Translation of extracts from Italian Law 626

Art. 4 - Obligations of employers, managers and heads of departments

1. Taking into account the nature of the company's activity and/or that of the production unit concerned, the employer shall assess the hazards for the health and safety of the workers, including those for groups of workers exposed to particular risks, in choosing the working equipment and the substances or chemical preparations to be utilized, as well as in the layout of the places of work.

Art. 51 - Definitions

1. For the purposes of the present document, the following meanings are intended: a) computer screen: an alphanumerical or graphic screen, independent of the type of visualization procedure utilized; b) workstation: set-up including the equipment having a computer screen, with or without keyboard or other data entry system, or software for the interface between operator and machine, optional accessories, auxiliary equipment, including disk drive, telephone, modem, printer, support for documents, chair, working surface and working environment in the immediate vicinity; c) worker: the worker who utilizes a piece of equipment having a computer screen, regularly or habitually, for twenty hours per week, minus the interruptions specified in Article 54.

Art. 52 - Employer's obligations

1. In evaluating the risk mentioned in Art. 4, par. 1, the employer shall analyse workstations paying particular attention to the following: a) risks to sight and eyes; b) problems linked to posture and physical or mental fatigue; c) ergonomics and environmental hygiene.

2. The employer shall adopt appropriate measures in order to eliminate the risks identified on the basis of the evaluation specified in par. 1, taking into account the sum, i.e. the combined incidence, of the risks identified.

Art. 56 - Information and training

1. The employer shall provide workers with information regarding the following aspects in particular: a) measures applicable to the workstation, on the basis of the analysis of the same as specified in Art. 52; b) method of carrying out the job; c) protection of eyes and sight.

2. The employer shall insure that workers receive adequate training, particularly with regard to the aspects specified in par. 1.

3. The Minister of Labor and Welfare, by agreement with the Minister of Health, shall issue a decree establishing a guide for the use of computer screens.

Art. 58 - Conformity to legislation

1. Workstations, as defined in Article 51, par. 1, letter c), shall conform to the minimum requirements laid down in Appendix VII.

Appendix VII Minimum requirements

Preliminary observation

The obligations laid down in this appendix shall be applied in order to attain the objectives specified in document VI, providing that the features of the workplace so allow and that they do not contrast with the needs or intrinsic characteristics of the job.

1. Equipment

a) General observation
The use of equipment shall not in itself be a source of risk to workers.

b) Screen
The characters on the screen shall be well defined with a clear shape, and shall be of adequate size; there shall be adequate space between characters and lines. The image on the screen shall be stable, without fluttering or any other form of instability. It shall be easy for the user of the screen to adjust the brilliance and/or contrast between the characters and the background of the screen, and easy to adjust it to the environmental conditions. It shall be possible to twist and tilt the screen freely and easily in order to adapt it according to the user's needs. A separate support or adjustable plane may be used for the screen. The screen shall not have reflections or reverberations that could disturb the user.

c) Keyboard
The keyboard shall be tiltable and separate from the screen in order to allow the worker to adopt a comfortable position that does not provoke fatigue of the arms or hands. The space in front of the keyboard must be sufficient to allow the user to rest his/her hands and arms. The keyboard must have an opaque surface in order to prevent reflections. The arrangement of the keyboard and the characteristics of the keys must be such as to facilitate their use. The symbols on the keys shall contrast sufficiently to be easily read from a normal working position.

d) Working surface
The working surface shall have a non-reflecting finish and be of adequate size to allow flexible arrangement of the screen, keyboard, documents and accessories. The support for documents shall be stable and adjustable and shall be placed in such a way as to reduce to a minimum uncomfortable movements of the head and eyes. There shall be sufficient room for workers to be able to adopt a comfortable position.

e) Chair
The chair for working shall be stable and shall allow the user some freedom of movement and a comfortable position. The chair shall be adjustable with regard to height. The back shall be adjustable as to height and angle. A footrest shall be provided for those who so wish.

2. Environment

a) Space
The workstation shall be of a good size and set up so as to give sufficient room to allow changes of position and movements during operation.

b) Lighting
Both general lighting and specific lighting (work lamp) shall ensure adequate illumination and a suitable contrast between the screen and the environment, bearing in mind the characteristics of the job and the user's visual needs. Disturbing glare and reflections on the screen or other equipment must be avoided by arranging the furniture of the work area and workstation in accordance with the location of the sources of artificial light and their technical characteristics.

c) Reflections and glare
Workstations shall be arranged so that sources of light such as windows and other openings, transparent or translucid walls and light-colored equipment or walls do not produce reflections on the screen. Windows shall be fitted with suitable adjustable blinds to attenuate light on the workstation during the day.

d) Noise
The noise emitted by the equipment of the workstation(s) shall be taken into consideration when workstations are set up, in particular to avoid disturbing the workers' attention and verbal communication.

e) Heat
The equipment of the workstation(s) shall not produce excessive heat, which could be a source of disturbance for the workers.

f) Radiation
All radiation, with the exception of the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, shall be reduced to negligible levels to ensure workers' health and safety.

g) Humidity
A satisfactory degree of humidity shall be maintained.

3. Computer/operator interface

When software is compiled, chosen, purchased or modified, and when job descriptions implying the use of computers are drawn up, the employer shall take into account the following factors: a) the software shall be adequate for the job that is to be carried out; b) the software shall be easy to use and, if necessary, adaptable to the level of knowledge and experience of the user; no mechanism for monitoring the quantity or quality of work may be used without the workers' knowledge; c) systems shall give provide workers with indications as to their functioning; d) systems shall provide information in a form and at a rate suited to the operators; e) the principles of ergonomics shall be applied in particular to the way information is processed by human beings.