What is the Construction Site Ordinance dealing with?
The ordinance on safety and health protection on construction sites (German: Baustellenverordnung – BaustellV) supplements the German Work Protection Law with additional building owners’ obligations. Thus, the EC Construction Site Directive (92/57/EEC) of 24.06.1992 was implemented into national law. The building site regulation came into force on 01.07.1998.
The Construction Site Ordinance serves to improve the safety and health protection of the construction site employees. The ordinance applies to all construction projects in which one or more structural facilities are erected, modified or demolished. The terms are generally concretized for occupational health and safety on construction sites (RAB) 10 “Definitions”.
The Construction Site Safety Ordinance aims at taking measures for occupational safety and health protection already during the preparation of a construction project and the organization of the work. It also coordinates the cooperation of several employers concerning occupational safety and health to protect construction personnel.
Why does the Construction Site Ordinance exist?
Employees in the construction industry are exposed to an exceptionally accident and health risk compared to other economic sectors. The high-risk potential on construction sites results from the fact that employees of different employers carry out work. This makes it challenging to coordinate protective measures. Besides, other groups of persons on the building site, like entrepreneurs without employees, increase the accident and health risk.
Therefore the building processes with several employers inside must be planned actively, prepared comprehensively and continuously improved. The ordinance is to support builders thereby and make trouble-free building processes possible. The consistent application and implementation of the regulation enhances the safety and health protection and thus, the employees’ performance on construction sites. This also increases the profitability of construction projects.
What are the obligations of the building owner under the ordinance?
The building site ordinance is aimed at building owners. As the initiator of the construction project, he/she is responsible for initiating, coordinating, and implementing safety measures on the construction site. This responsibility begins with planning the execution of the construction project and continues throughout the entire construction process.
Most of the responsibility can be transferred to a suitable third party. This construction site coordinator, a so-called safety and health coordinator must be assigned the tasks in time and in writing in a contract, which means at the beginning of the planning phase of a construction project. If the transfer does not take place, the client is directly jointly responsible for occupational health and safety on the construction site.
According to the building site ordinance, the following 5 obligations arise for a building owner at the beginning of the planning phase:
- Advance notice of the building project
According to § 2 of the Construction Site Ordinance, construction sites with an expected duration of more than 30 days of work and more than 20 employees working at the same time or more than 500 person-days must be notified to the responsible state authority (Trade Inspection Office/Office for Occupational Safety and Health) two weeks before they are to be set up by way of advance notice. This must be visibly displayed at the construction site and updated in case of significant changes.
- Appoint a coordinator
According to § 3 of the Construction Site Ordinance, one or more coordinators must be appointed, depending on the construction project’s type and scope, if employees work for several employers. These coordinators should have the appropriate knowledge of construction and occupational safety and health and professional experience on the construction site. The coordinator(s) organize the necessary occupational safety measures and monitor compliance with them.
- Develop health and safety plan
The safety and health protection plan contains measures for protection against hazards when several employers work together and for the joint use of safety equipment. The implementation and compliance are monitored by the SiGeKo, which also makes adjustments in case of changed conditions if necessary.
- Preparing documents for later work
This document is the prerequisite for the safety and health-conscious design of subsequent work (e.g. maintenance, inspection and repair work). It is thus also useful for the long-term economic use and maintenance of the building structure.
- Inform about protective measures
Following § 5, paragraph 2 of the building site regulations, employees must be informed in an understandable form and language about the occupational safety measures that affect them. This can be done, among other things, by posting notices on safety, accident and occupational safety at an information board on the construction site.