Occupational safety is a topic that concerns every company – regardless of whether a single employee or thousands of employees work there. For smaller companies, however, there is the possibility of covering legal requirements in the area of occupational safety through the so-called “entrepreneur model”.
This variant is often considered to be simpler and not infrequently cheaper, but is this really true?
The goal of this article is to help them know how to sort your business into the right level of care and understand when the entrepreneur model makes sense for you.
Basis: DGUV Regulation 2
“DGUV” stands for Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (German Social Accident Insurance) and is an umbrella organization that bundles the concerns of commercial employers’ liability insurance associations and accident insurers. The DGUV regulation number 2, which was developed there, deals with the complex of topics “company physicians and workplace safety specialists” and thus contains exactly the information that is relevant for the entrepreneur model. Incidentally, the regulation can be viewed on the Internet and is therefore transparent for everyone.
Two types of care: basic or regular care and operational or occasion-specific support.
In work safety, a fundamental distinction is made between two types of supervision, namely basic or regular supervision and company- or event-specific supervision. This is important to understand in order to understand why a workplace safety specialist is needed and where the entrepreneurial model may be sufficient.
- Basic supervision: Basic supervision covers – as the name suggests – the basic topics of occupational safety, which are to be worked through quite similarly at every company. These include, for example, the establishment and evaluation of risk assessments, the (safe/healthy) design of workplaces, procedures and environments, the selection of protective equipment and general instruction. The fact that workplaces must be inspected at regular intervals and any deficiencies identified must be reported to the employer is also part of basic supervision, as is participation in occupational safety committees (ASA) or works meetings.
- Company-specific or occasion-specific support: Here, too, the name says it all: in company-specific or occasion-specific support, topics are dealt with that depend on the special features of the company and must be considered specifically for the company or the concrete occasion. This includes, among other things, the introduction and assessment of innovations in operating facilities, work equipment, work processes or even hazardous substances used. But also topics such as cooperation with external companies, integration or reintegration, or the accumulation of health problems fall under this.
The person limits
To put it simply, a distinction is first made between companies with up to 10 and more than 10 employees. The next “magic limit” for companies with more than 10 employees is then the number 50: Companies with between 10 and 50 (note, in some industries already at 30!) employees can now choose the so-called entrepreneur model as an alternative to (external) regular supervision. Above 50 (or 30) employees, supervision by a workplace safety specialist is mandatory.
The specified scope of support
Basically, it should be said that occupational safety is really obligatory for every company. Just because you have not been asked about it before, or “nothing has happened” because you are doing “simple” work, such as at your desk, does not mean that there is therefore no obligation.
- Up to 10 employees: basic supervision + event-related supervision, whereby the basic supervision must be regularly repeated every 5 (in the above-mentioned sectors already after 3) years. The whole thing is supervised by a company doctor or a workplace safety specialist, or alternatively by a so-called competence center. The focus here is certainly on establishing risk assessments and deriving appropriate measures from them. Event-related support is particularly important for changes or new situations.
- 10 to 50 (or 30) employees: Alternative to (external) regular supervision:
The entrepreneur model
This model is of interest to entrepreneurs who are themselves actively involved in business operations. The prerequisite is that the entrepreneur is sensitized to the topic of occupational safety through so-called motivation and information measures, i.e. develops a good sense of when and where occupational safety is necessary and when there is a need for supervision by a company physician or a workplace safety specialist. In addition, entrepreneurs who opt for this model must regularly (at most every 5 years) participate in special training measures.
The entrepreneurial model therefore enables entrepreneurs to take over the regular supervision themselves. However, they still need a trusted occupational physician/workplace safety specialist to provide event-specific support.
Effort: Costs and time for further training of the entrepreneur at least every 5 years, time required for the evaluation of the topics in the own company, information effort about innovations in specifications.
Savings: Costs for regular supervision by an external workplace safety specialist or a corresponding service provided by the responsible employers’ liability insurance association.
Disadvantage: The entrepreneur must be personally responsible for the correctness of the measures. Support from a specialist advisor does not usually take place. This can have a negative effect when workplace conditions change, which is the rule for small, up-and-coming companies. In addition, many things have to be regularly tracked and documented, which tends to get lost in day-to-day operations.
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- Over 50 (or 30) employees: Appointment of a workplace safety specialist and supervision by a company physician to ensure basic supervision + company- or event-specific supervision.
- Occupational safety is relevant for every company, regardless of size and industry.
- A distinction is made between two types of support: basic or regular support and company-specific or event-specific support.
- The ways in which safety-related supervision can be guaranteed vary. They depend on the number of employees, i.e. whether the company has up to 10, between 10 and 50 (or 30) or over 50 employees.
- It is advisable for every company to have a workplace safety specialist or a company doctor on hand who can provide support for company-specific or event-specific issues.
- If the entrepreneur model is chosen, which is possible for up to 50 or 30 employees, the entrepreneur takes care of the regular supervision himself after special training. In return, however, he also bears the liability risk himself. We will be happy to help you keep your risk as low as possible.
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