First aid and fire prevention: clarity on the role of the entrepreneur

The National Labor Inspectorate (INL) provides operational indications on the correct application of the provision referred to in art. 34 of Legislative Decree 81/2001 , concerning the direct execution by the employer of the tasks relating to safety and first aid , including evacuation during emergency situations. Andrea Sterli , lawyer and speaker of Centro Studi Castelli , a business, tax and administrative consultancy company, intervenes to clarify the picture . 

The art. 20, c. 1, lett. g) Legislative Decree 151/2015 has modified the art. 34 of Legislative Decree 81.2008 and, in particular, abrogated the c. 1-bis (introduced by Legislative Decree 106/2009) which allowed the employer to carry out first aid tasks , as well as fire and evacuation prevention, only in companies or production units employing up to 5 workers . 

With the circular n. 1/2018 , the INL decided to provide some operative indications for the correct application of the aforementioned art. 34. In particular, the INL has specified that the faculty, now extended to the employer also employing over 5 employees , to take over the first aid tasksfire prevention and evacuation (with the exclusion of the companies in any case considered to be at risk pursuant to Article 31, paragraph 6), does not mean that the employer can perform these tasks alone, or that he is exempted from specific obligations envisaged (always by the employer) by art. 18 of the same legislative decree. 

Specifically, attention was drawn to a couple of passages of art. 18, which states that the employer has the obligation to “designate the workers in charge of the implementation of fire prevention and fire fighting measures , of evacuation of the workplace in case of serious and immediate danger, rescue, first aid and, in any case, emergency management“(Article 18, paragraph 1, letter b), and has the obligation to” take the necessary measures for the purposes of fire prevention and evacuation of workplaces, as well as measures for the case of serious and immediate danger “ . These measures must be appropriate to the nature of the activity , the size of the company or production unit and the number of people present “(Article 18, paragraph 1, letter t). A reference is made to art. 42, c. 2, according to which ” for the purposes of the designations referred to in art. 18, c. 1, lett. b), the employer takes into account the size of the company and the specific risks of the company or production unit “(Article 43, paragraph 2).

In light of the regulatory framework, the fact that the employer, after adequate training, can carry out the activities described above, does not imply that he can operate in total autonomy in the performance of these tasks: the employer, in fact, must use the workers in charge of the implementation of the aforementioned measures , which must be designated in an adequate and sufficient number, in compliance with the provisions of art. 43, c. 2 Legislative Decree 81/2008. 

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