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A new resolution requiring companies in certain industries to appoint full-time Saudi Health and Safety Officers (“HSO”) has been issued by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Labour and Social Development (“MLSD”). The resolution also creates an obligation in respect of the Saudization of the full time position(s).
This new resolution, No. 76509, aims to regulate the management of health and safety in the workplace and follows a new Saudi Labour Law which was issued in 2015, subsequently followed by the health and safety management regulation of 1st of July 2018, which set out reasonably practicable requirements and measures that employers are obligated to implement in their day to day operations in order to ensure the safety of employees.
MLSD’s resolution is accompanied by a comprehensive binding manual (the “Manual”), outlining employers’ obligations, HSO qualifications, and percentages of HSOs required.
Employers are categorised under the new law into distinct groups based on their economic activity. Companies carrying out economic activities in the following industries must appoint at least 2% of their workforce as HSOs;
Any other industries not above mentioned should ensure 1% of their workforce are appointed as HSOs.
The Manual includes a list of the required qualification of HSOs which is either a Masters or Ph.D, bachelor, or diploma in occupational health and safety from a local or internationally approved entity, in addition to having ten years health and safety experience. HSOs’ qualification must be approved and registered with MLSD and the General Organization for Social Insurance respectively. Furthermore, employers are obligated to divide the number of HSOs within their business both as professionals and specialised occupational health and safety practitioners. Professionally qualified and accredited persons must hold between (30% – 40%) of all HSOs positions.
The Kingdom’s legal and regulatory landscape is developing swiftly, as a result of a number of government initiatives and national strategic plans. It is important for businesses to navigate the regulatory landscape carefully in order to manage risk and ensure compliance with local laws. Fines could be issued of up to 25,000 SAR for failing to comply with the MLSD obligations.
As the largest law firm in Saudi Arabia and in the MENA region, Al Tamimi & Company has lawyers on the ground who can help you understand the requirements of regulations in the Kingdom and guide your company on compliance with them.
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