Fire protection

General Information

General matters

Employers must take appropriate measures to prevent fires from developing and in the event of a fire prevent any risk to the life and health of the employees.

They must take the necessary appropriate measures to fight fires and evacuate employees.

Suitable extinguishing aids, such as extinguishing water, smothering blankets, extinguishing sand, wall hydrants, hand-held fire extinguishers or movable fire extinguishers must be provided in sufficient quantities. The extinguishing aids or their installation locations must be labelled.

The administrative authority must prescribe the appointment of a fire safety officer and, if necessary, a substitute person and, if this is not sufficient, further appropriate measures, if this is required due to special circumstances for effective protection of the employees. Such special circumstances could include:

  • type of work process or procedure
  • type or quantity of agents available
  • equipment or work equipment available
  • location, dimensions, physical layout or usage type of place of employment
  • highest possible number of people present in the place of employment.

This does not apply if, based on provincial law, a fire safety officer or a works fire brigade/a voluntary fire brigade in the place of employment has already been set up.

Fire safety officer

The fire safety officer is to be granted sufficient time during working hours to perform their duties and must be provided with all the necessary means and documentation required to do so.

They must be given all the necessary powers.

Increased fire protection

If a voluntary works fire brigade has been set up in a place of employment or, based on provincial law, there is a works fire brigade or fire safety officer or the appointment of fire safety officers or fire wardens has been prescribed based on the Arbeitsstättenverordnung (AStV),

  • a fire safety code must be drawn up.
  • This should set out the necessary technical and organisational arrangements and measures to be taken for fire prevention and firefighting. The fire safety code is to be checked for accuracy and completeness annually and added to if necessary. It must be brought to the attention of all employees. The fire safety code is part of the health and safety document.
  • a fire safety log must be kept.
  • In this, the results of the compensating control and the measures taken to remedy the shortcomings, the checks carried out and their results, the fire safety drills and all fires and their causes are to be recorded.
  • a fire safety plan is to be drawn up in accordance with the relevant technical rules in cooperation with the local competent fire department.
  • instruction in the proper handling of extinguishers is to be given to all those employees employed in areas in which there are conditions requiring increased fire safety.

Persons for firefighting and evacuation

For places of employment in which no fire safety officer, no fire safety warden or works fire brigades have been set up or are prescribed, since 1 January 2010, employers must appoint persons who are responsible for firefighting and evacuation the employees. A sufficient number of employees must be familiar with handling the fire-extinguishing appliances.

Alarm drills

If alarm systems that are used to alert employees are in place, alarm drills must be held at least once a year during working hours.

Records must be kept of this.

Tests

  • Safety lighting systems
  • alarm systems
  • air conditioning and ventilation systems and
  • fire alarm systems

must be tested at least once a year but at a maximum interval of 15 months to ensure that they are in proper working condition.

Extinguishers and stationary extinguishing systems must be tested at least every other calendar year but at a maximum interval of 27 months to ensure that they are in proper working condition.

Records must be kept of these checks and must be kept in the place of employment for at least three years. Records of the testing of extinguishers are not required if there is a sticker confirming the date of the test and that they are free from defects.

Workplaces at risk of fire

In workplaces at risk of fire, smoking and the use of naked flames and lights is forbidden.

Clearly visible and permanent posters must be put up referencing these bans.

Enterprises Affected

Essentially all establishments, apart from agricultural and forestry establishments, administrative departments and federal, province and municipal schools as well as private households.

Caution

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

Competent authority

The locally competent labour inspectorate (→ Arbeitsinspektion)German text

Legal bases

Expert Information

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 29 October 2020

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour

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