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Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health

The Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health specifies regulations that must be observed for occupational safety when handling work equipment.

What is the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health?

The Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (German: Betriebssicherheitsverordnung – BetrSichV) regulates the safe and proper use of companies’ work equipment. The measures are intended to ensure the safety and health protection of employees. However, the users of the work equipment should be protected and the persons in the danger zone of the plant in case of plants requiring monitoring.

The first version of the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health came into force in 2002. It represented the German implementation of the European work equipment directive “89/655/EWG”. Under Regulation’s name on Safety and Health Protection in the Use of Work Equipment (BetrSichV), a new version came into force on June 1, 2005, which was updated in November 2016.

The Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health is aimed at all workers who provide work equipment for their employees. However, the term “employer” is defined more broadly. Operators of systems requiring monitoring for commercial or economic purposes, regardless of whether they have employees or not, are treated equally to employers.

What is the work equipment according to the ordinance?

According to the regulation, all tools, devices, machines or systems (§ 2 (1)) that are necessary for the work are considered work equipment. This also includes equipment requiring monitoring such as:

  • Elevator systems
  • Pressure systems (steam boilers and pressure vessels)
  • Installations in hazardous areas (e.g. filling stations, storage facilities, filling stations)

Systems requiring monitoring must be assembled, installed and operated following technical regulations and standards. At regular intervals, a responsible monitoring center or a person qualified to do so must check these systems. The safety and functionality of the other above mentioned work equipment should also be checked regularly.

What changes in the Industrial Safety Regulation will be made in the new version of 2015?

The amendment implements European law as well as new findings in occupational safety and health and the requirements derived from them. It has also been made more transparent and meaningful, making it easier to implement in practice.

The new version takes much more account of particular accident black spots when handling work equipment. These include maintenance of equipment, vehicles or building work, special operating conditions, faults and manipulations. Also new are special requirements to reduce ergonomic and psychological stress at the workplace.

In total, the operational safety ordinance consists of 5 sections:

Section 1 – Scope and definitions

Section 2 – Risk Assessment and Protective Measures

Section 3 – Additional requirements for equipment subject to monitoring

Section 4 – Enforcement Rules and Operational Safety Committee

Section 5 – Administrative offences and crimes, final provisions

There are also 3 appendices:

Appendix 1 (to § 6 Paragraph 1 Sentence 2) – Special provisions for specific work equipment

Appendix 2 (to §§ 15 and 16) – Test specifications for installations subject to monitoring

Appendix 3 (to § 14 (4)) – Test specifications for certain work equipment

What obligations do employers and employees have?

In general, employers are obliged by the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health to implement measures for safe work equipment in the company based on the risk assessment. Employees are obliged to use the work equipment technically correct after instruction and instruction by the employer.

The employer’s assessment of the work equipment shall be carried out using a visual inspection and, if necessary, a functional check. If work equipment and systems requiring monitoring are not checked for their hazard potential before first use, the employer or operator is liable for this.

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