7.05.2024 Labour law

New OHS requirements – employers have time until 17 May!


In November 2023, the amended regulation on occupational health and safety rules regarding work at positions equipped with screen monitors entered into force. The new regulations impose a number of obligations on employers. The deadline for their implementation expires on 17 May 2024.

Working at a computer: new occupational health and safety regulations

The amended regulation on occupational health and safety at workstations equipped with screen monitors obliges employers to adapt current workplaces to the new health and safety regulations. The changes are intended to improve the comfort and safety of employees and help prevent occupational diseases.

The key modification introduced by the amended regulations is the clarification of the definition of a computer workstation. Such a workstation is to include:

  • Workspace with basic equipment, including:
  • Screen monitor – placed at the right distance from the eyes and at the right angle to avoid eye strain;
  • Keyboard not being an integral part of the laptop – when working on a laptop;
  • Mouse or other input devices, a mat on the desk to keep the keyboard and mouse stable;
  • User interface software;
  • Table and chair:
  • Chair:
  • Armrests – mandatory, adjustable in height and position;
  • Comfortable backrest – adjusted to the natural curvature of the spine;
  • Appropriate seat depth – ensuring support for the thighs along the entire length;
  • Table:
  • Ergonomic design – allowing for free positioning of the monitor, keyboard and other equipment elements;
  • Spacious tabletop – providing sufficient space for work and maintaining the appropriate distance between the keyboard and the edge of the desk;
  • Tabletop height – adapted to the employee’s height, enabling support for forearms and hands at right angles at the elbows;
  • Optional additional equipment, including:
  • Disk drive;
  • Printer;
  • Scanner;
  • Document holder;
  • Footstool.

It is also important to have adequate lighting at the workplace, adapted to the tasks performed, without excessive reflections and sharp contrasts.

Employers have time until 17 May 2024 to adapt the current workstations to the changes. The changes apply to workplaces of the employees who work at least half of their daily working time on computers or laptops.

Employer will subsidize the purchase of the employee’s contact lenses

The new regulations also extend the scope of employers’ obligations to include reimbursement of contact lenses. This means that employees who require vision correction due to the nature of their work will be able to apply for funding from their employer for both glasses and contact lenses.

It should be noted down that for many years there has been a provision in Polish law (Regulation of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy of 1 December 1998 on occupational health and safety in positions equipped with screen monitors) that an employee may receive co-financing from the employer for the purchase of corrective glasses if:

  • during periodic examinations, the occupational medicine doctor will indicate that the employee should wear corrective glasses

and

  • the employee works at a workstation equipped with a screen monitor for at least half of his/her daily working time.

After 17 May 2024, every employee working half of his/her time in front of a screen, regardless of the date of creation of the workplace, will also be able to benefit from co-financing for the purchase of contact lenses, on the same basis as for corrective glasses.

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