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Workrooms

A building containing workrooms should meet occupational health and safety requirements. The construction of a building that is to contain workrooms must take into account occupational health and safety requirements and its reconstruction must take into account improvements in these safety conditions.

Basic obligations of employers

A building containing workrooms should meet occupational health and safety requirements.

Employers must:

  • ensure that buildings that are to contain workrooms are constructed or reconstructed on the basis of designs taking into account occupational health and safety requirements;
  • ensure that buildings containing workrooms are constructed and maintained in accordance with the requirements of the Construction Law Act and its implementing acts;
  • provide workrooms appropriate for the type of work performed and the number of workers employed;
  • maintain buildings, workrooms and related areas and equipment in such a way as to ensure safe and healthy working conditions;
  • ensure that buildings are inspected by owners or administrators.

Buildings are inspected:

  • periodically, at least once a year – to check the technical condition of:
  • building elements, structures and installations exposed to adverse weather conditions and harmful factors associated with the use of the buildings;
  • environmental protection installations and equipment;
  • gas installations and flues (smoke, combustion gas and ventilation flues);
  • periodically, at least once every 5 years – to check the technical condition and suitability for use of the buildings, and the aesthetics of the buildings and their surroundings, as well as to check electric and lighting protection installations for the efficiency of connections, equipment, safeguards and protective measures against electric shock, cable insulation resistance and installation and appliance earthing.

The inspections are conducted by persons holding appropriate construction licenses.

Definitions of workrooms

A workroom is a room in which workers are intended to stay and perform work.

A permanent workroom is a workroom in which the same worker stays for more than 4 hours in total during 1 day.

A temporary workroom is a workroom in which the same worker stays for 2 to 4 hours in total during 1 day.

Rooms in which:

  • the same workers stay for less than 2 hours in total during one work shift and the activities carried out are temporary in nature or work involves staying there for short periods to oversee or maintain equipment or keep the rooms clean and orderly,
  • workers cannot stay without personal protective equipment and without a special work organisation regime due to technological processes taking place there,
  • plants or animals are bred, regardless of how long workers handling these processes stay there,

are not regarded as rooms in which workers are intended to stay.

Requirements for workrooms and equipment

Employers must keep workrooms clean and orderly and provide periodic repairs and maintenance to ensure that occupational health and safety requirements are met. Workrooms and equipment should ensure safe and healthy working conditions for workers.

The following basic requirements apply to workrooms:

  • natural and artificial light, appropriate temperature and air change, as well as protection against humidity, adverse thermal conditions, direct sunlight, vibration and other factors harmful to health and nuisance factors must be ensured;
  • if factors harmful to health are present (inter alia, high temperature, noise, vibration, radiation, gases, dust and vapours), technical solutions preventing the spread of these factors to other workrooms and to hygiene and sanitary facilities must be applied;
  • easy-to-clean or easy-to-wash coverings must be ensured to protect walls and ceilings against adsorption and dust in workrooms in which workers are exposed to substances harmful to health or potentially explosive dust;
  • ceilings, roofs and walls of workrooms must be made in accordance with safety requirements if there is a risk of explosion due to the type of work performed or the type of equipment used.

Area and height of workrooms

The area and height of workrooms should meet occupational health and safety requirements, taking into account the type of work performed, the technologies applied and the time spent by workers in the workrooms. For each worker working together with other workers in permanent workrooms, there should be at least 13 m3 of free volume of the room and at least 2 m2 of free floor space (not occupied by technical devices, equipment etc.).

The clear height of a permanent workroom must be at least:

  • 3 m – if factors harmful to health are not present in the workroom;
  • 3.3 m – if factors harmful to health are present in the workroom due to the work performed there.

The height of workrooms may be reduced if they are air-conditioned, subject to the consent of a state provincial sanitary inspector.

The clear height of a permanent workroom in which factors harmful to health are not present may be reduced to:

  • 2.5 m:
  • if no more than four workers work in the workroom and there is at least 15 m3 of free volume of the room for each of them, or
  • in a service room or a production room for small-scale production located in a residential building, if workers are not exposed to dust or substances harmful to health, noise levels do not exceed the permissible levels for residential buildings specified in Polish standards and there is at least 15 m3 of free volume of the room for one worker;
  • 2.2 m – in a guardroom, porter’s lodge, exchange office, street kiosk, train station kiosk and another kiosk as well as in a room located on a mezzanine that opens up to a larger room.

The clear height of a temporary workroom must be at least:

  • 2.2 m – if factors harmful to health are not present in the workroom;
  • 2.5 m – if factors harmful to health are present in the workroom due to the work performed there.

Lighting

Natural daylight must be provided in permanent workrooms, unless this is impossible or inadvisable due to the production technology and the employer has obtained the consent of the competent state provincial sanitary inspector to use electric lighting only, given in consultation with a district labour inspector.

Natural daylight at individual workstations should be appropriate for the type of work performed and required accuracy and should meet the requirements specified in the Polish standard. Regardless of natural daylight, electric lighting with parameters compliant with Polish standards must be provided in workrooms.

Heating and ventilation

A temperature appropriate for the type of work performed (working methods and physical effort needed to perform the work), not lower than 14 °C (287 K), must be ensured in workrooms, unless this is impossible for technological reasons.

In workrooms in which light physical work is performed and in office spaces, the temperature cannot be lower than 18 °C (291 K).

Air change should be provided in workrooms, depending on their uses and function, as well as the heat and humidity balance and solid and gaseous pollutants.

In workrooms in which workers are exposed to substances harmful to health, the air change rate should ensure that the maximum admissible concentrations of these substances are not exceeded. Requirements for air parameters in workrooms are set out in separate provisions and Polish standards.

Air conditioning or ventilation

The air supplied to workrooms from outside through air-conditioning or mechanical ventilation systems should be free of dust and substances harmful to health. Air conditioning or ventilation cannot cause draughts, or overcool or overheat workrooms. This does not apply to emergency ventilation. Air streams from supply ventilation systems should not be aimed directly at workstations.

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