OSH in office environments
Help for companies to meet their obligations.
MM/SW – 03/2019
of the goals of the European Commission’s Occupational Safety and Health
Strategic Framework 2014-2020 is to provide support to companies, especially
small and micro enterprises, so that it is easier for them to comply with
health and safety rules.
was also reinforced in the Commission’s Communication of 10 January 2017 on ‘Safer and Healthier Work for
All - Modernisation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health Legislation and
Policy’. Businesses must be helped to comply with occupational safety and
health regulations. This is particularly important for small and micro
enterprises because the positive impact of better OSH has the greatest
potential in these businesses, but a lack of understanding of existing OSH
rules means they are often not put in place.
The German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) recently published
DGUV Sectoral Rule 115-401 for the Office Businesses Sector in English. This
guide also acts as a means of exchanging best practices.
What are DGUV Sectoral Rules?
hidden hazards are associated with sitting at your desk all day? Everyone
understands that you need a safety helmet on a construction site and gloves
when working with chemicals. However, glass doors without safety markings or
the wrong computer monitor can also be hazardous to health or result in an
occupational illness. Similarly, poorly organised work, a lack of feedback or
haphazard responsibilities can have a negative impact on a worker’s mental
Sectoral Rules are recommendations for which measures to put in place in
order to meet occupational safety and health requirements. The rules are not
legally binding. The rules are targeted primarily
at employers and are particularly helpful as a guide for small and medium
German Social Accident Insurance publishes its Sectoral Rules to help companies
with occupational safety and health measures that are targeted specifically to
their sector. The rules are drawn up by experts from the DGUV and other
organisations, together with company OSH representatives. They summarise German
OSH regulations, accident prevention rules, OSH standards and numerous
statutory requirements specific to a sector. They also contain a myriad of
practical tips and advice for implementing occupational safety and health in a
the background of globalisation and an emerging start-up culture in Germany,
there are more and more offices run by English-speaking owners and managers or
which have English-speaking employees, and not just in the big cities. To help
them cut through the red tape of ‘German legalese’ in the area of occupational
safety and health, the German Social Accident Insurance has recently published its
Sectoral Rule for the Office
Businesses Sector in English. Using the guide, employers can address the risks and
hazards to the safety and health of their employees which often lurk beneath
the surface of their everyday work, and at the same time create a work
environment that promotes good health.