.
Occupational health and safety of temporary agency workers
Pursuant to section 12 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety act, the user undertaking must guarantee the conformity with occupational health and safety requirements in the user undertaking. The occupational health and safety of temporary agency workers must be guaranteed at an equal level to ordinary employees.
Pursuant to section 12 (2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, before allowing a temporary agency worker to work, the user undertaking is obligated to ensure that the professional knowledge and skills of the worker correspond to their duties, and also ensure that the temporary agency worker possesses the required knowledge of occupational health and safety.
The user undertaking must provide supervision and training to the temporary agency worker. Given that occupational health and safety training must factor in the employee’s qualification and experience, the temporary-work agency and the user undertaking are required to exchange information about the employee before the commencement of their training. In addition to other obligations, the user undertaking must also provide the temporary agency worker with work clothes and personal protective equipment.
If a labour inspector visiting an undertaking identifies any occupational health and safety violations related to a temporary agency worker, a precept will be issued to the user undertaking.
Pursuant to clause 13 (1) 7) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an employer is obligated to organise the medical examination of employees whose health may be affected during the performance of their duties by a working environment hazard or the nature of the work, and cover all related expenses.
In case of temporary agency work, medical examination of the employee must be organised by the user undertaking as set out in subsection 12 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The act does not forbid the temporary-work agency to sign a special agreement with the user undertaking, under which the medical examination would be organised by the user undertaking but at the expense of the temporary-work agency. This would ensure temporary agency workers with similar medical examinations as the employees of the user undertaking, whereas the examinations would meet the expectations of the user undertaking and all workers would be treated equally. At the same time, it would not entail unreasonable costs for the user undertaking.
Registration and investigation of occupational accidents and occupational diseases
Pursuant to subsection 24 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the circumstances and reasons of an occupational accident or occupational disease must be established in the course of an investigation which is carried out by the employer. At the same time, subsection 12 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act assigns this obligation to the user undertaking, meaning that if a temporary agency worker has sustained an accident at work, the user undertaking employing the temporary agency worker at the time of the accident is obligated to register and clarify all facts of the accident.
In accordance with the law, the employer must submit a report on the investigation results to the victim or a person representing the victim’s interests and to the local office of the Labour Inspectorate. The report must indicate the measures to be implemented by the employer to prevent a similar occupational accident or occupational disease. Since the report of an accident sustained by a temporary agency worker is drawn up by the user undertaking, the direct employer, i.e. temporary-work agency, must also receive a copy of the occupational accident report.