On Tuesday last week, the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales – BMAS) released the new SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Rule (hereinafter referred to as the “Occupational Health and Safety Rule”) for publication in the Ministerial Gazette. The Occupational Health and Safety Rule will come into force in August 2020.
The new Occupational Health and Safety Rule essentially contains specifications of the General Occupational Health and Safety Standards developed in April 2020 in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic https://zl-legal.de/bmas-veroeffentlicht-sars-cov-2-arbeitsschutzstandards/) .
The aim of the Occupational Health and Safety Rule is to reduce the risk of infection for employees. Key measures remain distance, hygiene and the wearing of a mouth-nose cover. In addition to definitions of terms and specifications of the protective measures already contained in the General Occupational Health and Safety Standards, the Occupational Health and Safety Rule also provides detailed instructions for dealing with employees who are particularly in need of protection and those employees returning to their workplace after having overcome COVID-19 illness.
The Occupational Health and Safety Rule, together with the General Occupational Health and Safety Standards, provides the health authorities with a foundation for assessing whether and to what extent protective measures are being observed. Existing protection and hygiene concepts should therefore be critically reviewed and, if necessary, adapted to the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Rule. As already explained in our article of 23 April, 2020 https://zl-legal.de/bmas-veroeffentlicht-sars-cov-2-arbeitsschutzstandards/), in the case of infringements, in addition to liability under the law of obligations towards the injured employees, in individual cases there is even a criminal or regulatory responsibility of the persons acting on behalf of the employer and the employer’s company (sec. 130 Law on Misdemeanours – OWiG).
The occupational health and safety rules can be found at https://www.baua.de/DE/Angebote/Rechtstexte-und-Technische-Regeln/Regelwerk/AR-CoV-2/pdf/AR-CoV-2.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=6.
We will of course keep you informed of any further changes in the legal situation.
|Dr. Lorenz Mitterer||Katharina Schlonsak|
|Specialist lawyer for labour law|