EMPLOYMENT & BENEFITS | The new SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Rules

Dr. Hagen Köckeritz, LL.M. oec. int. and Hasine Azim (both Employment and Benefits Group of Mayer Brown LLP) had already reported on the uniform SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Standard (SARS-CoV-2 Arbeitsschutzstandard) as part of their “Back to Business after the Lockdown” article of 18 May 2020. The SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Standard, which was presented on 16 April 2020 by the Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, together with Dr. Stefan Hussy, Managing Director of the German Social Accident Insurance (Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung), contains general measures addressed to employers with the purpose to minimize the spread of the corona virus at the workplace.

The new SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Rules (SARS-CoV-2 Arbeitsschutzregeln) have now been published in the Joint Ministerial Gazette. They came into force on 20 August 2020. The new SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Rules were jointly drafted by the Occupational Health and Safety Committees at the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs under the coordination of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin). The rules shall in principle apply to all areas of economic life.

The SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Rules start with a description of the scope, followed by providing some definitions (e.g.: SARS-CoV-2, filtering half-mask) and a section on risk assessment. Subsequently, the protective measures (based on the 17 points from the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Standard) as well as specifications for occupational medical prevention are explained. Finally, further protective measures for special workplaces and special company facilities (e.g. construction sites, accommodation) are presented in the appendix.

It is particularly worth mentioning that the new SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Rules specify the generally described protective measures in the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Standard. At the same time, the new SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Rules contain additional occupational health and safety measures required for protection against the infection at the workplace during the corona pandemic. In any case, employers observing these rules can expect to act compliantly with respect to occupational safety and health requirements in connection with the current pandemic.

The following link leads you to the new SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Safety and Health Rules (as published in the Joint Ministerial Gazette): SARS-CoV-2-Arbeitsschutzregel (German language only)

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