Health protection at the workplace; monitoring
The labor inspectorates monitor compliance with the regulations on protection against occupational hazards.
Health protection in the workplace is governed by a large number of regulations. These require employers to take measures to protect the safety and health of employees and to create working conditions that prevent hazards to life and health and reduce stress to a minimum (see Occupational Safety and Health Act).
Compliance with these regulations is monitored by the state labor inspectorate, which is attached to the governments. In addition to the purely technical aspects of occupational safety, occupational medicine and consideration of social factors also play an important role.
Social protection regulations either differ according to the type of trade or occupation (e.g., construction workers, home workers, drivers) or they apply to special groups (e.g., women, expectant mothers, young people).
The regulations on working hours, particularly in the Working Hours Act, are intended to protect workers from possible excessive demands and damage to health. Daily and weekly working hours, as well as work on Sundays and public holidays, are therefore subject to restrictions; compliance with rest periods, breaks, etc. is mandatory; special regulations exist, for example, for young people and expectant and nursing mothers (see Youth Employment Protection Act, Maternity Protection Act).
Technical protection regulations exist with regard to the design of the workplace (e.g. Workplace Ordinance), the work process (e.g. Load Handling Ordinance) and the workplace, the technical and ergonomically correct condition of work equipment and work machines, the wearing of protective clothing and protective equipment (see Ordinance on Safety and Health Protection in the Use of Personal Protective Equipment at Work), radiation protection in the case of radioactive substances and X-rays, equipment and plant safety, the avoidance of noise pollution, hazards in the handling of hazardous substances or microorganisms and other impairments at the workplace.
Further protective regulations exist for employees who, for example, perform particularly hazardous work or come into contact with hazardous substances (see Hazardous Substances Ordinance, Biological Substances Ordinance) or with certain genetically modified microorganisms (see Genetic Engineering Act) during their work. Such employees may have to undergo a medical examination at regular intervals.
The works council (staff council) has extensive participation rights with regard to compliance with the regulations applicable to the protection of employees (Works Constitution Act). The employer must appoint specialists for occupational safety and company physicians (Occupational Safety Act).
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Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Familie, Arbeit und Soziales
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