What Is the German Occupational Safety and Health Act?
The Law on Company Physicians, Safety Engineers and other Specialists for Occupational Safety and Health – the German Occupational Safety and Health Act (ASiG) for short – contains important regulations on the organization of occupational safety and health at the workplace. It came into force on December 1, 1974, and was last updated in August 2013.
The law is less concerned with regulations for protecting the safety and health of employees than with the organization of operational cooperation in occupational safety. In § 1 ASiG, prevention in occupational health and safety is formulated as a guiding principle:
“Following this law, the employer must appoint company doctors and occupational safety specialists. These shall support him in occupational safety and accident prevention. This is intended to ensure that:
- the regulations for occupational safety and accident prevention are applied following the special operating conditions,
- assured occupational health and safety knowledge can be implemented to improve occupational safety and accident prevention,
- the measures serving to ensure occupational safety and accident prevention achieve the highest possible efficiency.”
The specific requirements for occupational medical and safety care are regulated in the Accident Prevention Regulation (UVV) of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV Regulation 2). An autonomous right of the accident insurance institutions.
What Is Regulated in the Occupational Safety and Health Act?
In addition to the principle as mentioned above, the Occupational Health and Safety Act regulates:
- The appointment, tasks and required qualification of company physicians (§§ 2-4 ASiG)
- The appointment, tasks and required qualification of specialists for occupational safety (§§ 5-7 ASiG)
- Cooperation with the works council and with each other (§§ 9 and 10 ASiG)
- The formation and tasks of the occupational safety committee (§ 11 ASiG)
- Official control rights (§§ 12 and 13 ASiG)
- The use of inter-company services (§ 19 ASiG)
Where Lies the Difference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act is the most important law for protecting employees alongside the ASiG. The central point of this set of rules is risk assessment. The assessment aims to identify potential hazards and risks at the workplace so that protective measures can effectively counteract these.
These are risks and dangers that affect the entire company, but also the individual workplace. Employers are obligated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to prepare such a risk assessment. The risk assessment can be supported by the occupational safety specialist, occupational physician and other specialists.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act deals with the procedure in occupational safety and health protection. In contrast, the Occupational Safety and Health Act applies to those involved in occupational safety and health.