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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.

Construction requirements for workplaces are primarily defined by workplace law (Arbeitsstättenrecht) and building regulations law (Bauordnungsrecht). At first glance, there are intersections as well as contradictions between these regulations. The latter 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.

This legal opinion describes the relationships between workplace law and building regulations law. In particular, the intersections between the two regulatory areas are identified and assessed as well as actual or supposed contradictory requirements revealed.

The legal report presents in detail that, regarding substantive law, there do not exist any contradictions 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 grouped into topics and prepared for easy practical implementation.

When planning workplaces, 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.