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Health and safety at work

Operators and investors

Despite all the technical progress made, healthy and motivated employees are still a decisive factor in successful and sustainable corporate management. Health and safety at work is an essential part of this. Operators and investors as employers are obliged by the occupational health and safety laws (§ 5 of the German Occupational Health and Safety Act and § 4 of the Austrian Employee Protection Act (ASchG)) to record and evaluate all risks at the workplace due to work equipment and activities by means of a risk assessment and, if necessary, to derive operating instructions from this. Protective measures need to be defined and regularly checked for their effectiveness: If these objectives are not yet achieved, the protective measures in place for occupational health and safety need to be adapted and then re-examined.

The requisite continuous process of improvement in occupational safety results from this. The processes that are required for this, such as the PDCA control cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act), need to be introduced and further developed at the company.

Work equipment is also included for consideration in the risk assessment (see Risk Assessment). Inspections need to be carried out at regular intervals depending on the demands placed on the equipment and the legal requirements of the German Operating Safety Ordinance (BetrSichV) or the Austrian Use of Work Equipment Directive (AM-VO). According to the BetrSichV, plants in Germany that require special monitoring are subject to special regulations and inspections by qualified persons or approved monitoring bodies (AMB).

Services

  • Safety-related support in accordance with Sec. 6 Occupational Safety Act (ASiG – DE) or by the Disruptive Incident Commission (SFK – AT)
  • Appointment of a health and safety coordinator in accordance with the Construction Site Ordinance
  • Performance of risk assessments in accordance with the ArbSchGor the ASChG, and the BetrSichVor the AM-VO, Hazardous Substances Ordinance (GefStoffV)
  • Introduction of an occupational health and safety management system (e. g. ISO 45001, OHSAS 18001, SCC)
  • • Advisory on risk management according to ISO 31000
  • Verification of compliance with the legal requirements for health and safety at work (legal compliance assessment)
  • Preparation of safety concepts, risk assessments and operating instructions and assembly instructions
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Permanent appointment FASI

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. The 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. There are three different models of 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).
  • Entrepreneurial model for up to 50 employees After completing training at the Employer’s Liability Insurance Association, the organisation of occupational safety in order to meet 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. A service catalogue, which is also based on DGUV Regulation 2, is used to determine the company-specific supervision.

As a general rule, at least one safety officer must be appointed for companies with 21 or more employees. The number of safety representatives to be appointed must 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 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. DGUV Regulation 2 stipulates in its Annex 1 that in small companies with fewer 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 by the BG Raw Materials and Chemical Industry with 3 years, for the chemical industry. A further reference can be found in § 7 para. 7 of the 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 company due to its hazardous properties, a low quantity of substance used, a low level and duration of exposure and the working conditions, the effort required 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 activities with low risk:

  • 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).
weyer special: Work safety

Comprehensive occupational health and safety protection is crucial in maintaining and promoting employees’ working capacity. Despite all technical progress, healthy and motivated employees are decisive factors for successful and sustainable corporate management. Hier sind auch die Grundlagen für ein übergreifendes Risikomanagement zu finden…

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