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Corporate working environment counselling service

Why should you invite a working environment counsellor to your company? The Labour Inspectorate has set its aims of helping employers and employees and, in addition to being a supervising authority, also being a counselling institution and using penalties as a last resort. By changing the working environment according to the guidelines from the counsellor, you will achieve a better working environment, and it’s also cheaper and less painful if the changes are made before an accident happens. A better working environment motivates employees to work better, to be loyal and recommend the company to their friends as well. It also helps to gain more popularity among your clients.

How can you invite a working environment counsellor to your company? It is an important ability for an employer to perceive when the company lacks professional competence and when it’s time to seek help from outside. A good opportunity to raise working environment competence would be to call in a working environment counsellor from the Labour Inspectorate, who will counsel you on the topics of health and safety at work. This service is mainly aimed for companies with up to 50 employees. To call the working environment counsellor to your company you have to send an e-mail with the request to the Labour Inspectorate’s general e-mail address, Counsellors visit companies all over Estonia. The counselling service is free of charge for companies.

What will the counsellor do in your company? Counselling is aimed at the development of safety culture in companies, not searching for violations. The objective is to reach the point where the competency of evaluating health and safety at work in the company will grow and therefore damage to the health of employees will be avoided and their ability to work will be sustained. In accordance with the wishes and needs of the employer the working environment counselling may cover the whole working environment or just a specific area. A working environment counsellor’s task is to find, in cooperation with the employer’s representative(s), any workplaces and activities that should be improved, and to provide recommendations for possible solutions.

Counselling takes place mostly as follows: •

First the employer’s representative(s) and the counsellor will specify what the objective of the counselling is and what problems are important for the employer.

After that the counsellor, in cooperation with the employer’s representative(s), will take a tour during which he will check out the working environment, observe the work process, talk with the employer’s representatives and employees, and will give suggestions for improvement. The counsellor has the advantage of looking at the working environment with a fresh point of view and find problems that the company itself is unable to see, either because of routine or lack of knowledge.

The counsellor will selectively read up on the company’s documentation on the working environment (e.g. the risk analyses of the working environment, safety instructions and registry of instructions) and give recommendations for improvement or amendments, if needed.

Finally the counsellor will give an oral summary, talk about any shortcomings and will give recommendations for the improvement of the working environment.

After the visit the counsellor will send the employer a written summary with recommendations for bringing the working environment into conformity with requirements and suggestions to improve health and safety at work and to avoid possible injuries.

What will the counsellor not do in the company? The counsellor will not conduct state supervision over the company (as a labour inspector) and will not issue a precept. The counsellor also won’t prepare any documents (e.g. risk analyses, safety instructions, etc.) and won’t instruct employees individually. After the counselling the employer will be granted time to implement the counsellor’s suggestions and during this time the labour inspector will not inspect the company. Exceptions will be situations that point to dangerous health and safety violations and may occur in the case of accidents at work or an occupational disease and from information received by the Labour Inspectorate. The working environment counsellor will visit the company only if the Labour Inspectorate has no unfinished administrative proceedings (including investigations of accidents at work) going on in the company, in order to avoid misunderstandings between the concurrent administrative procedure and interpretation of the results of counselling.

Does work life raise questions? The Labour Inspectorate knows the answers LOOK at the website of the

Labour Inspectorate of Estonia at

CALL the lawyer’s hotline at 640 6000 USE the client portal WRITE ©Labour Inspectorate of Estonia, 2016

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