Objectives of legal labour protection 

Legal labour protection is a set of legal norms aimed at ensuring that workers' rights are protected and that they are safe and healthy while performing their duties. With this understanding of the concept, the object of labour protection is to prevent a worker's health and life from being harmed by the environment in which he or she operates.  

Labour protection systems 

The labour protection system has two types in Poland. These are the organisational system and the legal system. The former illustrates the organisation and bodies that participate in the implementation of occupational health and safety tasks and in their formation. The second one is an integral part of labour law; it shows the legal norms in force and their location in the sources of law that concern safety and health protection. 

The legal system has its sources of law. These are the Labour Code and the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. 

Understanding labour protection 

Labour protection can be understood in two ways due to the subjective scope of the concept: 

  • a narrower understanding - encompassing the protection of works and guaranteeing health and safety, 
  • a broader understanding - including the protection of youth and women's work. 

Labour protection as a right and duty 

Waclaw Szubert, Polish economist, deputy director of the Labour and Welfare Department of the Government Delegation for Poland from mid-1943, believed that labour protection is a set of systems (legal, organisational, economic and technical measures) which serve to ensure the protection of health and safety of the employed during their activities. At the same time, this system is understood as a set of units that are ordered and form an organisational whole, serving a single purpose. 

According to Article 66(1) , "Everyone has the right to safe and healthy working conditions. The manner of realisation of this right and the duties of the employer shall be determined by law". On the basis of these words, every employer is obliged to ensure the above-mentioned conditions with appropriate use of the achievements of science and technology in order to protect the health and life of employees at work. In fulfilling this obligation, it carries out appropriate organisational, enforcement and property measures in the field of occupational health and safety. 

The Constitution of the Republic of Poland is recognised as the basic legal act that speaks of the right to hygienic working conditions that guarantee safety. According to Article 66. therein, every employee has this right. You can read about the way this right is implemented in the law. 

The Labour Code is the law that defines what duties and rights apply to citizens in terms of occupational health and safety. In Article 207. we can read that the employer is responsible for the state of health and safety at work; he undertakes to protect the life and health of the people he employs by organising safe and hygienic working conditions for them, skilfully using the achievements of science and technology. 

Constitution of the Republic of Poland

Particularly important employer responsibilities are: 

  • Ensuring that recommendations and orders, decisions and speeches from working conditions supervisors are implemented, 
  • organising work in a way that ensures health and safety, 
  • Ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations and issuing orders to remedy deficiencies in this regard, and checking that these orders are carried out. 

Working safely and hygienically is a responsibility: 

  • real, 
  • indivisible, 
  • absolute and universal, 
  • unconditional, 
  • double qualified. 

An employee who is not provided with the above points related to working safely under hygienic conditions has the following rights: 

  • The right to refrain from hazardous work (based on Article 210. of the Labour Code), 
  • The right to terminate the employment relationship immediately (pursuant to Article 55. § 1 of the Labour Code), 
  • The right to initiate trade union litigation, intervention and complaint proceedings with the relevant authority.