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The Implementation of Workplace Law and Building Regulations Law

A legal opinion clarifies the interaction between workplace law and building regulations law.

The constructional requirements for workplaces and workrooms are primarily defined by workplace law (Arbeitsstättenrecht) and building regulations law (Bauordnungsrecht). In this respect, it is evident that both intersections and contradictions exist. These must be resolved in the building planning process.

When planning workplaces and implementing workplace law, conflicting requirements surrounding workplace law and the building regulations law often arise. These might concern railing heights and guard rails, escape routes, ceiling heights and barrier-free workplaces, for example.

A legal opinion on this issue was commissioned by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) and prepared by the Halle Centre for Social Research at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Zentrum für Sozialforschung Halle e.V.) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Wolfhard Kohte.

The purpose of this legal opinion was to describe the relationships between workplace law and building regulations law. In particular, the intersections between the two regulatory areas were to be defined and assessed to identify actual or supposed contradictions in the requirements.

The legal opinion points out that there are no contradictions with respect to substantive law and that the requirements are strict where matters of hazard protection are concerned. Technical rules for workplaces (Arbeitsstättenregeln / ASR) and other technical regulations must be interpreted in conformity with substantive law and Union law. If these categories are adequately explained, they provide a clear framework for practical solutions. The conclusions of the legal opinion are to be grouped into topics and prepared for their easier practical implementation.

When planning workplaces and workrooms, the requirements stipulated by workplace law and the recommendations of occupational health experts must be obtained well in advance and complied with. The requirements under workplace law and building regulations law that are more far-reaching take precedence. "More far-reaching" shall in this case be interpreted as providing a higher degree of protection to employees.