Safety representatives and works council members

Safety representatives play a special role in the field of safety and health in companies. They put forward the views of the employees on all occupational safety and health issues and thus contribute towards worker's participation.

Employers, general managers or their designated representatives cannot therefore exercise the function of a safety representative.

Safety representatives carry out the following tasks:

  • They inform, support and advise employees and works council members on occupational safety and health issues
  • They represent the interests of the workers vis-a-vis employers and authorities, and cooperate with employees' organisations
  • They advise employers on the implementation of occupational safety and health measures
  • They ensure that the necessary safety precautions are taken and report any shortcomings to the employers
  • Their task includes encouraging the use of protection measures
  • They should cooperate with preventive specialists
  • They are not subject to directives.

If there is no works council in the company, employers must listen to and involve the safety representatives in all important issues: in the planning and introduction of new technologies, in the selection of work equipment and agents, in the arrangement of working conditions, in the selection of personal safety devices, in risk assessment, the specification of measures and the organisation of instructions. Safety representatives have special information rights (access to documents on safety and health protection, the records on accidents at work, measurement results etc.), particularly when no employees' bodies have been elected.

All companies which regularly employ more than ten workers are required to have a safety representative. They are appointed for four years. The works council and/or the employees have to agree to their appointment.

Only those employees may be appointed as safety representatives who possess the necessary personal and specialist abilities. A course lasting 24 hours has to be attended in order to acquire the necessary specialist knowledge. Employers have to give safety representatives the opportunity to acquire and extend their specialist knowledge, and sufficient time and resources have to be available to carry out this work in an appropriate way.

Letzte Änderung am: 03.02.2020