Occupational health and safety covers all statutory provisions which obligate employers to protect their employees and to create and maintain safe and dignified working conditions. Such provisions are included in many different national and international legal sources.
Risks for employers
In the event of violations, employers are facing severe fines in addition to personal criminal and civil liability of executives. In addition, the various occupational health and safety regulations have considerable potential for further conflict. Works councils, for example, enjoy comprehensive co-determination, information, and monitoring rights. Incorrect implementation or even disregard of obligations under occupational health and safety law may easily lead to disputes under individual or collective law, which tend to considerably disrupt the industrial peace.
What actions should employers take?
Against this backdrop, employers are strongly advised to pay particular attention to ensuring adequate health and safety at work. This includes, in particular, checking the company for potential sources of hazards and establishing a legally compliant occupational health and safety system in which specific duties are delegated and documented at each hierarchical level.
Employers enjoy far-reaching scope in the choice of their measures, offering them the advantage of concepts being developed independently and used cost-effectively and efficiently. On the other hand, however, this leeway also goes hand in hand with a lower degree of legal certainty and an increased need for advice.