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Protection of employees

Current information on employee protection, rights and obligations, workplace assessment, fire protection, notification requirements, labour inspectorate, etc.

Caution

In general, these rules apply to all traders from EU Member States in Austria.

Information for newcomers

The legal provisions for occupational safety are intended to ensure the protection of the life and health of employees when performing their professional activity. Humane working conditions and a high safety standard in companies ensure that the economic and operational consequential costs of work accidents and occupational diseases are reduced.

The lawmaker sets out obligations – i.e. requirements or proscriptions – and the responsible party (generally the employer) must then ensure that these are implemented/complied with.

Arbeitsschutzgesetz (Working Conditions Act)

Regulations for the protection of working people govern the following, for example:

  • the use of hazardous machines and tools
  • the handling of hazardous agents, such as toxic or flammable chemicals
  • stresses caused by work processes and other effects. e.g. noise
  • provisions for risk prevention
  • instruction and investigations
  • the layout of workplaces, work premises and sanitary facilities
  • working conditions for young people and pregnant women
  • working time and rest periods

The fundamental objective of modern occupational safety is ‘prevention’, i.e. not only acting once an accident has happened, but taking steps beforehand to minimise the likelihood of an accident occurring.

With this in mind, Section 3 of the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetzes obliges the employer to ensure their health and safety, in relation to all aspects concerning the work of the employees. So that these efforts have effective and sustainable effects, the employer must ensure a suitable occupational safety system is in place.

This occupational safety system can take vastly different forms depending on the size of the company, the sector and the existing form of the operational organisation. In any case, the fixed points of the structural organisation are the legally prescribed functionaries, such as safety representatives and preventive specialists.

Employers must observe the basic principles of risk prevention when shaping the occupational health strategy.

Detailed information on the subjects of Types of employment German text und Work and disability German Text can also be found at USP.gv.at.

Tip

The Labour Inspectorate’s website shows all areas of occupational safety and the obligations arising from it. A variety of publications are provided for operational practice (brochures, folders, guides and fact sheets) for support. Forms are also provided for the obligatory notifications arising from the regulations on occupational safety.

Health protection

All companies must ensure that the health of persons employed in the company is sufficiently protected. This is achieved, for example, by monitoring employee health, measuring and monitoring the concentration of a hazardous agent, putting time limits on dangerous activities and using respiratory protection.

Numerous laws and regulations set out the necessary measures and limit values for the protection of employees, such as the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz (ASchG), the Verordnung über die Gesundheitsüberwachung am Arbeitsplatz (VGÜ 2017) or the Grenzwerteverordnung 2018 (GKV 2018).

The ASchG does not apply for employees

  • in agricultural and forestry establishments
  • of Federal, state and municipal offices
  • in private households and
  • for homeworkers

Other rules and regulations apply for these, such as the Bundes-Bedienstetenschutz-Gesetz (B-BSG), for federal staff, or the respective provisions of state regulations for staff of the state, municipalities and local governments (e.g. the Bediensteten-Schutzgesetz).

Further links

Translated by the European Commission
last update: 29 October 2020

responsible for content: Federal Ministry of Labour, Family and Youth

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