What does the Workplace Ordinance regulate?
The Workplace Ordinance (ArbStättV) regulates in Germany the safety and health protection of employees in workplaces. The ordinance is explicitly aimed at employers. The ordinance provides them with minimum requirements for setting up and operating workplaces.
The ArbStättV consists of an enacting part with 10 paragraphs and an annex divided into six sections with requirements for workplaces. The minimum requirements of the EU workplace directive 89/654/EEC are directly implemented. As of 23.12.2016, the content of the ArbStättV was adapted to technical progress in the workplace.
What is considered a workplace?
Today, the term “workplace” is mainly used only in coherent words. The site always describes a place or location in the sense of a place where something specific is located or which has certain importance (e.g. restaurant, workshop, grave, etc.).
Especially in legal terminology, the term has been retained, e.g. meeting place, salesroom, or workplace. In § 2 ArbStättV is exactly defined what is considered a place of work:
- Workrooms or other places in buildings on the premises of a company,
- Outdoor locations on the premises of a company,
- Places on construction sites.
These places are always considered to be workplaces when they are used as workplaces. Accordingly, the workplace ordinance applies not only to enclosed rooms and buildings but also outdoors.
What does workplace regulation say?
The ArbStättV contains minimum requirements for the safety and health protection of employees in workplaces. It also specifies requirements for the humane design of work. The ordinance aims to protect employees in workplaces and to contribute to the prevention of accidents at work and occupational diseases.
Employers are given general protection goals instead of concrete measures and detailed requirements. This gives them more freedom in their decisions on the design and operation of the workplace.
Special attention is paid to preparing a risk assessment (§ 3 ArbStättV) to assess in advance and, if necessary, eliminate any hazards for employees when setting up and operating a workplace.
Of particular importance in the workplace ordinance is the concerns of people with disabilities (§3a, para. 2) and the protection of non-smokers (§5).
The paragraph section of the regulation also contains, in addition to regulations for setting up and operating workplaces (§ 3a and 4), specific provisions for work, sanitary, break, on-call and first aid rooms as well as accommodation (§ 6).
Who controls workplace regulations?
The Committee for Workplaces (ASTA) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BAMS) monitors the relevant current conditions that must be taken into account to update the contents of the regulation.
The Workplace Ordinance is legally binding. In each federal state, the supervisory authorities responsible for occupational health and safety (e.g. trade supervisory offices or offices for occupational safety) are responsible for monitoring.
If the workplace ordinance requirements are not met, this is a violation of the Work Protection Law. Employees have the righthttps to complain to their employer about non-compliance. If the employer does not remedy the situation, employees can directly contact the relevant supervisory authority (see above).
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