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Step 5: Execute

What do I have to consider when executing the measures?

Determine the priorities, dates, and responsibilities for the defined measures. In order to be able to efficiently execute the required occupational safety and health measures, you should define unambiguously:

WHO does WHAT until WHEN?

The template Executing the measures made available by the occupational safety and health administration of North-Rhine Westphalia is intended for illustrative purposes.

Which documents may I use?

Don’t reinvent the wheel. If present, use the documents of risk assessments already performed in the company. For example, you may copy the

  • hazardous substances index,
  • check for replacement substances, and
  • user manual

and include a reference to these in your risk assessment.

Why is an instruction necessary and what must be considered?

Why is an instruction necessary?

In order for the employees to be able to behave safely at their workstation, they must know the possible hazards. Furthermore, they should identify the purpose of the occupational health and safety measures and assume personal responsibility for their health-compliant behaviour.

Therefore, you as the employer are obliged to instruct your employees on safety and health protection at the workplace during their working hours in a sufficient and appropriate manner.

This obligation is based on

  • the Works Constitution Act, § 81,
  • the Safety and Health at Work Act, § 12 and § 14,
  • the Accident Prevention Regulation DGUV Regulation 1, § 4, and
  • the specifying set of ordinances, such as § 9 of the Operational Safety Ordinance

When does the instruction have to take place?

As a matter of principle, employees should be instructed

  1. prior to commencing any activity (initial instruction) and
  2. thereafter at regular intervals (recurring instructions).

Initial instructions are necessary in case of

  • newly hired employees,
  • changes regarding the workstation, as well as
  • the introduction of new methods, technology, or substances.

Recurring instructions must be performed at regular intervals of time, at least once a year. Furthermore, the legislator also specifies shorter intervals, for example 6 months pursuant to the Young Persons Employment Act.

Moreover, instructions must be repeated when

  • a poor effect becomes obvious (misbehaviour, near misses),
  • accidents or occupational diseases occur, and
  • procedures are performed rarely only.

Please note: Among other things, good safety management is characterised by contents, target groups, as well as persons in charge being defined in an instruction schedule, for example monthly.

Who conducts the instruction?

The employer is responsible for the instruction. He may transfer the obligation to conduct instructions to suitable executive personnel.

Normally, the direct line managers assume this task. This bears the advantage that they normally are always on site and capable of observing and possibly correcting the behaviour of the employees assigned to them. You should include occupational health and safety practitioners and/or company doctors in the preparation of the instruction.

How must the instruction be performed?

Instructions should not be a necessary evil, but an interestingly designed instruction and motivation to adopt a safety- and health-compliant behaviour.

Successful instructions should be prepared carefully. The following approach is recommendable:

  • select instruction topics on the basis of the risk assessment
  • define the group of participants (small groups, 15 people max.)
  • select the instruction method
  • define the time and the duration (if possible, directly after start of work or after breaks, max. 30 minutes)
  • plan the selection and provision of premises and necessary auxiliary equipment (flip chart, media, etc.)
  • if necessary, consult the occupational health and safety practitioner or the company doctor
  • regularly check the success of the instruction – the safe behaviour

Instructions must be documented as certificate. The instruction certificates should be kept for at least 2 years.

Please note: This chapter is based on the contents of the brochure Instruction hazard-related – supplement to guideline risk assessment.
Structured according to the known hazard factors, the brochure exemplarily mentions content-related emphases of the instructions and instruction techniques, as well as auxiliary equipment. The documentation may be based on the template “Instruction – Documentation” appended to the brochure.

Tip: Executive personnel of small-scale companies can find tips and help regarding conversation techniques and information on instructing in the field of occupational health and safety in the brochure Practice instruction and communication published by the Verwaltungs-BG (VBG).