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Who has to be involved?

Appointment of safety experts and company doctors

Pursuant to the Occupational Safety Act (ASiG), you as the employer must appoint company doctors and occupational health and safety practitioners (Sifas) in writing and assign the tasks mentioned in the act pursuant to §3 and §6 to them.

The Accident Prevention Regulation "company doctors and occupational health and safety practitioners (DGUV Regulation 2)" (Betriebsärzte und Fachkräfte für Arbeitssicherheit (DGUV Vorschrift 2)) , valid since 1 January 2011, specifies the ASiG. The regulation specifically describes

  • the required skills of the company doctors and Sifas to be appointed,
  • their tasks mentioned in the act,
  • the deployment times necessary to fulfil the tasks, as well as
  • the different support models that may be selected depending on the size of the company.

For companies that are members in the Agricultural Social Insurance (agriculture and forestry, horticulture), the ASiG is specified by the Accident Prevention Regulation “Sicherheitstechnische und arbeitsmedizinische Betreuung” (safety-related and occupational healthcare – VSG 1.2). This regulation is valid since 1 April 2011.

Involvement of the employee union representation

If your company has a works or staff council, the council must be involved in the risk assessment process according to § 89 Industrial Relations Law (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz – BetrVG).

Occupational health and safety practitioners and company doctors must inform the works council on important matters regarding occupational health and safety and accident prevention. They must communicate the content of their suggestions to the employer and provide consultation to the works council, upon request, regarding occupational health and safety and accident prevention matters. The cooperation with the works council is established in a binding manner in § 9 Occupational Safety Act.

Matters requiring co-determination can be established in employment and works agreements. They are a suitable means in order to define how the employee union representation is involved specifically in the risk assessment process taking into consideration the individual interests of the company. Please find more information on this in our service section Company agreements.

Involvement of the employees

Only those being familiar with the main hazard areas in their company are capable of taking efficient protective measures. Use the existing know-how and the special workstation knowledge of your employees and involve them prematurely and actively in all phases of the risk assessment. By involving the employees in the field of occupational health and safety, you lay the foundations for them actually fulfilling their obligations pursuant to § 15 Occupational Health and Safety Act and their special duties to support pursuant to § 16 Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Create an open and constructive atmosphere for occupational health and safety issues in your company. Raise your employee’s awareness by conducting employee surveys, group discussions, or joint workstation visits.

Employee surveys may use anonymised questionnaires in order to address questions regarding physical and mental workloads, the work environment, the organisation of work, the work satisfaction, complaints, etc., for instance. Normally, you will obtain important indications regarding overload/underload and similar hazards. A group discussion should involve five to twelve employees of a working area. Under the guidance of a moderator, they determine stresses at their workstation and discuss possible solutions to eliminate these.

The guideline "moderated risk assessment" is an exemplary representation of how a group discussion can be conducted specifically for the care sector. A simple moderation method helps to quickly convert the answers to practical suggested solutions and to conclude implementation agreements. This brochure includes everything necessary in this regard – from the short overview to detailed schedules where every step of preparation, performance, and follow-up is represented. The instrument of a moderated risk assessment was developed within the framework of the project "occupational health and safety in the field of home care“ (Arbeitsschutz in der ambulanten Pflege). By involving the employees, you generate an understanding for safety-conscious behaviour, create acceptance, and facilitate the implementation of the measures.

Involvement of the committee for occupational safety (ASA)

If applicable, involve the members of the committee for occupational safety (ASA) in the process of planning and implementing the risk assessment. They will support you regarding any questions in the field of health protection and safety. The committee for occupational safety is an organ of the field of occupational safety and is required in companies with more than 20 employees pursuant to § 11 Occupational Safety Act.

The committee for occupational safety should at least include the following members:

  • entrepreneur/employer or a representative appointed by him/her
  • two members of the works or staff council
  • company doctor
  • occupational health and safety practitioners/safety engineers
  • safety officer pursuant to § 22 of the Social Code, Book 7

Additionally, there may be

  • the severely handicapped employee representative,
  • the young employee representative,
  • specialists, such as industrial psychologists, anti-drugs coordinators, environment coordinators, or external consultants.

The ASA meetings should be held at least quarterly.

The study "analysis of the work in the committee for occupational safety" conducted by the Technical Committee Organisation of Occupational Health and Safety includes interesting information regarding the prerequisites under which committees for occupational safety work well. Here, you will find numerous examples of “good practice” regarding the work of committees for occupational safety.