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Health and safety in the work environment

Health and Safety in the Work Environment

Provisions related to worker safety and healthcare

Saudi Labor Law, in its eighth chapter, clarifies the provisions related to workers' safety, protection, and health and social care.

Rights and duties of Worker from a human rights perspective

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Worker has rights and duties that have been taken into account by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) as a legislator and regulator of the labor market, and these rights and duties are consistent with human rights in the Kingdom, which are represented by Human Rights Commission (HRC). The following is an overview of the employee's rights and duties:

The rights and duties of the employee

Duties of Worker

Labor Law defines the most important duties that Worker must abide by, which are:

  •  Adhere to work-related instructions unless they contain anything that violates the provisions of the employment contract, public order or morals, or otherwise exposes them to danger.
  •  Maintain working hours.
  •  Complete the work as required.
  •  Take care of the tools at his/her disposal and maintaining the same, in addition to the property of the facility.
  • Committing to good conduct and behavior, working on the spirit of cooperation between him and his colleagues, obeying his superiors, and being keen on satisfying the clients of the facility within the scope of his competence and within the limits of Labor Law.
  •  Provide assistance in emergencies.
  •  Preserve the technical, industrial and commercial secrets of the facility.
  •  Not to engage in any other work outside the scope of his/her work, whether paid or unpaid.
  •  Not to exploit his/her work in the facility to achieve a personal interest for him/herself or for others at the expense of the facility.
  •  Update his/her data in the facility whenever something new occurs in his/her marital status or place of residence.
  •  Adhere to the instructions, regulations, customs and traditions in force in the country.
  •  Not to use the facility's tools and equipment for private purposes.

Professional Code of Ethics

MHRSD has issued Professional Code of Ethics Guide, to help companies and institutions prepare and formulate principles and rules of professional ethics to create a positive, transparent, fair, competitive work environment free from all kinds of corruption.

This Guide aims to set rules of conduct and professional ethics that help enhance trust between the parties to the labor relationship and create a more attractive work environment that leads to raising professional efficiency and ensuring job security for Worker and the proper functioning of the work. This Guide contains several ethical principles that must be applied by the parties to the labor relationship. Further, this Guide constitutes a reference tool that outlines the basic rules that guide the parties to the labor relationship on how to deal with each other, such as fairness, equality, non-discrimination, public appearance, honesty, honesty, loyalty, non-exploitation of position, work environment, public morals, behavior and the promotion of teamwork.

Performing job duties and tasks in good faith, responsibility, efficiency and professional accuracy, within a reasonable period of time during working hours, being familiar with work laws and policies, following and implementing goals without any neglect, and constantly striving to improve and develop performance and professional capabilities, and keenness to devote official times to carrying out job tasks and not doing any other activities. Worker may not, without the written consent of Employer, delegate other colleagues to perform his/her job duties and tasks. Worker shall refrain from any acts that violate public morals and good behavior or any behavior or practices that are inconsistent with Islamic teachings, and not offend or incite against the religious beliefs of others inside and outside the workplace.

Worker must cooperate and facilitate the investigation and inspection procedures carried out by the competent agencies in accordance with Labor Laws, maintain technical, commercial and industrial secrets of the materials he produces or that he directly or indirectly contributed to producing, in addition to all professional secrets related to the work or facility, the disclosure of which would harm the interest of Employer, take adequate care for the machinery, tools, supplies and raw materials owned by Employer placed at his disposal or in his custody, and to return to Employer the non-consumable materials.

Treating workers fairly and equitably without any discrimination, following the principle of equality in an impartial manner regardless of the race, color or religion of any Worker, evaluating Worker in everything related to his/her career path on the basis of merit, competitive merit and equal opportunities, working on developing his/her capabilities and providing appropriate training opportunities to improve his/her path; In addition, giving opportunities for discussion and debate, freedom of opinion and expression within the framework of work, ensuring his/her right to complain about any wrong decision taken against him/her, encouraging his/her spirit of initiative and innovation, providing an environment that stimulates innovation, rewarding outstanding workers in a manner commensurate with their innovations and work, developing their capabilities and helping them to improve the performance.

Employer may not, without Worker's permission, exploit any personal information, sources or resources of Worker.

  • Transparency

Creating a suitable climate for the success of any facility to enable Employees to ask questions, reveal the things on their minds, and express their opinions without fear of punishment, which leads to finding better ways of working mechanisms, solving problems and saving money.

  • Listening

Creating channels of communication between Worker and Employer to create a sound work environment that makes the participation of the parties to the labor relationship positive for both parties.

  • Sharing, Teamwork, and Collaboration

Working in a team spirit, which leads to the success of the work entrusted to team members, and Worker sharing of his/her experiences and knowledge with his/her other colleagues has a great impact in spreading knowledge and developing their skills, which leads them to make the right decisions and this leads to upgrading skills and increasing efficiency through long-term learning and training.

  • Disclosure & Reporting

Employer shall facilitate the means of disclosing and reporting any violations or important information, whether positive or negative, while ensuring that Worker is not harmed by the same.

While adhering to the requirements of his/her job duties of honoring and respecting the superiors, Worker shall, in the interest of the work, report any irregularities he/she discovers, in accordance with the applicable policies.

  • Conflict of interest

Worker shall avoid any actual or potential conflict of interest suspected by him/her and Worker shall not carry out any of the acts that may benefit him/her personally unless this is directed by Employer. Worker shall not also participate in any process or decision in a way in which he obtains a benefit from the same, and Worker shall notify Employer in writing and promptly in the event of any conflict of interest.

  • Public Behavior and Morals

The relationship between workers must be based on morals, mutual respect, and the preservation of the customs and traditions of the Saudi society and Islamic teachings. A proper appearance and attention to general hygiene must be maintained. Female Worker must adhere to the Islamic hijab throughout the work period.

  • Bribery

Workers must be alerted to the offense of taking bribery and violating the regulations, and to abide by Employer’s policies when completing the work without delay or reluctance, and not to engage in any conversations or understandings with customers that may obtain work illegally or in return for an illegal payment of money.

  • Gifts

Giving and accepting gifts is legitimate, but the nature of the relationship between the workers themselves and between them and the clients necessarily require restricting this matter within the limits permitted by the employer’s policy or preventing it among the work community. This affects relationships, which may lead to accusations of obtaining personal benefit at the expense of work.

It is not permissible to accept gifts or donations from suspicious entities or persons who have a bad reputation, or it is suspected that they are involved in or engaging in acts that violate honor and integrity. Dealing with any party or person found guilty of issues affecting integrity or honor shall be stopped. Gifts that negatively affect the interests of the employer, its activity, and the services provided may not be accepted.

  • Collection of Donations

Saudi Laws permit the licensed authorities to collect donations. Consequently, collection of donations spontaneously between workers may expose them to legal accountability, which may result in penalties.

Protection Against Occupational Hazards and Accidents

  • An employer shall maintain the firm in a clean and hygienic condition. The employer shall provide lighting, supply potable and washing water and comply with other rules, measures and standards of occupational protection, health and safety in accordance with the Minister’s decision.
  • An employer shall take the necessary precautions to protect the workers against hazards, occupational diseases, the machinery in use, and shall ensure work safety and protection. The employer shall post in a prominent place in the firm the instructions related to work and workers safety in Arabic and, when necessary, in any other language that the workers understand. The employer may not charge the workers or deduct from their wages any amounts for the provision of such protection.
  • An employer shall inform the worker, prior to engaging in the work, of his job hazards and shall require him to use the prescribed protective equipment. The employer shall supply the workers with the appropriate personal gear and train them on their use.
  • A worker shall use and preserve the personal protective equipment designated for each process and shall carry out the instructions established to protect his health against injuries and diseases. He shall refrain from any action or omission that may lead to failure to implement the instructions, misuse or impair the devices provided to protect the workplace as well as the health and safety of fellow workers.
  • An employer shall take necessary precautions for protection against fire and provide the technical means to combat it, including safety exits which shall be maintained in working condition at all times. He shall post in a prominent location in the workplace detailed instructions for fire prevention devices.
  • An employer shall be responsible for emergencies and accidents which may affect persons, other than his workers, who enter the workplaces by virtue of their official duties or with the approval of the employer or his agents, if such emergencies and accidents are due to negligence in taking the technical precautions required by the nature of his work, and the employer shall compensate them for damage and harm sustained in accordance with the general laws.

Work Injuries

  • If a worker sustains a work injury or an occupational disease, the employer shall be required to treat him and assume directly or indirectly all necessary expenses, including hospitalization, medical examinations and tests, radiology, prosthetic devices and transportation expenses to treatment centers.
  • An injury shall be deemed a work injury in accordance with the provisions of the Social Insurance Law. Occupational diseases shall also be considered work injuries and the date of the first medical diagnosis of the disease shall be treated tantamount to the date of injury.
  • Any relapse or complication arising from an injury shall be deemed an injury and shall be treated as such in terms of aid and treatment.
  • Occupational diseases shall be determined in accordance with the Occupational Diseases Schedule provided for in the Social Insurance Law. Degree of total or partial disability shall be determined according to the Disability Percentage Guide provided for in the said Law.
  • In case of temporary disability arising from work injury, the injured party shall be entitled to financial aid equal to his full wage for thirty days, then (75%) of the wage for the entire duration of his treatment.  If one year elapses or it is medically determined that the injured party’s chances of recovery are improbable or that he is not physically fit to work, his injury shall be deemed total disability. The contract shall be terminated and the worker shall be compensated for the injury. The employer may not recover the payments made to the injured worker during that year.
  • If an injury results in a permanent total disability or death of the injured person, the injured person or his eligible beneficiaries shall be entitled to a compensation equal to his wages for three years, with a minimum of fifty four thousand riyals. If the injury results in a permanent partial disability, the injured person shall be entitled to a compensation equal to the percentage of the estimated disability in accordance with the approved Disability Percentage Guide Schedule multiplied by the amount of compensation for the permanent total disability.
  • An employer may not be required to comply with the provisions of Articles (133), (137) and (138) of the Labor Law if any of the following is established:
  1. If a worker deliberately injures himself.
  2. If an injury is caused by intentional misconduct on the part of the worker.
  3. If a worker refuses to be examined by a physician or refuses to accept treatment by the employer-designated physician without a valid reason.
  • Liability of previous employers of a worker suffering from an occupational disease shall be determined in light of the medical report of the attending physician. Previous employers shall be required to pay the compensation provided for in Article (138) of this Law, each in proportion to the period such worker has spent in his service, provided that the industries or occupations they engage in cause the disease the worker suffers from.Procedures for reporting work injuries shall be determined pursuant to a decision by the Minister.

Labor Medical and Social Services

An employer shall make available one or more medical aid cabinets, supplied with drugs and other necessities required for first aid. The Regulations shall specify the contents of such cabinets of first aid means, numbers of such means and quantities of drugs and shall also regulate the method of keeping them and the conditions and requirements to be satisfied by first aid provider.

  • An employer shall assign one or more physicians to provide, at least once a year, a comprehensive medical examination for his workers who are exposed to any of the occupational diseases listed in the Schedules of Occupational Diseases provided for in the Social Insurance Law. The findings of the examination shall be kept in the employer’s records and the workers’ files.
  • An employer shall provide his workers with preventive and therapeutic health care in accordance with the standards set forth by the Minister, while taking into consideration whatever is provided for by the Cooperative Health Insurance Law.
  • An employer may, subject to the Minister’s approval, set up a saving fund provided that the workers’ contribution is optional. The provisions regulating the operations of such funds shall be made public.
  • An employer shall provide at his own expense all or some of the following, as may be determined by the Minister, to those who work in remote locations:
  1. Stores for selling food, clothing and other necessities at moderate prices in places where such stores are not available.
  2. Suitable recreational and educational services and sports facilities annexed to the workplaces.
  3. Necessary medical arrangements to protect the workers’ health and provide comprehensive treatment for their families. (Family shall mean spouse, children and parents residing with the worker).
  4. Schools for the workers’ children in the absence of sufficient schools in the area.
  5. Mosques or prayer areas at the workplaces.
  6. Literacy programs for the workers.

The Regulations shall specify the remote locations.

  • An employer operating in remote locations, mines, quarries and oil exploration centers shall provide his workers with accommodation, camps and meals. The Minister shall determine, pursuant to his decision, conditions and specifications of the accommodations and camps as well as charges for the accommodations, number of meals, quantities and kinds of food and related conditions, cost of meals to the worker and any other requirements for the workers’ health.
  • An employer shall provide means for transporting his workers from their place of residence or from a certain gathering point to places of work and bring them back daily, if places of work are not served by regular means of transportation at times compatible with the working hours.

General Department of Work Environment Development

The Department will develop laws, regulations, practices and regulatory procedures for occupational health and safety, raise the awareness, and prepare studies and reports, in addition to supervision and follow up of the application of laws, regulations and procedures to create an attractive work environment in private sector establishments.

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Regulations and Procedures

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