KANBrief 2/10

Standardization and occupational safety and health in Romania

Among the preparations for its accession to the EU on 1 January 2007, Romania also adapted its occupational safety and health legislation to the European legislatory framework. Law 319/2006 on safety and health at work plays a key role in this context. It transposes the European OSH Framework Directive 89/391/EEC into Romanian law and governs the responsibilities of authorities, institutions and employers.

Overall responsibility for occupational safety and health lies with the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection (Ministerul Muncii, Familiei ¸si Protec¸tiei Sociale). This ministry formulates national policy, draws up draft legislation for implementation of the national strategies, and monitors the enforcement of regulations. In addition, the ministry elaborates sectoral research programmes and may support them financially. It issues regulations announcing the adoption as Romanian standards (Standard român, SR EN) of European standards published in the Official Journal of the EU. It also designates the national certification bodies to be notified to the European Commission for the machinery, PPE, explosives for civil uses and ATEX directives. 

The Ministry of Health (Ministerul Sanatatii) is the competent authority for the drafting of national legislation on workplace health and occupational medicine. It supervises the Bucharest Institute of Public Health (Institutul de Sanatate Publica Bucuresti), which also assumes tasks in the area of prevention. The latter conducts research into health-risk factors in the working environment and compiles the national register of occupational diseases.

The "Alexandru Darabont" National Institute of Research and Development on Labour Protection (INCDPM) (Institutul Na¸tional de Cercetare – Dezvoltare pentru Protec¸tia Muncii "Alexandru Darabont") is the national OSH institute in Romania. It has 90 members of staff (of whom 37 are researchers) and maintains specialized laboratories for a wide range of subjects: mechanical and electrical risks, noise and vibration, ergonomics, risk assessment, work equipment (machinery, low-voltage equipment, etc.) and personal protective equipment (PPE). The institute is a notified body for machinery and PPE. 60% of the institute’s revenues comes from research and development activities, with 40% being ensured through services such as testing and certification.

The INCDPM is coordinated by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection. On the basis of sound scientific expertise, it advises policymakers on measures and developments in the area of occupational safety and health.

Besides its technical work, the INCDPM also has an important function in public relations by providing web-based information, the specialist magazine "Risc si Securitate în Munca" and initial and further training courses. The INCDPM is the national Focal Point of the Bilbao OSH Agency and organizes annual events dedicated to the European Week of Safety and Health at Work.

The activities of the Labour Inspection are based upon a law adopted in 1999. It monitors observance of legislation in the field and contributes to prevention through inspection and information campaigns. It includes 42 district inspectorates and employs more than 1,900 inspectors. In 2008, 99,698 companies were inspected, most of them in trade and industry. The Labour Inspection also manages labour relations through specialized employment departments (Raport de activitate a Inspec¸tiei Muncii – 2008)

Compulsory accident insurance was introduced for all employers in 2004. It is part of the National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights (CNPAS) and is governed by a tripartite council (government, employers, trade unions) and the president of the CNPAS. Its tasks include medical and vocational rehabilitation and compensation of the victims of workplace accidents and occupational diseases. All standardization activities are organized by the Romanian Standards Association ASRO, a private public-interest body. ASRO mirrors the activities of CEN, CENELEC, ISO, IEC and ETSI in a total of 368 national committees. Representing the interests of occupational safety and health, the INCDPM holds the chairmanship and/or secretariat of a series of ASRO committees: Ergonomics, Electrical installation in buildings, Safety of machinery, Personal protective equipment, Lighting technique, Human protection against noise and mechanical vibration and Electromagnetic fields in the human environment. INCDPM is also a member of other national standards committees.

Dipl. Eng. Ionel Iorga PhD