Contents: Education in occupational safety and health in Poland Introduction education in occupational safety and health in primary, secondary and high schools education in occupational safety and health in universities



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Occupational Health and Safety Education Activities in Poland

National Report



Contents:


  1. Education in occupational safety and health in Poland

1.1. Introduction …………………………………………………………………1



    1. Education in occupational safety and health in primary,
      secondary and high schools ……………………………………………1

1.3. Education in occupational safety and health
in universities ………………………………………………………………5


1.4. Continuing education in occupational safety and health …………..6


  1. The educational activities of the Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute




    1. Introduction ………………………………………………………….……...8

2.2. Educational materials for universities ………………………...……….8

2.3. Educational materials for schools ……………………………………….9

2.3. The continues OHS training …………………………………………........9

2.4. Post – graduated studies ………………………………………………...10

2.5. Modern forms of teaching (including e – learning) ………………….11

1. Education in occupational safety and health in Poland



1.1. Introduction
The educational system in occupational safety and health in Poland includes:

  • school education (primary, secondary and high school education and university education)

  • continuing (adult) education,

  • other forms of education provided by national institutions, mass media, social organizations and enterprises.



1.2. Education in occupational safety and health in primary, secondary and high schools
The Minister of National Education and Sport is obliged, by the Labour Code, to include in the scope of the educational programmes issues concerning occupational safety and health. The Minister sets up the basic scope of content of educational programmes for primary, secondary and high schools. The scope includes such issues as ergonomics and safe working conditions, which are adjusted to a stage of education and type of school and profession.
In Poland since 1999 the reform of education has been being launched. The changes concern not only the structure of the educational system but also the content of educational programmes. The reformed educational programmes touch questions on ergonomics and safe working conditions to a much larger extent than they did before commencing the reform. The increasing importance that is being attached to occupational safety and health education in school and to developing safety culture among pupils and students is a result of critical opinions on the Polish educational system. The opinions have indicated the necessity of including health and safety issues into the earliest stages of education. The main arguments for this were:

  • statistical data that indicates a need of holistic approach to the safety and health issues. This approach should include man behaviours and hazards present during his whole professional and private life (more than 90% of accidents occur outside the working environment),

  • accident rates at schools that are relatively high and amount to 16,5 accidents per 1000 persons,

  • the employers’ opinions that they are bearing costs of training for new-employed in occupational safety and health as elementary knowledge of new-employed in this field is not sufficient.

The discussion resulted in the amendment to the regulation on the educational system in 2003. In the amendment regulation, the role of school in teaching safety and health issues is defined as: “disseminating the knowledge of safety and developing the appropriate behaviours towards threats and extraordinary situations among children and teenagers”.


The education in a primary school can be generally divided into two stages. At the first stage (classes 1-3) the programmes include the following issues concerning safety and health:

  • recognising the signals of danger,

  • moving in the streets,

  • safe use of technical devices in everyday live,

  • developing habits of safe use of dangerous tools (such as knives, scissors or matches),

  • taking care of health and hygiene,

  • food and nutrition,

  • safety rules for games.

In classes 4 – 6 (the second stage of education) the programmes include the following issues concerning safety and health:



  • recognizing the civisational dangers and developing skills of correct behaviour towards dangerous and toxic objects, flammable and explosive materials and unexploded materials,

  • safety in the streets and during games,

  • first aid in case of some injuries, coping with difficult situations and ability to find help,

  • behaviours favouring and endangering health,

  • influence of different natural and non-natural factors on health and the relation between the health and different forms of human activities,

  • safe use of tools and devices of everyday use and understanding the technical instructions,

  • safe use of and riding a bicycle (bicycle license should be obtained by the 10th year of life).

In a secondary school (the third educational stage) education in safety and health includes civil defence and pro-health and ecological education and aims among others to:



  • develop awareness of responsibility for protecting health and recognizing factors to protecting and endangering health and personal development,

  • present environmental dangers related to energy production and transport and inappropriate waste storage,

  • develop safe behaviours at school, at home, in the street, during games and while studying and resting,

  • develop appropriate behaviours in case of threats to one’s life, health and property,

  • teach to apply first aid in case of emergency,

  • develop conviction that obeying regulations of particular importance for life and health is necessary.

In high schools (the fourth stage of education) the questions on safety and health comprised in educational programmes differ and are adjusted to different types of schools: grammar schools, vocational schools, complementary high schools and post –high schools. The safety and health issues compose a part of content of vocational subjects in vocational schools, while in grammar schools they are included in content of elementary knowledge of entrepreneurship.


In 2003 basic scope of educational programmes for 195 professions was completed. The occupational safety and health is not taught as separate subject as it was in the past but it is included in the content of vocational subjects. The programmes, which reflect professional competence, include among others requirements on ergonomics and occupational safety and health specific for each profession. Central Examining Board guarantees that occupational safety and health questions are touched in educational programmes. The Board develops requirements of professional exams confirming that graduates’ qualifications in occupational safety and health are equal to qualifications that could be obtained during initial training provided by employers.

Due to including an occupational safety and health specialist in the list of professions a legal base for teaching specialists in this field was established. The schools teaching occupational safety and health specialists are provided with adequate educational programmes and equipment.



1.3. Education in occupational safety and health in universities
The scope of educational programs for particular faculties is defined by the Main Council of University Education and is confirmed by the Minister of National Education and Sport.
Dynamic changes in university education and the development of non–public universities as well as the autonomy in creating educational programmes cause that occupational safety and health issues included in the programmes differ even within the same type of schools. The occupational safety and health issues are taught through:

  • obligatory trainings for the first-year students,

  • obligatory lectures and tutorials on ergonomics, occupational safety and health, legal protection of labour etc.,

  • including occupational safety and health issues in the content of specialistic subjects.

In addition, some technical universities provide post-graduate studies in occupational safety and health.

1.4. Continuing education in occupational safety and health
According to labour code requirements employers are obliged to provide initial and periodical training in occupational safety and health. The rules for such trainings are defined by the regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.
According to the regulation the training in occupational safety and health includes:

  • initial training,

  • periodical training.

Initial training includes:



  • basic training – organised for all new-employed and conducted by safety and health specialists, employers or employees appointed by employers,

  • training at the workplace – organised for a particular workplace and conducted by members of managerial staff appointed by the employer,

  • essential training that should provide necessary knowledge and skills for the following groups:

    • employers,

    • managerial staff,

    • blue-collars,

    • technologists and production engineers,

    • occupational safety and health specialists,

    • employees exposed to harmful and dangerous agents,

    • students being in professional training.

Essential training has to be provided during first six months of work. In order to increase and update knowledge and skills all the groups mentioned above should also participate in periodical training:



  • blue-collars - every three years,

  • other groups - every six years.

Framework programmes of the trainings for all the groups have been established by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. Organizers of trainings should provide:



  • compliance of training programmes with the framework programmes and specific requirements of occupational safety and health for particular training groups,

  • highly-qualified lecturers,

  • adequate training conditions and equipment,

  • documenting and registering the issued certificates.

Employers are responsible for the training in occupational safety and health. They can organise and conduct trainings themselves or charge authorised training providers.


In Poland in 2002 there were about 900 educational centres run by national institutions, social organizations and private owners that provide training in occupational safety and health mainly on employers’ orders. As there are no requirements or criteria that have to be met by educational centres, the level of education in some of them is not satisfying.
The OHS training centres can be certified by the Centre for Staff Competence Certification at the Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute that has been established in 2000. The Centre has obtained accreditation of the Polish Centre of Accreditation in accordance with requirements of the standard PN EN - 45013. The activities of the Centre include voluntary certifications of the competence of occupational safety and health staff as well as certifications of training centres. Certification criteria for training centres concern training conditions, lecturers’ and organizers’ competencies, and the level of educational materials, educational methods and monitoring the results.
The expectations of determining precise criteria that have to be satisfied by training centres were met by the regulation on the educational system amended in 2003. This regulation introduces the rule of accreditation for all the units on the market of OHS education. The Accreditation Committee will start working in the beginning of 2004.


  1. The educational activities of Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute


2.1. Introduction
The Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Labour Institute has coordinated and conducted two long – term governmental programs:

  • “Safety and health protection of man in the working environment” and

  • “Adjusting working conditions in Poland to the European Union Standards”.

One of the aims of the projects was to prepare educational programmes and materials and attractive tools for providing education in occupational safety and health.
The educational activities of the Institute are organized and conducted by the Educational Centre.
2.2. Educational materials for universities
Until 2000 the main problem that was pointed out by boards of universities and academies was lack of modern didactic materials concerning occupational safety and health. To solve this problem the Central Institute for Labour Protection in cooperation with university teachers has developed model programmes of education adjusted to the following school profiles: technical studies, human and social studies and medical studies. Educational modules “Knowledge of work – safety, health, and ergonomics” are integral parts of these programs. Each module is an active tool for supporting academic teachers and can be used for self – studying as well. 8 modules including handbooks, exercises and PowerPoint presentations were divided into thematic units and prepared in both printed and multimedia versions.
The materials are available on CD and via Internet. Multimedia version enables to print texts and presentations, to prepare own presentations and to check the knowledge. The materials are accessible for all universities. Multimedia version was introduced to the system supporting distance learning in the Learning Space. Through this system the Institute conducts education on “Ergonomics and occupational safety” for the students of technical universities via Internet.
2.3. Educational materials for schools
In 2003 the activities aiming at development of modern educational materials concerning occupational safety and health and ergonomics for all levels of educational system in Poland have been started by the Institute and the group of teachers representing all kinds of schools. The materials are divided into modules. Such kind of structure enables flexible use and takes into account the abilities of pupils and students of different age. Each module consists of: source material, materials for teachers and students, PowerPoint presentations, films and other didactic materials. For teachers who have classes with the youngest pupils the materials supporting organisation of games aimed at developing safety culture are prepared. These materials will be available in 2004 in the printed version and the multimedia version on CDs and via the Internet.
2.4. The continues OHS training
The Central Institute for Labour has been developed the educational materials supporting training in occupational safety and health in companies according to the framework programmes established in the regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. Materials were prepared in order to provide better equipment for the training centres providing services in occupational safety and health and to support teachers and self – employed lecturers. The materials are also the main tool for education conducted by the Educational Centre. To comply with the regulation, educational modules have been prepared for all kinds of the framework training programmes.
The multimedia version of these materials is designed to conduct different trainings which give general knowledge as well as specialised trainings in occupational safety and health and to enable to prepare didactic materials. In 2003 additional CDs were add to the set of the materials published on CDs with films made in real working environment and supplemented with comments available for teachers. The films help to illustrate lectures, identify hazards at workplaces and conduct occupational risks assessment.
Basic and specialist trainings via Internet are organised each year for a few groups. The programme of these trainings is a combination of e-learning with a classical form of training. The time designed for classical trainings is limited to 30%.
2.5. Post – graduated studies
Basing on its experience in preparing the educational materials the Central Institute for Labour Protection has worked out educational materials for post – graduate studies in occupational safety and health. The program of the post – graduated studies consists of 20 modules composed of 240 hours of lectures, practical exercises and laboratories. During 6 months each student has to pass all the modules and to write final thesis concerning their professional practice. 530 students have graduated from these studies until October 2003, mainly school and university teachers, occupational safety and health specialists, state labour inspectors, the training centres staff and the managers and consultants providing services in occupational safety and health. The increasing number of young graduated people is participating in these studies because they have discovered this area of knowledge and have considered it as important for their professional activity. Post – graduate studies preparing teachers providing education for occupational safety and health specialists and conducting education in occupational safety and health and ergonomics at specific educational stages are of particular importance.
The materials for 20 modules composing the educational programme of studies consist of 22 handbooks, student’s books, teacher’s books and PowerPoint presentations. The materials are also available on the CDs. In 2002 the multimedia version of the materials was prepared to provide education via the Internet. The materials are available on the website of the Institute. They are user-friendly educational tool facilitating learning process. An author’s team consisted of 60 members is responsible for supplementing and updating the materials.
2.5. Modern forms of teaching (including e – learning)
Electronic education in Poland is becoming more and more popular due to increment of technical possibilities and the number of people willing to take advantage of electronic methods. The use of electronic education is expanding especially in universities, big companies and centres conducting trainings for managers.
In many centres including educational ones the work aimed at preparing programmes and materials for e-learning are or are planned to be conducted. The educational market of materials for e-learning is undeveloped in the field of occupational safety and health due to relatively high costs and lack of cooperation between institutions providing education in this field.
The Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute has provided this form of education for three years. Education for post – graduate studies, some training for employers, engineers and technical workers and technical universities is conducted via Internet. Introduction of these forms was preceded by broad experience in developing classical forms of education, mainly connected with post – graduate studies which have been provided by the Institute for 6 years.





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