Act No. 250/2021 Coll. on occupational safety in connection with the operation of designated technical equipment and on amendments to related acts (hereinafter the “Act”) was published in the Collection of Laws on 30 June 2021, replacing the existing legislation on occupational safety in connection with the operation of designated technical equipment.
The Act will enter into force on 1 July 2022 and in particular repeals Act No. 174/1968 Coll. on state professional supervision of occupational safety.
The detailed and precise content of the obligations arising from the Act is set out in the related implementing regulations that are being prepared for the Act.
The Act deals in particular with the requirements for the safe operation of designated technical equipment and occupational health protection during the use of such equipment and also amends the wording of some current legislation, including Act No. 219/1999 Coll. on the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, Act No. 251/2005 Coll. on Labour Inspection and Act No. 309/2006 Coll. on ensuring other OHS conditions.
In this article we will deal in particular with designated technical equipment and the obligations arising from the law for the operators of such equipment.
Designated technical equipment
The Act defines designated technical equipment as pressure, lifting, electrical or gas equipment which, in operation, by its nature or accumulated energy, as a result of improper use, the occurrence of operational risks causing dangerous situations or failure to comply with the conditions of safe operation, pose a serious risk to the life, health and safety of natural persons. The explanatory memorandum to the Act describes designated technical equipment as a set of functionally interconnected or functionally linked structural elements, devices, mechanisms, drives, control and power circuits, etc., which, in operation dependent on an energy source (excluding human power), perform certain predefined activities or serve to transport energy, liquid or gaseous media, products or persons.
Designated technical equipment is classified by law into classes, groups and subgroups according to the degree of risk they cause by their operation. Designated technical equipment with the highest level of risk is classified as Class I and must be subjected to specified inspections, tests and revisions to verify its condition. Designated gas equipment is classified into groups according to its basic technological function.
Rules for professional competence
The Act establishes rules for the professional competence of legal entities and natural persons to install, repair, revise, test designated technical equipment and to fill gas containers.
Persons wishing to carry out installation, repairs, inspections, tests of designated technical equipment and the filling of gas containers will first have to apply for authorisation for these activities to the authorised organisation and to attach to the application all documents to establish whether the applicant is professionally competent for the required range of activities on designated technical equipment.
The conditions for the issuance of authorization for the above activities include:
- designation of a responsible professional person who will meet the requirements of professional competence and will be responsible for the proper performance of the activities,
- ensuring that the installation, repair, inspection, testing of designated technical equipment and the filling of gas containers is carried out by a competent person; and
- have at its disposal the necessary technical equipment for the installation, repair, inspection and testing of designated technical equipment and for the filling of gas containers.
The Act sets out in detail the conditions for the professional competence of natural persons to work on designated technical equipment, which include, for example, medical fitness, professional education, professional experience and a certificate of professional competence.
At the same time, responsible professionals and operators of designated technical equipment must always act in accordance with legal and other regulations to ensure OHS so that designated technical equipment does not become a cause of danger to life and health of persons, property or the environment.
Specific competence requirements are also intended for persons operating and working on de-energised electrical equipment, near energised electrical equipment and on energised electrical equipment.
The law divides persons for the performance of these activities and works into three groups:
- knowledgeable persons (persons for independent activity, persons for activity management and revision technicians),
- instructed persons, and
- trained (familiar) persons who are neither knowledgeable nor instructed and are trained within the meaning of the Labour Code. Specific competence requirements are laid down by law for knowledgeable and instructed persons.
If the applicant for the authorisation fulfils all the above and other statutory conditions for the issue of the authorisation, the authorised organisation will issue the authorisation with a validity of 10 years from the date of entry into force of the decision to issue the authorisation.
Obligations of operators of designated technical equipment
Owners and operators of designated technical equipment are obliged to carry out regular inspections and checks of designated technical equipment at regular intervals, which are specified in more detail in other legal requirements and standards. In particular, the operator is obliged to ensure that the designated technical equipment is used only when a condition endangering the safety of work and operation is excluded.
The following is considered to be a condition threatening the safety of work and operation of designated technical equipment:
- operation of a designated technical equipment for which a report on the inspection carried out within the specified time limits and scope is not documented, or where the consent issued by the authorised organisation that the equipment in question is capable of safe operation is not documented in the specified cases,
- operation of the designated technical equipment in contravention of the accompanying or operating documentation; and
- where the accompanying documentation or operating documentation for the designated technical equipment, if issued, is missing.
According to the Act, the accompanying documentation means a set of documents supplied by the manufacturer or supplier of the designated technical equipment, in the Czech language, which must be available throughout the operation of the equipment.
Operational documentation is a set of documents containing records of inspections, tests and revisions and other specific documents arising from the operation of the designated technical equipment in the scope required by legal and other regulations to ensure occupational safety and health.
Recommended steps and preparation before the law comes into force
Before the law comes into force, all operators of designated technical equipment should take the following steps:
- prepare a passport of the designated technical equipment, a schedule of revisions and a maintenance plan,
- review and complete the accompanying and operational documentation; and
- have an inventory of the designated technical equipment in operation, indicating which equipment is involved, where it is installed, when and by whom it was last inspected, deadlines for subsequent inspections and a plan for ensuring regular maintenance.
We can recommend that the necessary data on designated technical equipment be processed in a digitised form for greater clarity, for example using one of the available systems designed for this purpose.
The Act introduces many changes in the field of occupational safety in connection with the operation of designated technical equipment and in particular introduces obligations for operators of designated technical equipment. It will come into force, as mentioned above, on 1 July 2022, but in some cases the earlier regulation will still apply after that date.
The exact form of all the new obligations will not be known until the law’s implementing regulations are issued; however, given the extent of the changes and the impending effectiveness of the law, we recommend that you start preparing for the new legislation as soon as possible.
If you have any questions regarding this issue or the current legislation, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Mgr. Jakub Málek, partner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kateřina Roučková, legal assistant – email@example.com