Labor Inspection to Cover All Kinds of Work

From 1 September 2019, the Law of Georgia on Labor Safety will apply not only to the dangerous, heavy and hazardous labor fields but to all sectors of economic activity.

Georgian Parliament adopted a law on Labor Safety with the third and final reading on March 7, 2018. According to the law, sanctions for the breach of safety norms were tightened, and fines were increased from 100 to 50,000 GEL.

However, the requirements of the law only covered 11 areas of severe, harmful and dangerous work, a fact repeatedly criticized by the non-governmental sector.

At present, the Parliament of Georgia is holding the first hearing of amendments to the Law of Georgia on Labor Safety, according to which the law is to apply to all sectors of economic activity, including the labor relations regulated by the Organic Law of Georgia Labor Code of Georgia and the Law of Georgia on Civil Service.

The goal of the draft law is to define the main requirements of labor safety and general principles of preventive measures in the workplace. The legislative initiative envisages the creation and operation of a system of effective and working mechanisms of enforcement and inspection. The mandate of the labor inspectorate is extended and, according to the draft law, the supervisory body is authorized to check any workspace covered by the inspectorate mandate without prior warning and at any time of day or night.

Until now, according to the Law of Georgia on Control of Entrepreneurial Activities, a supervisory agency had been authorized to control business activities, including entering the enterprise, requesting documents, suspending the operation of the enterprise, sealing the property, examining the enterprise, checking the quality of the goods produced, only on the basis of an order issued by a judge.

However, under the new amendments, the labor inspectorate does not require advance court permission and is authorized, without prior notice, to check any workspace subject to inspection, at any time of day or night, in order to ensure effective implementation and application of labor safety norms.

Under the current law, an employee has the right to receive compensation for injuries received in the workplace in accordance with the procedures established by the law, but after the amendments are adopted, “an employee has the right to receive compensation for injuries received in the workplace, including injuries resulting from occupational illness.”

The existing Labor Law reads that obstructing the work of the supervisory body can result in a warning or a fine of up to GEL 200 in the event of a failure to fulfill an instruction contained in the warning.

In the new addition, preventing the supervisory body from carrying out inspection will result in a fine of up to GEL 4,000 for an individual and up to GEL 14,000 for a person registered as a VAT taxpayer. The amount of the fine is linked to the income received during the previous calendar year and to the total amount of operations taxable under VAT.

Moreover, where under the current version of the law, the obligation to appoint a labor safety specialist currently applies only to work involving increased levels of danger, heavy and hazardous labor in dangerous conditions, the amendments read that the obligation to appoint a labor safety specialist will apply to all spheres of work.

The employer is obliged to appoint one or more employees to the position of labor safety specialist or create for this purpose a labor safety service which, in order to prevent violations of labor safety norms, will ensure the introduction and management of labor safety measures.

By Thea Morrison

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12 November 2018 16:51