The legal provisions on occupational health and safety are intended to protect the life and health of workers in their occupational activities. Humane working conditions and a high standard of safety in companies reduce the economic and operational costs of accidents at work and work-related illnesses.
As in almost all areas, the same applies to employee protection: the meaningfulness and success of company measures stand and fall with the commitment and conviction of those affected – and in this case, that means employers and employees alike. If workers’ protection is only seen as an annoying ‘appendage’ in the workplace, then only half-hearted alibi actions are taken – which probably bring nothing but costs and effort. For example, it was experienced that the obligation to evaluate and document only had a really positive and noticeable effect in companies where it was seen as an opportunity and a sensible measure.
If employers and employees are equally convinced that the protection of employees is an important factor for a healthy, safe and productive company, something will change for the better!
Workplaces and evaluation
A large number of workplaces initially appear to be not very dangerous, whereas there are other workplaces where the hazards are obvious. In principle, it can be assumed that health hazards can be present at any workplace, regardless of whether it is an office workplace or, for example, a workplace with biological agents or other hazardous substances.
Hazards result, among other things, from the workplace and the work procedures and work processes used there. Increasing importance is also being attached to mental stress at the workplace, which is often the result of increasing work intensification and inadequate work organisation.
Generally speaking, the term “evaluation” means the accompanying control and assessment of a process. In the field of worker protection, the word “evaluation” means that a specific work process is monitored and assessed in terms of safety and health protection. The result is the elimination of identified deficiencies and the continuous improvement of safety and health at work. This process must be documented in the so-called “safety and health documents”.
Control, assessment, improvement and documentation
Evaluation in the sense of worker protection is therefore a process in which hazards related to work are identified, assessed and subsequently eliminated, whereby all these steps are to be documented. The aim of the evaluation is to systematically determine and assess all existing hazards in order to derive suitable protective measures. Evaluations must be carried out for all workplaces without exception.
Further information in german on this topic can be found, for example, on the AUVA website under Evaluation (risk assessment).