Health and Safety in the workplace: H&S within a company

Why was Legislative Decree 81/2008 introduced?

The Consolidated Law on Health and Safety in the Workplace (also referred to using the Italian Acronyms T.U. or d.lgs. 81/2008) provides a clear framework for safety in the workplace, making it possible to implement effective prevention and protection measures at all levels and across all sectors, establishing a comprehensive safety management system.

Its aims are:
• to standardise and merge all previous legislation into a single text on health and safety in the workplace in order to give companies a clearer overall picture;
• to identify a safety management system that improves health and safety in the workplace by means of procedures and protocols.

All actions that are implemented in the name of workplace health and safety must work towards the ultimate target of a zero-accident rate.

D.lgs. 81/2008: the introduction of a systemic approach

Legislative Decree 81/2008 transformed the field with the adoption of a systemic approach to managing health and safety in the workplace.
The approach to safety at work has evolved: from a strategy based on protection in the 1950s to a strategy based on prevention in the 1990s, leading to the systemic approach that was achieved in 2008. Now, thanks to the structure provided by the safety organisation chart, the whole company contributes to maintaining the levels of prevention identified in the Risk Assessment Document (“DVR”), a document which reaches far beyond compliance with regulatory obligations, it provides is an effective tool enabling genuine management of the workplace health and safety system. This is coupled with procedures and targets that are tailored to the specific requirements of each company.

Key points for the application of d.lgs. 81/2008 within companies

For the legislation to be correctly applied, the following steps need to be taken:
Define roles
• The Employer
• any Delegate(s) to whom the Employer transfers certain duties
• any Sub-delegate(s)
• The Safety Manager
• The Safety Supervisor
• The Head of the Prevention and Protection Service (“RSPP”)
• The Workers’ Safety Representative (“RLS”)
• The Occupational Physician
• The Workers
Specify the duties and responsibilities for each role
Increase awareness through training. The concept of prevention introduced by the former Italian Legislative Decree, n. 626, becomes more prominent. Continuous training is envisaged: workers are no longer treated as passive individuals to be protected, they become actors who are informed, involved and aware; they have an obligation to protect themselves and those who work with them.
Establish a safety management system, which is implemented through the Risk Assessment Document (“DVR”).


The ultimate goal of consultancy is brand protection. It is crucial to be able to distinguish which requirements are mandatory, knowing how to interpret applicable legislation correctly and keeping focus sharp on those aspects that we know are critical. This is how we facilitate companies in fulfilling their commitments, ensuring effective implementation of the legal requirements.
Over 15 years of market presence have allowed PLS to acquire a unique level of sensitivity, working in synergy with each individual client to identify their goals and desired results, as well as how to achieve these targets in the most efficient, simple, correct, appropriate and rapid way.
Right from the start, PLS put emphasis on an approach that brings together both technical and legal expertise, whatever the specific assignment, across all areas of its activity. This vocation has given rise to a multidisciplinary approach to consultancy. The professional profiles that make up the PLS team include both technical and legal experts, they have specific skills, certifications and experience in the compliance sector, ensuring we provide a consultancy service of the highest possible calibre.

The Head of the Prevention and Protection Service (the “RSPP”)

This figure is a qualified professional in the field of workplace health and safety and the role is explicitly envisaged in Legislative Decree 81/2008. The “RSPP” has specific technical expertise which is indispensable to the employer in order to carry out a correct assessment of the safety risks across the company and, accordingly, to implement an appropriate management system.
The role can be covered directly by the employer, by someone internal to the company or by an external consultant, provided they have the appropriate qualifications and professional certifications.
Main duties:
• Attending periodic meetings
• Putting together the Prevention and Protection Service
• Actively collaborating in drawing up the risk assessment document “DVR”
• Fostering the development of a proper safety management system
• Scheduling training activities

Workers Assigned to the Prevention and Protection Service (the “ASPP”)

This role is also specifically envisaged in Legislative Decree 81/2008, the ASPP is a qualified person who implements the technical evaluations and decisions formulated by the RSPP, including the supervisory activities that the head of the service must develop and implement.
The ASPP must also have appropriate qualifications and professional certifications; this role cannot be taken on by the employer.
Main duties:
• Attending periodic meetings
• Participating in workplace inspections
• Facilitating communication between the various roles which together make up the safety organisation chart (employer, delegates, managers, supervisors, workers)

The Occupational Physician

A qualified doctor specialised in occupational medicine, responsible for developing the company’s health plan and for monitoring all workers in relation to their exposure to the risks associated with their specific duties.
Several occupational physicians may be appointed in complex company structures, with the support of a coordinator.
Main duties
• Drawing up the health plan
• Carrying out the general and specific medical examinations on workers
• Guaranteeing an inspection of the workplace at least once a year
• Attending periodic meetings
• A member of the Prevention and Protection Service

The Risk Assessment Document (referred to as the “DVR”):

The implementation of an efficient workplace safety management system cannot be achieved without a Risk Assessment Document that has been correctly drawn up.
The DVR at a glance
What is the DVR? It is the core document of the occupational safety management system pursuant to Legislative Decree 81/2008; it contains the assessment of all risks and the measures that need to be implemented in order to minimise them.
Minimum content
• Process assessment: a description of the company, its activities and the homogeneous tasks
• Risk assessment: the identification and assessment of all risks
• Risk management: the identification of a correct safety organisation chart, indicating the prevention and protection measures, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for specific tasks and the necessary information and training activities in view of prevention
• Auditing and improvement: the definition of monitoring and control measures and of an improvement plan

Who is responsible for drawing up this document? The Employer.
Legal framework: d.lgs. 81/2008, article 17 and articles 28-30.
The aim of the DVR is to take an accurate picture of the company, assessing the risks present, identifying the prevention and protection measures and applying them, while also establishing an improvement plan that will ensure the company strengthens its safety management system. Drafting a DVR does not entail simply filling in a form, great care must be taken. Over 10 years of experience have provided PLS consultants with the knowledge they require to understand the applicable legislation and to go beyond this, interpreting legislative intent. Drawing up the DVR therefore becomes an opportunity for the company to reflect on its organisation, tasks and procedures: this is the first step on the path to continuous improvement.

The single document assessing risks deriving from interference (referred to as the “DUVRI”):

Article 26 of Legislative Decree 81/2008 envisages, in most cases, the preparation of a document in the event a contract is signed for the provision of works, supplies or services, the aim being to assess the risks deriving from any interference between the operations of the contracting employer’s workers and those of the contractor.
More details on the “DUVRI”:
• What is a “Duvri”? It is a document drawn up by the contracting employer and the contractor, the purpose of which is to assess risks deriving from interference between their work activities. It identifies and evaluates the risks that may be generated by the presence of workers from different companies who carry out their activities at the same time and in the same place, it then identifies measures to eliminate or reduce these risks to a minimum. The document is the responsibility of the contracting employer, who informs the contractor of the risks present in the company and, in turn, the contractor assesses the risks inherent in the activities to be carried out on the employer’s premises.
• Minimum content of the DUVRI: d.lgs. 81/2008 does not provide specific indications detailing what needs to be included in the document
• Who is responsible for preparing it? The contracting employer
• Legal framework: d.lgs. 81/2008, article 26
• “DUVRI” or “PSC”: these two documents are often confused. A “PSC” is a “Safety and Coordination Plan” and it regulates the management of interference within construction sites (see Article 88 Title IV of d.lgs 81/2008) while the “DUVRI” manages interference outside the scope of Title IV, where there is a procurement or works contract
• DUVRI and DVR: the risk assessment document is the main document which oversees the management of workplace safety in the company. The “DUVRI” assesses and manages risks caused by interference with contracted activities carried out within the company

Thanks to the DUVRI, any activities that may interfere with aspects of other operations, thus generating situations that need to be managed, are identified in advance, making it possible to organise, plan and manage them in full compliance with the relative legislation. This document represents an opportunity to foresee all possible scenarios associated with contracted activities and adopt the correct management measures as a consequence.

Assessment of Specific Risks:

On the basis of the production processes, once certain specific risks present within the company or unit have been analysed, it is necessary to carry out more detailed assessments by means of diagnostic testing or by applying accredited methodologies to ensure a thorough evaluation.
This is a list of the main specific risk assessments that PLS can carry out anywhere in the country, either directly or through its partners:

• The work environment (circulation spaces and flows, lighting …)
• Work-related stress
• Microclimate: moderate and severe environments
• Equipment: machinery compliance (Annex V) and the Machinery Directive
• Manual Handling of Loads, upper limb biomechanical overload (UL-BO) Pulling-Pushing
• Noise
• Vibrations: hand-arm and whole body
• Electromagnetic fields
• Artificial optic radiation
• Chemical agents
• Surveys of the work environment
• Biological agents
• Carcinogens
• Radon
• Atex