Since the beginning of the Covid-19-pandemic, BAuA’s central concern has been to provide science-based recommendations on occupational health and safety measures to cope with the impacts of Covid-19 at work. This includes questions of technical equipment and PPE, of acute infection risks but also of longer-term health risks and consequences associated with the pandemic, such as stigmatisation, work-family conflicts as well as cardiometabolic and mental health risks.
In-house research and contribution to studies by BAuA’s cooperation partners are particularly important here. Research into the impacts of Covid-19 on occupational safety and health enables BAuA to give advice for specific groups of employees, e.g. groups of people with high stress levels. For example, an ongoing research project of BAuA is taking a close look at the operational implementation of measures aiming to prevent Covid-19 infections at company level.
First findings of this survey amongst almost 800 OSH professionals show that these professionals paint an overall positive picture of the implementation of occupational safety and infection control measures in German companies. The majority of companies have already taken initial measures in February and March 2020. Active communication and instruction, providing personal protective equipment and ensuring social distancing are at the top of the list. Working from home, where possible, is also mentioned by more than 90 percent of the interviewees.
Already in the first wave of the pandemic, BAuA has contributed to implementing the growing knowledge on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as quickly as possible. One of the major activities was to provide comprehensive advice to policy makers. Coordinated by BAuA, the occupational health and safety committees at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs jointly developed the German SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
It came into force on 20 August 2020 and specifies the occupational health and safety requirements for the period of the epidemic situation of national scope in accordance with paragraph 5 of the German Infection Protection Law. Covering all areas of economic activity, it presents numerous measures that reduce the infection risk for employees. Thus, the Covid-19 OSH regulation is an essential guideline that supports German companies in dealing with SARS-CoV-2.
Dr. Sebastian Haus-Rybicki