There can be manifold reasons for deciding on an occupational safety management system. Chief amongst these are a reduction in the number of accidents and working days lost, but also, increasingly, customer requirements. In our experience, there is a particular demand for occupational safety management systems for contractors, in the chemicals industry, but even in machine engineering (e.g. in connection with CE management).
Occupational safety management systems can be based on various standards:
Occupational safety management systems assist the entrepreneur in implementing the requirements in terms of occupational health and safety legislation which are becoming more and more complex. The focus of management systems for us is the concept of legal certainty for the enterprise.
For a number of years now, BfU has been providing companies with safety engineers and specialists for occupational safety with management experience to support them in introducing and maintaining occupational safety management systems.
The introduction of an occupational safety management system can also be attractive from a financial point of view. The reorganization of the contribution systems means, for example, that employers' liability insurance associations will, in future, favour companies with low accident figures to a greater extent. On the other hand, financial support is often available for introducing management systems (e.g. introduction bonuses from employers' liability insurance associations and government funding programmes).
The operation of numerous items of machinery and equipment frequently requires company experts to be appointed. For example, operators of laser equipment for material processing or industrial enterprises with a high fire risk are affected by this requirement.
Often, shortcomings and conflicts arise with regard to technical requirements and training as well as the time resources available for carrying out duties. This may give rise to liability risks, particularly if the statutorily required experts are not appointed.
We support our customers in identifying required experts and assist them in deciding whether complete outsourcing of the adviser function or specific or time-limited support is more effective.
Our occupational health and safety experts are trained on the basis of the applicable statutory regulations and undergo regular further training.
We can undertake the following external adviser functions in occupational health and safety for our customers:
We also offer the placement of the following advisers in the area of environmental protection:
Companies now have a duty, in principle, to prove that they provide their employees with workplaces that have a legally compliant design. They must also show that the machinery and equipment are objectively appropriate and have been tested. This finds expression, in particular, in hazard assessments in accordance with the Arbeitsschutzgesetz (Occupational Health and Safety Act), the Betriebssicherheitsverordnung (Ordinance on Industrial Safety) and the Gefahrstoffverordnung (Ordinance on Hazardous Substances). The entrepreneur must carry out the assessments here and provide certificates that comply with the regulations. We provide support for our customers, from preparing transparent assessment concepts through to conducting the assessments, including provision of the required certificates. Our extensive experience in assessing workplaces and machinery / equipment gives us a pool of evaluations, whose outcomes are available for us to provide effective assistance to our customers. Our support in the context of the assessment takes the form of ensuring that the technology is state of the art, taking into account the principles of cost-effective activity.
Against the background of a general increase in work intensity, consideration of psychological stresses in occupational hazard assessments is currently being highlighted.
A brief presentation of the current state of affairs is available here.
Additionally, the grandfathering for machines will be dispensed with the amendment of the Betriebssicherheitsverordnung (Ordinance on Industrial Safety). This and further changes are available for you in the presentation linked here.
You can also watch our new video about the Betriebssicherheitsverordnung (Ordinance on Industrial Safety)
Scientific findings have shown an increase in psychological stress in the workplace across numerous industries. This is clearly illustrated by the “Stress Report Germany 2012” (Stressreport Deutschland 2012) published by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin) in January.
Within the work programme “Psyche” run by the Joint German Occupational Health and Safety Strategy (Gemeinsamen Deutschen Arbeitsschutzstrategie, GDA), a strategy created by the government, federal states and accident insurance institutions with the aim of improving working conditions in companies, at least 12,000 companies will be visited by regulatory inspectors from the federal states and accident insurance companies by the end of 2017. One of the key aspects of these company inspections is to check the company processes for assessing the risk of psychological stress at work.
The German Employment Protection Act (Arbeitsschutzgesetz) does not currently contain any concrete specifications for carrying out risk assessments. In practice, it has become clear how necessary it is to set individually adjusted assessment methods and suitable criteria for the evaluation of psychological stress in each company.
We will support you in your choice of suitable instruments for assessing psychological stress in the workplace by considering the individual issue in question, the industry and the desired depth of analysis. We will organise and lead the process for you as well as bringing all those involved in the risk assessment together. In doing so, we will also coordinate the integration of ergonomic experts where necessary, e.g. psychologists with experience in the workplace.
We will gladly support you in assessing the risk of psychological stress in your company through the following tasks:
Transforming risk assessment into a continuous company process
Employee instruction is an important component in a legally compliant business organization. We identify the necessary instruction elements for our customers on the basis of hazard assessments. Support here ranges from setting up instruction matrices to preparing modular training documents through to carrying out the courses of instruction for the employees. What matters here is to tailor the courses of instruction to the customer's individual needs and to organize them such that the statutory requirements are complied with while leaving the business processes largely undisturbed.
At the moment we offer you the following free short instruction material (in German):
We provide support for implementing requirements on equipment in potentially explosive areas as set out in the German Ordinance on Safety and Health.
Our service offering ranges from risk assessment (determining and assessing explosion risks) to developing appropriate protection concepts and preparing explosion prevention documents through to performing duties of the Qualified Person in accordance with the Technical Rules for Operational Safety (TROS).
In addition, we advise our customers on selecting equipment for use in potentially explosive areas, thereby supporting the requirements on the quality of the equipment.
The handling of hazardous substances has always required the identification and, where applicable, implementation of information about their storage and use. To standardize these regulations throughout Europe (and also with a view to global standardization), the European Union has now issued far-reaching regulations, which are regularly updated.
These include regulations such as REACH (Regulation (EC) 1907/2006) or CLP (Regulation (EC) 1272/2008), but also regulations concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals (Regulation (EC) 649/2012).
In addition to chemicals legislation, other requirements such as product legislation (e.g. Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment - RoHS) or waste legislation (e.g. Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment - WEEE) may be of relevance.
The plethora of these regulations and corresponding national transpositions, from laws to technical rules, make it difficult for companies to identify all the necessary measures in good time and to implement them in their operations.
We provide individual assistance to our customers in handling substances, mixtures or articles (products) and answer questions on REACH and CLP as well as on the implementation of the current Gefahrstoffverordnung (Ordinance on Hazardous Substances - GefStoffV).
We provide the following support in terms of hazardous substance management:
Operational health management serves to manage, design and develop operational structures and processes with a view to rendering work, organization, and workplace behaviour conducive to health.
The aim is to maintain the health of employees and thereby increase the company's productivity, product and service quality and innovativeness.
It is initially important to identify and analyze workplace stresses (both psychological and physical). The next step is to minimize employees' stress so as to counter problems like absenteeism, staff turnover, occupational illnesses and early retirement.
Not only employees, but also management, the Human Resources department and the works council are included at all levels by means of a variety of measures.
Internal communication within operational health management plays a special role here. Providing employees with extensive information about health-related issues and current programmes supports transparency, increases participation and ensures a verifiable increase in participation in health promotion programmes.
Setting up operational health management therefore gives rise to a situation in which employee satisfaction, motivation, identification with the company and working atmosphere are also fostered. Satisfied and healthy employees increase the corporate image in the sense of corporate social responsibility, an important factor against the background of a shortage of skilled workers and the competition that arises as a result.
We will be pleased for our team to assist you in implementing an operational health management system that is adapted to your company's needs, based on DIN Spec 91020.
Safety concept / risk assessments
An effective safety concept requires intelligent and cost-efficient solutions. We do not see safety equipment as being in competition with productivity. BfU's concept is to bring functional safety and productivity together.
The crucial factor here is that the safety concept is formulated in close collaboration with our customers in order to optimize the costs of implementation, the interplay between employee and machine, as well as productivity and the extent of maintenance. We provide the risk assessment for your machinery (new build or retrofit) and, based on the results, we present detailed solutions which ensure that the safety of the equipment is state of the art, taking into account the applicable national and/or international standards and directives. The aim of the risk assessment is to detect existing risks, to assess them and to define risk reduction measures.
Safety design includes
System integration includes
Validation / approval / analysis of existing machinery
Have the protective measures been correctly implemented? Has safety been designed correctly in relation to the control system of your machine and has it been implemented in accordance with the safety regulations? Our service includes an on-site examination with subsequent evaluation and presentation of the results. Together with you, we analyze the machinery's workflow in order to determine the main hazards. This includes:
CE Conformity Assessment Procedure
Since 1 January 1995, manufacturers have been obliged to carry out the conformity assessment procedure on their machinery. By affixing the CE mark, manufacturers confirm that their machinery or equipment fulfils all required safety and health requirements laid down in the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. All machinery imported from non-EU countries, regardless of the year of construction, is required to have CE marking.
If individual machines that have already been CE-marked are integrated to form an assembly of machines (plant), the conformity assessment procedure, including CE marking, must be carried out for the entire plant.
The conformity assessment procedure, including CE marking, comprises:
The safety data sheet, also often referred to as SDS, is the main document of a hazardous substance in the supply chain for information sharing. The dissemination of a safety data sheet enables important information in respect of risks and protective measures for the safe handling of the product to be presented in summary form and communicated along the supply chain.
Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH) has more recently given rise to both structural and substantive changes to the SDS. The substantive changes relate to the new regulations for classification and labelling in accordance with the CLP Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 272/2008).
It is now a complex issue to prepare a factually and legally correct safety data sheet that complies with the specifications of the REACH Regulation and, in particular, Article 31 in conjunction with Annex II.
Ultimately, the distributor (importer or manufacturer) of a product is responsible for the content and correctness of the data made available in the safety data sheet. Safety data sheets that are prepared with a lack of professional care or have insubstantial contents may result in inadequate measures being taken to protect employees or the environment in the plants that use the hazardous substances.
Responsibility therefore always rests with the distributor, as he alone knows the precise formulation of his preparation and is thus able to provide correct and important information about the particular risks of his product.
The risk in preparing a safety data sheet is usually that the distributor of hazardous substances, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises, does not always have the necessary know-how or simply lacks the spare capacity.
Our team not only has the chemical and physical expertise, but also comprehensive knowledge of the legal provisions that apply at any one time.
Current legislation pursuant to Annex II No 1.3 of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 requires the safety data sheet to contain the supplier's complete address and telephone number as well as the e-mail address of a competent person responsible for the safety data sheet. We can perform the function of the competent person for you, thereby significantly relieving the pressure on you in the event of users' queries.
If you are unsure about how to prepare a safety data sheet, we will be pleased to advise you.
In addition to preparing safety data sheets, we can provide general support for you in matters relating to hazardous substance management. We support our customers on an individual basis, answering questions for them on matters relating to REACH, CLP or the current Gefahrstoffverordnung (Ordinance on Hazardous Substances).
Particularly nowadays, when more and more companies are receiving extended safety data sheets from their suppliers, we provide advisory support to our customers.
A presentation in respect of extended safety data sheets is available HERE.