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Frequently Asked Questions Article Series

Frequently asked questions about occupational health and safety

878 494 Juri Lasse Raffetseder

The weyer gruppe’s range of services extends across numerous areas and covers a wide variety of problems. For our clients and interested parties, experience has shown that these services and the associated regulations can raise a number of questions. This series of articles aims to provide clarity and answer the respective frequently asked questions. Today’s post “Frequently Asked Questions” is about occupational health and safety. In the last part we dealt with plant-related water protection.

If your question is not answered here, you have the possibility to ask us within the framework of afree initial consultation.

Frequently asked questions about occupational health and safety

Occupational safety and health organisation

According to DGUV Regulation 2, all companies require an occupational safety specialist to provide technical safety support. Filling the position is a legal obligation.

Supervision can be provided by an internal or external occupational safety specialist and varies depending on the size of the company. For example, companies with ten employees require different safety precautions than those with 100. The following three models are used for supervision:

  • Basic supervision and event-related supervision for up to 10 employees Basic supervision (the core component is the preparation of the risk assessment) is carried out by the occupational safety specialist and the company doctor at least every five years.
    Occasion-related supervision must be carried out if there is a concrete reason (e.g. use of new hazardous substances).
  • Entrepreneur model for up to 50 employees After completing training courses at the employers’ liability insurance association, the organisation of occupational safety and health in order to comply with the legal obligations is a core task of the employer.
    The deployment of the occupational safety specialist is based on the specific needs of the company and is determined by the employer.
  • Regular supervision Regular supervision consists of basic supervision and company-specific supervision. For basic supervision, there are fixed deployment times depending on the individual risk of danger in accordance with DGUV Regulation 2.
    The determination of company-specific supervision is based on a catalogue of services that is also based on DGUV Regulation 2.

In principle, at least one safety officer must be appointed for companies with 21 or more employees. The number of safety representatives to be appointed shall be determined on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Existing accident and health hazards in the company (e.g. office work or work at chemical plants).
  • Number of employees (e.g. 21 or 400 employees)
  • Spatial proximity (e.g. 1 or more production sites)
  • Time proximity (e.g. fixed working hours or shift work)
  • Professional proximity (e.g. office area and production area)
  • from 2 up to 20 insured persons present 1 first aider,
  • if more than 20 insured persons are present:
    • in administrative and commercial establishments 5 % of the number of employees present
    • in other establishments, 10% of the insured persons present.

Other establishments are, for example, production and craft enterprises. The persons present include all persons employed at the same time at an operating site. The required number of first aiders in the enterprise must be ensured at all times. Absence due to e.g. holidays, illness or shift work must be taken into account.

Risk assessment

The assessment of the hazards and the derivation of necessary and suitable protective measures must be carried out before the start of the activity or before the use of the work equipment.

No, in the case of similar working conditions, the assessment of one workplace or one activity is sufficient. It therefore makes sense to group similar working conditions and activities together before drawing up the risk assessment.

Updating the risk assessment is necessary on the following occasions:

  • after the occurrence of occupational accidents, near-accidents, occupational diseases or absenteeism due to work-related health impairments,
  • when setting up new workplaces – and before starting the activities
  • in the event of significant changes in operations, such as
    • Planning of new workplaces and work sites,
    • Redesign of work and traffic areas,
    • Change in working procedures,
    • Change in the organisation of work,
    • Use of other working materials,
    • New procurement of machinery, equipment and facilities,

essential repair measures

Updating the risk assessment is necessary when:

  • hazards in operation have not been recognised so far,
  • new hazards have occurred or may occur, or
  • the operational circumstances have changed with regard to safety and health.

No, the risk assessment process only has to be carried out in relation to the changes. However, depending on the hazards in the company, there are various specifications or notes on such periods. The DGUV Regulation 2 in its Annex 1 stipulates that in small companies with less than 10 employees, the risk assessment must be reviewed every X years.

The exact period X is specified by the individual accident insurance institutions, for example 3 years by the BG Raw Materials and Chemical Industry.

A further reference can be found in § 7 para.7 Hazardous Substances Ordinance. According to this, the employer must “check the function and effectiveness of the technical protective measures regularly, but at least every third year. The result of the tests must be recorded and preferably kept together with the documentation” of the risk assessment.

Hazardous substances

No, if there are many hazardous substances (e.g. in paint shops, storage areas or laboratories), it is permissible to draw up group or collective operating instructions rather than separate operating instructions for each individual hazardous substance. The prerequisite is that similar hazards exist during activities with these substances and comparable protective measures apply.

If a hazardous substance with a low hazard is present in the enterprise due to the hazardous properties, a low quantity of substance used, a low level and duration of exposure and the working conditions, the effort for this hazardous substance is considerably reduced. For practical application, this means that, among other things, operating instructions, substitution testing, technical and organisational protective measures, personal protective equipment can be dispensed with and the hazardous substance does not have to be included in the hazardous substances register.

Examples of low-risk activities:

  • Touching up minor paint damage with touch-up pens,
  • Gluing work with normal household quantities of adhesives,
  • Inserting dishwasher tabs,
  • Use of small quantities of hazardous substances for analytical purposes.

Yes, low hazard activities cannot be:

  • Activities involving corrosive hazardous substances (H314) if skin contact cannot be excluded,
  • Activities involving hazardous substances in confined spaces and containers,
  • Activities involving liquids where a hazardous explosive atmosphere may arise. This can be the case even with small quantities of liquids (in the ml range).

Arrange a free initial consultation

We will be happy to answer any further questions in our free initial consultation.
Make your appointment now.

Felix Kalienke
weyer group | horst weyer und partner gmbh
Quickborn | Deutschland
Tel.: +49 4106 – 64 04 20 4
E-Mail: f.kalienke@weyer-gruppe.com

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