This Decree re-organises and updates all provisions relating to health and safety at work and has introduced novelties and new obligations for employers. These apply to all kinds of activities and risks, as well as to all workers, employees or self-employed, and to whoever carries out his activity in the employer's organisation.

It is now possible for the competent surveillance bodies to suspend a Company's working activity whenever: (i) a certain number of people are employed illegally by the Company; (ii) repeated violations of provisions on working hours are committed; and (iii) repeated violations of provisions regarding health and safety at work are committed.

Several obligations are provided for the employer, aside from the evaluation of all risks present in the workplace and the elaboration of a Risk Evaluation Document and the appointment of a person responsible for the prevention and protection service. The employer cannot delegate these functions. The employer must additionally carry out other activities to comply with provisions regarding the health and safety of the employees, as well as their learning and training.

The employer can delegate these functions to one or more employees (possibly executives). According to the Decree, the relevant proxy must have certain characteristics. In particular: (i) they must have a fixed date; (ii) the person delegated must have a certain level of professionalism and experience; (iii) the person delegated must have decisional and spending powers requested for carrying out all of the delegated functions; and (iv) the proxy must be accepted in writing.

Important novelties concern the provisions on outsourced activities: the principal has now to evaluate all the risks that may arise from the interference of the activities of the principal itself and of the contractor, and the relevant document must be attached to the contract. Furthermore, starting from 31 December 2008, the contract related to the outsourced activities must include the costs related to the safety at work, otherwise the contract will be null and void.

Additionally from 16 May 2009, the Risk Evaluation Document must a have fixed date and also contain an evaluation of the stress-related risks. This evaluation may concern possible psychological issues that may arise from inadequate organisation, from high pace of work and from incompatibilities. Also, medical examinations preceding the appointment are forbidden.

Finally, due to come into force on 16 August 2009, there will be an obligation for employers to communicate the appointment of the Workers' Representative for the safety at work matters to the National Institute for Insurance Against Industrial Injuries.

It should be noted that penalties have been rendered more severe and whoever has actually carried out the functions of the employer, even without a formal proxy, will be punished. Furthermore, the violations of the provisions on safety at work may bring consequences for the employer and the company, as provided by Legislative Decree no. 231/2001 on administrative liability of companies.