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For the protection of employees' health, every employer is required to set up workplace health and safety arrangements, the scale of which depends on the size of the establishment and the hazards involved in the production process. In all cases, employers must fulfil (either personally or by delegation to third parties) the obligations imposed on them under the regulations on protection against technical hazards at work . In certain cases they also have to appoint works doctors , safety officers and works safety experts , a data protection officer , pollution control and radiation protection officers and a disabled-employee officer , and set up a health and safety committee . The works council performs an important function within the workplace health and safety arrangements. It has co-determination rights as regards arrangements for the prevention of accidents at work and occupational illnesses and for health protection, particularly in connection with changes to jobs, work methods and the work environment. The works council's tasks also include monitoring compliance with health and safety legislation and regulations, advising the employer on health protection matters and co-operating with the Labour Inspectorate and the institutions responsible for statutory accident insurance . To enable the works council to perform these functions, the employer must provide it with prompt and comprehensive information. The basic elements of these workplace health and safety arrangements are regulated by the Works Constitution Act and the 1973 Occupational Health and Safety Act (Gesetz über Betriebsärzte, Sicherheitsingenieure und andere Fachkräfte für Arbeitssicherheit). This Act is not directly applicable to the public sector. Since, however, the public sector is required to provide equivalent protection in terms of industrial medicine and work safety for employees, health and safety arrangements there are basically the same as those in the private sector.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.

Page last updated: 14 August, 2009