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Checklist "Working Time"

Safely assessing and organising the duration, position, and distribution of working time

The organisation of the working time has a huge influence on safety and health. Using the checklist for "Working Time" ("Checkliste 'Arbeitszeit'"), you as the employer can safely estimate, evaluate, and organise the quality of working time models.

What characterises a humane organisation of working time? Which working time models are recommendable under health-related aspects? Which ones are not? How can companies be supported in creating healthy working hours? These and other questions regarding working time have been addressed by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) within the framework of numerous research and development projects for years. Today, the knowledge gained this way is part of the standard in the field of organisation of working time; many findings have been incorporated into guidelines. The checklist “Working Time” is an important product of this process. It allows employers and other stakeholders to perform a practice-oriented assessment as to whether the working time models in their company meet the requirements regarding a humane organisation of working time or not.

Identifying hazards with the checklist

As with all measures in the field of occupational safety and health, the organisation of working time is basically about avoiding and minimising hazards, respectively. These may be a result of working hours that are too long or recovery phases that are too short.

The checklist "Working Time"

  • comprises the specifications and principles regarding a humane organisation of working time,
  • identifies flaws in design, organisation, but also in the behaviour of the employees,
  • provides information on corresponding measures for eliminating flaws.

Furthermore, the employers are responsible for performing measures in the fields of

  • work organisation and working conditions,
  • social relationships and
  • management behaviour

if these concern the topic of working time and its organisation. Moreover, the employers are responsible for providing sufficient information, instruction, and qualification of the employees.

The checklist is based on a detailed documentation of the planned and actual working times and duty rosters. This data may be used in order to verify the specifications of the German Working Time Act ("Arbeitszeitgesetz") and the ergonomic recommendations regarding the organisation of night and shift work. Amongst others, users will be queried about

  • the extent of the daily working time,
  • the compliance with the daily and weekly rest periods,
  • the granting of and compliance with breaks,
  • the compensation periods and the degree of flexibility.

It can be observed that the licit opening clauses in the collective bargaining agreements may have an effect on working times and the organisation of duty rosters that may raise safety and health concerns. One example for this includes the shortening of the daily period of rest.

Catalogue of questions and traffic light model

In total, the checklist comprises 55 questions on working hours, breaks, rest periods, working on Sundays and bank holidays, on-call duties, shift work, leave, working time accounts, flexibility, and stress with regard to possible hazards.

The reply options in the checklist "Working Time" are evaluated using traffic light colours:

  • "green" can be classified as non-hazardous,
  • "yellow" indicates a hazard potential and provides information and recommendation for avoidance and
  • "red" indicates a present hazard that must be eliminated by taking corresponding measures.

Cross-industry and practical

The checklist "Working Time" was developed for hospitals in the first step. Therefore, the particularities of on-call duties that are partly due to the opening clauses formulated in the Working Time Act receive special attention. In general, all specifications that hold for other industries are applicable in this instrument, but without the particularities of the collective bargaining agreement. However, there are limitations in the field of hospitals that are less applicable to other industries. Since this risk assessment has been developed for a strictly controlled application area, in most cases, it can be transferred relatively easily to other industries characterised by less rigid specifications.

More detailed information on how to perform the risk assessment can be found in the research report "Developing an instrument for risk estimation referring to working time" ("Entwicklung einer Gefährdungsbeurteilung im Hinblick auf die Arbeitszeit"). You can download the German version of the checklist on our German Website.

Further Information

Working Time Reporting for Germany

Figures, data and facts on the organisation of working time

Find out more : Working Time Reporting for Germany …

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