Occupational Health and Safety Act

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Basic data
Title: Law on the implementation of occupational health and safety measures to improve the safety and health protection of employees at work
Short title: Occupational Health and Safety Act
Abbreviation: ArbSchG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Employment Law
References : 805-3
Issued on: August 7, 1996
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1246 )
Entry into force on: August 21, 1996
Last change by: Art. 293 Regulation of June 19, 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1328, 1362 )
Effective date of the
last change:
June 27, 2020
(Art. 361 of June 19, 2020)
Weblink: Text of the ArbSchG
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (abbreviation ArbSchG ) is a German law for the implementation of EU directives on occupational safety .

The aim of the law is to ensure and improve the health of all employees - including those in the public service - through occupational safety measures ( Section 1 ).

Essential content

A major innovation when the law was introduced was the risk assessment ( Section 5 ). It is an “assessment of the working conditions” and not an assessment of the employees. In addition to classic types of hazard such as “physical, chemical and biological effects”, hazards that result from “the design of work and manufacturing processes, work processes and their interaction” and “insufficient qualification and instruction of employees” ( Section 5 ) must also be assessed .

With the amendment of October 2013, the point of psychological stress was also explicitly formulated in the risk assessment (Section 5, Paragraph 3, No. 6).

The effectiveness of the preventive measures resulting from the risk assessment of the working conditions must be checked ( Section 3 ). The focus of the Occupational Safety and Health Act on working conditions and not on individual employees means that the prevention measures must be combated at their source and that individual protective measures (personal protective equipment) are subordinate to other measures ( Section 4 ). Documentation is required ( § 6 ).

The employer must also ensure that his employees receive regular (at least annual) training ( Section 12 ).

The employer can delegate tasks and obligations to suitable employees ( § 7 , § 13 ), but remains obliged in any case to monitor the fulfillment of the assigned tasks.

For their part, employees must observe the employer's instructions and ensure that their work does not endanger other people ( Section 15 ). You are also obliged to report any deficiencies that may have an impact on safety and health to the employer ( Section 16 ).


Sections 18 and 19 of the OccupationalSafety and HealthAct form the basis for the authorization to issue statutory ordinances in the field of safety and health at work. On this basis, the following ordinances were issued by July 2013:


In Germany, the Occupational Safety and Health Act affects important provisions of the Works Constitution Act . In companies with works councils, this results in a duty of supervision and co-determination for these employee representatives. How risk assessments, preventive measures, effectiveness checks and the documentation requirement are to be implemented in specific cases can be regulated in company agreements. This gives companies and works councils new possibilities for work planning. For example, a works council for employees in administration or in the IT department can ensure that project plans contain risk assessments for work density and workload in order to prevent mental and psychosomatic illnesses. The employer's duty to document and monitor the effectiveness of preventive measures is also helpful. Corresponding company agreements can now ensure that this obligation is fulfilled in specific project planning.


  1. http://www.ergonassist.de/Uebersicht_EU_Recht_K.htm
  2. This means that employers, when implementing the Occupational Safety and Health Act , can fall back on experience with the introduction of the general remuneration agreement , in which an evaluation of employees was not agreed, but an evaluation of work tasks.
  3. For the definition of psychological stress, see EN ISO 10075 .
  4. Jens Gäbert, Brigitte Maschmann-Schulz: Codetermination in Health Protection, 2008, ISBN 978-3-7663-3498-5 (implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, codetermination, company agreements, etc.).
  5. Horst Schmitthenner : Good work as an operational policy field of action - using co-determination in health protection ( memento of the original from October 7, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in Jürgen Peters u. Horst Schmitthenner: Gute Arbeit , 2003, ISBN 978-3-89965-025-9 . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.vsa-verlag.de


  • Norbert Franz Kollmer / Klindt (Hrsg.): Arbeitsschutzgesetz. Comment. 2nd Edition. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-59018-4 .
  • Ralf Pieper: Labor Protection Act. Basic commentary on the ArbSchG . 5th, revised edition. Bund-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-7663-6000-7 .
  • Ralf Pieper: ArbSchR - industrial safety law. Occupational Safety Act, Occupational Safety Act and other occupational safety regulations .: Commentary for practice . 4th, revised edition. Bund-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2010, ISBN 978-3-7663-3852-5 (authors of the previous editions: Michael Kittner, Ralf Pieper).

Web links