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Safety in the workplace

Evaluation of the work place

A good method for improving the quality of work is workplace assessment. This means identifying and assessing the existing risks and health burdens of workplaces. These results are then used as a basis for developing measures for improving and avoiding risks. Implementing these results can help achieve ongoing quality improvement in workplaces.
The results must be documented in writing in the health and safety documents. These must be reviewed and updated (e.g. after accidents, when changes are made, when new work equipment or new agents are introduced).

The results must be documented in writing in the health and safety documents. These must be reviewed and updated (e.g. after accidents, when changes are made, when new work equipment or new agents are introduced).

Deployment of employees

Not all employees are suited to all tasks. When assigning tasks to employees, the employer must take the following into account:

  • qualifications
  • constitution
  • age
  • gender
  • disability German text
  • physical frailties or disabilities

Conditions that could represent a particular danger to women are also to be avoided.

Coordination and hiring out

Coordination

If employees of different undertakings are working, for example on a construction site, this also means that there are different potential hazards due to the different work equipment used, different types of materials etc. These potential hazards can have an impact on the entire place of employment. For this reason, the employers must work together to define and agree upon health and safety provisions.

Hiring out

When workers are hired out (e.g. personnel hire), the parent company and the employer share responsibility for health and safety:

  • Parent companies have obligations, such as keeping records on suitability and follow-up tests.
  • Employers are responsible, for example, for the information on the special features of the workplace.

Employers of hired staff are considered to be employers within the meaning of the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz (ASchG) for the duration of the secondment. They are responsible for complying with employee protection provisions.

Safety representatives (SVP)

Certain problems connected with health and safety at work, their impacts and possible solutions can sometimes only be identified when you are working at the company. In order to keep an eye on these problems, safety representatives (SVP) are appointed.

Tasks:
Safety representatives are employees who represent all other employees in matters of health and safety.

Requirements:
Safety representatives must have completed occupational safety training of at least 24 teaching units of 50 minutes.

If more than ten employees are regularly employed in a company, the employer must appoint safety representatives.

Please note

If more than ten employees are regularly employed in a company, the employer must appoint safety representatives.

Information and instruction

One important way of avoiding accidents and hazards is to provide correct and detailed information and instruction (e.g. on operating machinery).

Employers must inform employees about the risks to health and safety and about the measures for risk prevention.

Furthermore, employees must be given workplace-related instructions according to their level of experience (instruction). The employer must be able to provide evidence of this instruction which, if necessary, must be given at regular intervals. Specific instruction obligations are intended for many areas.

The employers must also ensure that information and instructions have been correctly understood by employees. Information and instructions may need to be given in the respective native language of the employees in question.

Please note

The employers must be able to provide evidence that the employees have been instructed (training sessions, records).

Participation of the employee

Safety issues, the avoidance of risks and ‘healthy’ workplaces should be the concern of all parties involved. For this reason, the law also grants the following persons on the employer side participatory rights in occupational safety matters:

  • the employee representative (if appointed)
  • the safety representatives (if no employee representative has been appointed)
  • the employees (if neither an employee representative nor a safety representative has been appointed)

Caution

In general, these rules apply to all traders from EU Member States in Austria. In some cases they also adress employees from other EU Member States in Austria.

 

Technical and industrial hygiene safety regulations

In order to prevent accidents at work, occupational diseases, work-related illnesses and permanent injury, all technical and industrial hygiene safety provisions are embedded in the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz (ASchG) and the regulations adopted in relation to it. They are intended to prevent the employee from suffering any harm when performing their work.

The employers are responsible for complying with safety and health regulations.

However, the employees must cooperate in complying with the health and safety provisions (and flag up any abuses).

The employer must implement the following general basic principles of risk prevention:

  • avoidance of risks
  • assessment of non-avoidable risks
  • combating risks at source
  • taking into account the human factor at work, particularly when designing workspaces and when selecting work equipment and working and production procedures, above all with regard to providing relief from monotonous work and work at a predetermined work rate and mitigating their detrimental effects on health
  • taking into account the format of work tasks and type of activities, the working environment, the work processes and work organisation
  • taking into account the state of the art
  • eliminating or minimising hazards
  • planning risk prevention measures with the objective of coherent coupling of technology, activities and tasks, work organisation, work processes, working conditions, working environment, social relationships and influence of the environment on the workplace
  • prioritising overall hazard protection over hazard protection for individuals
  • issuing suitable instructions to the employees

Detailed provisions

The detailed provisions include the specific requirements for workplaces, handling machinery, fire protection etc. These detailed provisions are made available by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Family and Youth and the Labour Inspectorate.

Further links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
last update: 29 October 2020
responsible for content:
  • USP Editorial Staff
  • Federal Ministry of Labour

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