Occupational safety and health in Europe

Focus on better implementation of existing rules.
The BDA is in favour of establishing common minimum conditions in the area of occupational health and safety.

Germany has a highly developed system of occupational health and safety, with both state elements and forms of organization based on professional associations. At European level, a large number of directives have been issued in the field of occupational health and safety since the Single European Act in 1987. It is important not only to agree on the creation of directives, but also to ensure that the member states can implement and apply these directives at the same level in their own countries.

The path to a uniform minimum level throughout Europe must not end in excessive and complicated regulation. The BDA therefore advocates that the European Union focus on voluntary measures. During the current Covid 19 pandemic, mobile working has gained in importance. However, this is not a reason for new regulation. Rather, the recent increase in mobile working is evidence that employers and employees are able to find practical solutions on their own. Flexibility should be the guiding principle.

Where binding minimum standards are required, such as for the protection of workers from exposure to noise, directives must set limit values that correspond to current, realistic risk assessments. As was the case in the Strategic Framework for Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020, the new strategic framework for the coming years should place a clear focus on improving the implementation of existing legislative and non-legislative initiatives. We reject further legislation and EU directives, such as a general right to be unavailable. Not because we do not take this issue seriously for employers and employees, but because there are already numerous excellent and practical measures at national level in Germany to shape work well - also with regard to psyche and extended accessibility. Additional guidelines that may not be fully in line with existing statutory regulations, national standards and recommendations for action - such as those of the employers' liability insurance associations - would help neither employers nor employees.

The most important directives in the field of occupational health and safety are:
  • Framework directive on occupational health and safety
  • Workplaces
  • Screen work
  • Load handling
  • Maternity protection
  • Noise
  • Vibrations
  • Asbestos
  • Optical radiation (laser)
  • Exposure to electromagnetic fields at the workplace
Arbeitgeberportal