Occupational Health and Safety at Work in the Balkans

For more than 10 years I have been working on improving the level of safety and health at work in North Macedonia and the Balkans.

The inspiration is to create in this small but beautiful Balkan country North Macedonia, in an area that was an unknown term 10 years ago, a profession that had no value and understanding of the meaning of safety and health at work. In the world of safety and health at work, I went by accident without expectations, now it is my first and greatest love, a profession that is creative, dynamic and above all responsible, a profession in which I find myself daily. Caring for the safety and health of a large number of employees is not easy, some will deny you, some will boycott you, while others will be grateful for everything you do for them, for every conversation about the dangers, the harms and the measures you predicted.

Every working day without injury, for us who work in the area of safety and health at work means victory, means success and desire to be better every working day. Working in this area of the Balkans is primarily a challenge, an explanation for the employees, and to the superiors that occupational safety must be in the first place without compromises. Every day we face with disrespect of the safety and health measures at work, violation of legislation, most often because of the awareness of safety and health at work, at all hierarchical level in an organization. Balkan awareness is very small with exceptions to certain companies investing in better and secure jobs for their employees, investing in education and knowledge that results in the vision of employees for safety and health at work.

The Law on Safety at Work in North Macedonia was adopted in 2007, there have been 16 years since the first implementation of the legislation, but many of the companies still see the legislative obligations as an unnecessary expense, not something that will protect their employees and bring success in company operations.  The specific law that regulates occupational safety and health is the Law on Safety and Health at Work, and was adopted in the Republic of Serbia in November 2005. In all Balkan countries there are legal regulations that are not understandable and fully applicable to employers and employees. What we need to work on is new legal solutions applicable and understandable to all.


Gorjan Zivchevski (Manager for H&S at Replek /Member of management board of Association of Safety Engineers TUTELA, Skopje)