07.11.2014 |

LOGFILE No. 34/2014 - Safety in the workplace

Safety in the workplace / Occupational health and safety

An excerpt from the GMP MANUAL

by Dr. Michael Hiob



Good practical knowledge of the workplaces and processes used in the company and regular communication with personnel are a prerequisite for professional and efficient preventive healthcare. The assessment of the working conditions should be carried out in close cooperation with the expert for safety in the workplace.

Experts for safety in the workplace support the employer in all matters relating to occupational health and safety, accident prevention, safety in the workplace and organisation of the work in an ergonomic way.

They have to

1. Advise the employer and other persons responsible for health and safety and accident prevention, especially with regard to

  • Planning, implementation and maintenance of the production facilities as well as social facilities and sanitary equipment
  • Procurement of technical equipment and introduce work processes and materials
  • Selecting and testing protective equipment
  • Designing the workplaces, workflow, working environment and other ergonomic issues
  • Assessing the working conditions

2. Carry out a safety check on the machinery and technical equipment before commissioning and check the safety of work processes before they are introduced

3. Observe the implementation of measures for occupational health and safety and accident prevention. This involves

  • Inspecting the workplaces at regular intervals and reporting any detected faults to the employer or person responsible for occupational health and safety and accident prevention, suggesting measures to remove these faults and supporting the implementation of these measures
  • Checking whether protective equipment is being used
  • Analysing the causes of occupational accidents, documenting and evaluating the findings and suggesting measures for preventing occupational accidents

4. Ensure that all company employees behave in accordance with the requirements for occupational health and safety and accident prevention, inform them about the risk of accidents and health risks that they may be exposed to in the workplace as well as the facilities and measures used to prevent these risks, and assist in the training of safety representatives.

The employer must provide the employees with sufficient and adequate training on health and safety in the workplace during normal hours of work. This training must include instructions and information for the workplace or tasks of the individual employee. The training should take place when new employees are recruited, when employees are assigned new tasks or when new equipment or new technology is introduced, i.e. before the employee actually starts to work. It has to take new risks into account and must be repeated on a regular basis, if necessary. When assigning tasks to employees, the employer must, depending on the type of task, consider if the employees are in a position to fulfil the health and safety requirements and measures that need to be observed when performing these tasks.

In accordance with the occupational health and safety regulations, the employer must implement the occupational health and safety measures required depending on the factors that may affect the health and safety of the employees. The employer must check the effectiveness of these measures and adapt them as required. The aim is to improve employee occupational health and safety.

In many European countries, occupational health and safety is largely determined by the general directives of the EU. Most national occupational health and safety laws and regulations are based on these directives. Please note that this chapter relates mainly to the German occupational health and safety regulations, other national regulations may differ in some respects.

In recent years, safety in the workplace has moved from the prevention of accidents only to a comprehensive system of prevention. This also means that the psychological aspects of work are becoming increasingly important. Safety in the workplace now also includes ergonomic requirements, quality assurance and environmental protection. This is made clear by the current tendency to integrate quality, environmental protection and occupational health and safety management systems in the standards (integrated workplace management system).

The article is an excerpt of the new Chapter 2.B Health Monitoring and Occupational Health and Safety of our GMP MANUAL.


Dr. Michael Hiob
Ministry for Health of Land Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

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