On April 16, 2020, the Federal Minister of Labour and the Director General of the DGUV presented the new SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety standard. The document describes the additional protective measures needed to protect employees from the virus, especially when returning to work.
The key points of the immediately applicable standard are as follows:
- Complementing the occupational health and safety (OHS) measures that continue to apply with operational measures to protect against infection by the virus
- Use social dialogue, involve occupational safety experts, broaden the range of care provided to employees, possibly by telephone
- Maintain a safety distance of at least 1.5 metres in buildings, outdoors and in vehicles
- Organize processes so that employees have as little direct contact as possible
- Leave the workplace in case of recognizable symptoms and check his or her state of health
- Provide additional protection in case of unavoidable direct contact
- Take additional hygiene measures
- Calling on the occupational doctor to provide advice and protect groups at risk in particular
- Develop operational routines for pandemic preparedness and cooperate with local health authorities to identify, inform and possibly isolate other potentially infected people
- Communicate actively around the principle that “health comes first”.
The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) will also set up a group of advisers to respond to the development of the pandemic and make adjustments to occupational safety standards, if necessary.