Health in the workplace

General Information

General matters

Protecting employees against work-related health risks and resulting occupational diseases or work-related illnesses is an important element in determining, assessing and defining measures in the company.

Health monitoring

The regular monitoring of employees’ health in the event of certain effects and activities is a legal obligation. The results of these investigations must be taken into account when determining and assessing health risks.

Employees must only be assigned tasks where they are exposed to the effects of certain agents, if suitability tests have been carried out prior to starting work and follow-up tests have been carried out at regular intervals if the task continues for an extended period of time.

Unsuitability on health grounds

If an official assessment performed by the Labour Inspectorate determines that the employee is not suited to the task(s) on health grounds, they must no longer be required to perform the task(s) specified in the decision.

Any lifting of the ban on performing certain tasks must be carried out by the employer or the employee or by the Labour Inspectorate itself if it is determined in a subsequent check that the employee is once again fit to carry out the relevant task.

Tolerance limits for agents

To assess the concentration of an agent at the workplace, the maximum allowable concentration value (To assess the concentration of an agent at the workplace, the maximum allowable concentration value) and the technical reference concentration value (TRC value) are used.

  • The MAC-Wert is the average in a certain reference period that specifies the highest permissible concentration of an agent as gas, steam or airborne particles in the workplace.
  • The TRC-value is the average value in a certain reference period that specifies the concentration of a hazardous agent as gas, steam or airborne particles that can be achieved as per the state of the art and that is to be used as an indicator for the protective measures to be taken and the metrological monitoring in the workplace.

Employees using an agent that has a limit value must be informed of this fact.

Limit value comparative measurements

If it cannot be reliably ruled out that employees in a workplace may be exposed to an agent for which an MAC-value or TRC-value is defined, limit value comparative measurements must be carried out.

Limit value comparative measurements are not required if an assessment according to the state of the art, taking into account comparative data (particularly operating instructions, specifications from manufacturers or distributors, analysis methods and measured values from comparable workplaces) representative of the respective workplace, shows that the limit values to be applied are not exceeded.

Continual and mobile measurements and monitoring

For work processes for which it cannot be reliably ruled out that limit values will suddenly be exceeded and for which no breathing protection is used, the concentration value must be monitored at representative positions

  • using continuous measuring devices, or
  • at least prior to performing the tasks and during the same using mobile measuring devices, or
  • via other measures for concentration limitation, such as functional monitoring of extraction or mechanical ventilation systems.

In these cases, the employees must be warned acoustically and, if this is not sufficient, also visually before the concentrations that pose a risk to health are reached.

Enterprises Affected

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

Caution

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

Requirements

See description of content

Competent authority

The locally competent labour inspectorate German text

Further information

Legal bases

Expert Information

No expert information is available.

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 13 April 2021

Responsible for the content: Bundesministerium für Arbeit

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