OSH system at national level - Austria

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  IOM

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Réka Zayzon, Carsten Brück, Kooperationsstelle Hamburg IFE GmbH, Germany; Charlotte Salomon Zentral-Arbeitsinspektorat, Austria (chapters 4.1, 4.2.1 and 4.2.2)

Occupational safety and health legislative framework

Since the mid-19th century, Austria has had regulations and regulatory authorities to protect the life and health of workers. The European occupational safety and health (OSH) regulations have been transposed into national legislation, the harmonization having already commenced before Austria joined the European Union in 1995. The Health and Safety at Work Act[1] provides the main framework for regulating OSH in Austria. It came into force on Jan 1st 1995, and since then has been amended several times to adapt to new circumstances and emerging needs. The last major amendment was made in 2006. The Act introduced a new, preventive approach, emphasizing risk management principles, such as hazard prevention, risk assessment, consideration of technical standards, hazard elimination at source, elimination or reduction of risks, priority of collective protection compared to personal protection, planned protection against hazards, consideration of the human factor in working processes, and adequate instructions for workers. The following provisions represent improvements on the previous Employee Protection Act:

  • Obligation of the employer to conduct risk assessment
  • Documentation in written form of the risk assessment and of risk management measures and accessibility of these documents to the employees and their representatives
  • Mutual information and coordination between employers on construction sites where workers from different companies are employed
  • Delegation of safety representatives
  • Information, consultation and involvement of employees in OSH
  • Cessation of work in an emergency; obligation of workers to intervene to eliminate risks in such circumstances
  • Obligation when handling dangerous substances to conduct specific assessments and measurements, and put protection measures in place, according to a priority list
  • Specific (obligatory as well as optional) medical surveillance in case of certain exposure types and activities
  • Ergonomic design of computer work places; the right of employees to have breaks; special eye checks and glasses
  • Gradual introduction of safety and health assistance for all employees (with certain exemptions for small and medium sized enterprises.

Different aspects of work-related risks are regulated by the national law, such as the use of dangerous machines and equipment, dangerous substances, strains deriving from working processes and the working environment, the design of workplaces and of sanitary rooms, the working conditions of young workers and pregnant women, as well as working time and rest.

In Austria, the employers have the overall responsibility for the occupational safety and health of their employees. The organization of OSH management may vary depending on the size of the company, the sector and organizational form. However, all companies must have representatives who are responsible for OSH. The employer commonly delegates his OSH responsibilities to specialized safety personnel or contracts an external prevention service.

Main legislative acts:

  • Act of 1994 concerning OSH [1] and related regulations
  • Federal Labour Inspection Act [2]
  • Ordinance No.1997/27 of the Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs concerning health surveillance at the workplace [3]
  • Maternity Protection Act [4]
  • Federal Act on Child Labour and Young Workers from 1987 [5]

National strategy and programmes

The current Austrian Occupational Safety and Health Strategy covers the period 2013 - 2020[6] and follows the former OSH Strategy 2007-2012 [7].

Austrian experiences from previous occupational safety and health strategies have shown that good cooperation of all stakeholders involved in the field of safety and health at work is crucial for the success of the strategy. For that reason, the Austrian OSH Strategy 2013 – 2020 further extends the cooperation of all stakeholders. The new strategy links national and regional stakeholders in the field of OSH such as Ministries, accident insurances, social partners as well as OSH representatives. A common resolution was set to define the goals to reduce workplace accidents and occupational diseases.[8].

The Austrian OSH Strategy is a process and consensus oriented umbrella strategy: with only a few fixed rules and objectives. The given flexibility and room shall support the OSH bodies to act responsible, to be motivated and innovative. There is a fixed structure of the bodies consisting of the Advisory Committee for Workers Protection (Arbeitnehmerschutzbeirat, National coordinators, the Strategic Platform, the Network of Labour Inspectorates with regional coordinators and the evaluation team. They follow the resolution, laid down by the Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, other relevant ministries, social partners, accident insurances and other institutions relevant for OSH issues. The objectives of the strategy are proposed by the OSH bodies on the basis of the joint resolution and approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Strategy Advisory Board.

The OSH strategy sticks to the main goals and issues of the former OSH strategy 2007 – 2012, including the following adaptions and changes:

  • Four instead of five expert committees: repealing the expert committee “OSH strategy”,
  • Creating a strategic platform,
  • Setting up an committee for evaluation,
  • Greater involvement of employers, the chamber of commerce and the Federation of Industries

In the current strategy document the following objectives were set:

  • the reduction of work-related health risks, particularly strains on the musculoskeletal system and mental stress factors and the reduction of accidents at work
  • the improvement of risk assessment and support via preventive specialists
  • the strengthening of awareness and improvements in the initial and further education and training (both at school and in universities) for occupational safety and health.

The Advisory Committee for Workers Protection officially appoints the leaders of

  • the four working groups
  • the strategic platform
  • the evaluation team

The Labour Inspectorate published a list of members of the four working groups[9]. Members of the strategic platform are:

  • AUVA - Austrian Social Insurance for Occupational Risks,
  • WKO - Austrian Federal Economic Chamber,
  • IV - Federation of Austrian Industries,
  • BAK - the Federal Chamber of Labour,
  • ÖGB - Confederation of Austrian Trade Unions,
  • ÖÄK - Austrian Medical Association,
  • ZAI – Central Labour Inspectorate.

The four working groups and the Evaluation Team work within thematic areas which have been specified by the Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board (ASB):

  • Working group 1: Improvement of risk assessment and risk awareness
    • Special focus on micro and SME – developing guidance documents for
    • Temporary and mobile workplaces
    • Implementation of the safety and health document (construction sites)
    • Classification of measures for risk classes
    • Vulnerable groups of workers (pregnant women, psychosocial problems, young workers, older workers)
    • Selection of PPE
    • Risk assessment of psychosocial risks and stress at work
  • Working group 2: Accident prevention
  • Working group 3: Prevention of work related and occupational diseases
  • Working group 4: Training and information regarding OSH issues

The evaluation team evaluates regularly the working groups, the strategic platform as well as the overall OSH strategy

Indicators for the evaluation of the OSH strategy 2007-2012[10]:

  • Number of workplace accidents
  • Days of absence due to psychosocial stress and MSD
  • Compliance with OSH legislation
  • Number of accesses on the website of the Labour inspectorate related to OSH.

Social dialogue

Due to Austria’s highly developed system of corporatism, social partnership plays a central role in policy-making. Social dialogue is widespread and highly institutionalised at cross-sectoral, sectoral, and enterprise level, and in different policy fields [11]. According to an ILO study, changes in economic structures and the world of work have lead to decreasing trade union membership and works councils (correlates to a lesser extent with representation at sectoral and enterprise level).[12] The main social dialogue partners are anchored in Austria’s political system, with the right to evaluate draft legislation, to draft legislation in their sphere of interest, and make recommendations to law-making bodies. They have the right of representation on numerous commissions, advisory boards and committees dealing with socio-economic issues, and to nominate candidates to act as lay judges at labour and social courts, as well as appointing assessors for the cartel court. They are also entitled to conduct collective bargaining.[11]

According to a Eurofound study on the Working Conditions and Social Dialogue in Austria[13], social dialogue regarding OSH is much less formalised than in the domain of income policy, and is initiated primarily on an ad-hoc basis.

Social dialogue at national level

Nevertheless, the rights of social partners in OSH issues are regulated by law, such as the composition of the OSH Advisory Board, a tripartite body playing a crucial role in developing legislation. The establishment of an OSH Advisory Board (Arbeitnehmerschutzbeirat) is stipulated by §91 of the Health and Safety at Work Act [1] in order to advise the Ministry of Labour, Health, and Social Affairs and inform it on the work of the prevention centers run by the accident insurance bodies. The OSH Advisory Board is convoked by the Central Labour Inspectorate and includes two representatives each from the social partners and expert organisations, such as the Chamber of Engineers, the Chamber of Medical Doctors, as well as the Austrian Social Insurance for Occupational Risks. The activities of the OSH Advisory Board are honorary.

At regional and company level, bi-annual meetings of the social partners with the Labour Inspectorate are stipulated by law, as is the right of the social partners to participate in certain inspection visits.

Austria has a mixed system of collective interest representation, consisting of voluntary associations and statutory representative bodies [12]. Traditionally, there are four major actors: the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB)[14], the Federal Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, BAK)[15], the Economic Chamber of Austria (Wirtschaftskammer, WKÖ)[16], and the Presidential Assembly of the Austrian Chambers of Agriculture. In addition, the Federation of Austrian Industries (Industriellenvereinigung, IV) [17] has been gaining significance and political influence since the 1980s. [12]

The Austrian Trade Union Federation is an umbrella organization for affiliated unions. It represents workers’ interests in collective agreements and is based on voluntary membership. The ÖGB offers legal advice and representation, as well as many other benefits to its members. It also has a major role in developing new laws; not only to initiate the drafting of bills, but also to provide reviews and comments on bills submitted by other bodies, which are then incorporated in the decision-making process.

The Federation of Austrian Industries is a voluntary body that represents the interests of Austrian industry, both domestically and in Europe.

Social dialogue at sectoral level

The traditional social partnership can be seen in the double chamber system in Austria. There are two distinct chambers, the Federal Chamber of Labour to represent workers, and the Economic Chamber of Austria for employers. Membership of these chambers is compulsory - the employers and workers pay a regular fee based on their wages to finance the chamber system. The chambers are involved in developing and monitoring legislation and public policy, providing advice, education and training on OSH questions.

The Federal Chamber of Labour consists of nine regional chambers and their umbrella organization the Vienna Chamber of Labour. It represents the interests of employees and consumers, including apprentices, those on maternity/paternity leave, as well as the unemployed and retired. Membership is compulsory for all employees, but civil servants and agricultural workers are exempt. Although involved in social partnership institutions, the Chambers of Labour do not negotiate collective agreements and do not represent their members internationally – these duties are exclusively performed by the trade union movement. The Federal Chamber of Labour also carries out and funds research to develop and support policy guidelines.

The Economic Chamber of Austria is made up of the Federal Economic Chamber (based in Vienna) and the nine Regional Chambers of the federal provinces. They are subdivided into seven industry sectors: (1) crafts and trades, (2) industry, (3) commerce, (4) banking and insurance, (5) transport and communications, (6) tourism and leisure, and (7) information and consulting. The sectors are divided into Trade Organisations, known as Trade Groups in the Regional Chambers and Trade Associations in the Federal Economic Chamber. In addition to the industry sectors, there are departments in the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (based in Vienna) and in the Regional Chambers, which are responsible for tasks related to policy, organisation and service provision.

In addition to WKÖ, there are also chambers for agriculture (under the umbrella of the Presidential Assembly of the Austrian Chambers of Agriculture) and for the liberal professions (e.g. Austrian Medical Chamber, Austrian Pharmacists’ Chamber, Austrian Lawyers’ Chamber, etc.) [12].

Social dialogue at enterprise level

At enterprise level, the interests of employees are represented by works councils or, in the public sector, by staff representatives. The Austrian OSH act [1] stipulates that companies with more than 10 workers must appoint, depending on the number of employees, at least one safety representative (Sicherheitsvertrauensperson, SVP). For each workplace where more than 50 staff works regularly, a safety representative must be appointed. Safety representatives are appointed by the employer, and must be approved by the works council. If there is no works council in the company, not more than one third of the workers may object to the application. Safety representatives are appointed for four years. Employers must notify the Labour Inspectorate in writing of the appointed safety representatives. The Labour Inspectorate must then inform the employees’ interest groups. In companies with more than 100 employees, an OSH committee must be established to act as an advisory and supervisory body at company level.

OSH infrastructure

OSH infrastructure schemes

Source: Figures provided by [18]

"Figure 1"
Figure 1: Enforcement of OSH
"Figure 2"
Figure 2: OSH Advisory council
"Figure 3"
Figure 3: Further stakeholders

National competent bodies

OSH authorities and Inspection services

Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy consisting of 9 federal states (Bundesländer), but the federal character is less pronounced than e.g. in Germany. The Austrian OSH infrastructure is characterised by a dual system of state inspection bodies and social insurance. The competent authority in OSH matters is the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Soziales und Konsumentenschutz)[18]. It is responsible for most employment related issues, namely: social security (insurance for pensions and unemployment), industrial relations, labour market policy, labour conditions and inspections, statistics, OSH, and vocational training. Some issues are not within its remit, such as the sickness and accident insurance for work injuries, which are covered by the Federal Ministry of Health. [12]

Enforcement of OSH-measures happens via the labour inspectorates and special units in regional governments and municipalities that have been installed to monitor safety and health of their employees.

The general Labour Inspectorate (Arbeitsinspektion)[19] is by far the larger of these bodies. It covers industries, services, the public sector, and transport - following the July 2012 merger with Inspectorate of Transport. It is centralised and acts nationwide through 16 regional departments and one central office. Newly recruited inspectors follow a two-year training programme, with the emphasis on legislation and general OSH principles. At level of the Federal States, nine regional Labour Inspectorates for Agriculture and Forestry are installed.

Like in other countries, the Austrian Labour Inspectorate has progressively changed its approach, increasingly focusing on advisory work. Only a small proportion of companies can be reached via inspections, so the Labour Inspectorate has enabling strategies to support compliance.

Since 2004, annual planning for the labour inspectorates has been centralized in all 9 states. Regional planning was replaced by agreements between the regional inspectorates and the central office.

OSH services

Every company in Austria has to obtain support from preventive services – this applies to the field of safety technologies as well as occupational health surveillance. This obligation is independent of the size of the company and is also valid for companies with only one employee. Differences only exist in the scale of the support provided.

Legislation lays down that workers must be looked after by an occupational physician and safety specialists. In workplaces with more than 50 employees there is a statutory minimum number of deployment hours (prevention hours). Other experts can also be brought in if necessary, such as occupational psychologists, chemists or ergonomists. Regular inspection visits are sufficient for smaller workplaces.

Special training is required to work as a safety expert or an occupational physician. The duration and contents of these training courses are laid down by the relevant legislation.[1]).

Preventive specialists have the task of advising employers, employees, safety representatives and works council members on all aspects of occupational safety and health. However, the ultimate responsibility for these matters always remains with the employer. Employers have to make the necessary information and documents available so that safety experts and occupational physicians can carry out their work. These include documents on safety and health protection, reports on accidents at work or the results of measurements (noise, dangerous materials or substances etc.) and examinations.

Preventive specialists have to be consulted on all safety and health issues, and particularly with regard to the following points:

  • The planning of workplaces
  • The procurement and changing of work equipment
  • The introduction or change of work processes and agents
  • The testing and selection of personal protective equipment
  • Issues related to occupational psychology, ergonomics and hygiene at work (particularly the design of work places, work processes and procedures).
  • The organisation of fire protection and evacuation
  • The organisation of first aid
  • The employment of people with disabilities (change of jobs, reintegration)
  • Determining and assessing risks
  • Laying down measures for the prevention of risks
  • Organising the instruction of employees and drawing up operating instructions
  • Administrative procedures related to occupational safety and health

Deployment times and support via inspection tours The minimum number of deployment hours (prevention hours) in larger workplaces depends on the number of employees there and the level of risk (workload). In the case of low levels of danger, such as in offices, 1.2 hours per employee are stipulated, while in all other jobs 1.5 hours per employee are laid down. A supplement of half an hour is added for all employees who have to work at night at least fifty times a year. The total number of prevention hours is primarily divided up between occupational physicians (at least 35 %) and safety experts (at least 40%). Other specialists can be deployed in the remaining time. [20]

According to § 77 ASchG [1], safety experts should spend time dedicated exclusively to prevention activities, which can also include:

  • Workplace checks and assistance at inspections by the Labour Inspectorate
  • Investigation of causes of occupational accidents and sources of occupational diseases
  • Further training (max. 15% of annual prevention time)
  • Work as member of the OSH board
  • Documentation of prevention activities, findings and results, reporting and developing OSH programmes
  • Coordination of safety experts.

In companies with up to 50 employees a different programme is used. In this case preventive work is carried out via inspection visits which take place either once a year (11 - 50 employees) or every third year (1 - 10 employees). These inspection visits are carried out jointly by an occupational physician and a safety expert.

Companies of this size can also take advantage of free support from one of the accident prevention centres operated by the work accident insurance institutions (AUVAsicher).

Under certain conditions, the employers of companies with up to fifty employees can also carry out accident prevention work themselves (Unternehmermodell). [20].

Safety technical centres have to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Head Safety engineer (minimum 38 hours/week – mostly spent on preventive activities).
  • Additional safety engineers’ total amount of hours spent on preventive activities 70 hours/week.
  • Specialized staff at least half of the time designated for the occupational physicians or at least 38 hours/week.
  • Other personnel (secretaries) at least 38 hours/week.

Specialised staff may consist of:

  1. Technicians or persons with a background of natural sciences with at least
  2. One mechanical engineer or one electrical engineering technician
  3. One chemist or a biologist

Exceptions can be made if safety engineers with corresponding training are employed. Furthermore, if the preventive service has documented evidence of cooperation with respective services.

Centres for Occupational Medicine have to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Head Occupational Physician (minimum 38 hours/week – mostly spent on preventive activities).
  • Additional occupational physicians total amount of hours spent on preventive activities 70 hours/week.
  • Specialized staff at least half of the time designated for the occupational physicians or at least 38 hours/week.
  • Other personnel (secretaries) at least 38 hours/week.

Specialised staff may consist of:

  1. Occupational physicians that have not finished their training
  2. Physiotherapists, assistant medical technicians, radiologic assistants, dieticians, ergotherapist
  3. Occupational nurses
  4. Psychologists
  5. Chemists
  6. Ergonomists, epidemiologists, toxicologists and other specialists

Each centre has to undergo a licensing procedure before it can take up service. They have to notify the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection and have to be controlled by the labour inspection prior to commencing their activity. The Ministry yearly provides a list of accredited safety technical centres.

Preventive services for both occupational medicine and safety engineering have to fulfill the prerequisites for both services, with two independent units, their respective heads and the necessary staff.

A major project initiated by the OSH Strategy is the evaluation of training facilities for safety experts and preventive services in enterprises, with the aim of ensuring expert services for companies.

The following models of occupational health service provision are common in Austria:

  • One occupational health physician supervises several SMEs
  • A large enterprise employs an occupational health physician
  • Companies have their own in-house services (integrated model),
  • Group services for several SMEs (joint model),
  • Regional service units of the accident insurance institution (structure similar to that of group services, AUVA model),
  • Private medical centre model [13].

If possible, support should be provided by internal preventive specialists, in other words by persons who are employed by the company. External experts can only be brought in if there are no suitable specialists already in the company. External experts are either self-employed or work for a prevention centre, a safety centre or an occupational health centre.


Compensation and insurance bodies

The workplace accident insurance International comparison of occupational accident insurance system is part of the Austrian social insurance system. Membership is compulsory for all companies in Austria. Insurance premiums are paid by the employer only and the contribution is 1.4% of the payroll[21]. The insurance covers accidents at work, travel accidents on the way to work, and occupational diseases. There is also insurance cover for students at school and university, as well as for assistance services e.g. during first aid.

In Austria, the insurance bodies are organized according to sectors:

  • Austrian Workers’ Compensation Board (AUVA),
  • Insurance Institutions for Public Service Wage and Salary Earners (BVA),
  • Insurance Institution of Austrian Railways (VAEB),
  • Social Insurance Institution for Farmers (SVB).

(1) The largest is the Austrian Social Insurance for Occupational Risks (Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt, AUVA)[22]. Like the Labour Inspectorate, AUVA is a centralized national organisation. Founded in 1889 as occupational accident liability insurance for employers, AUVA is responsible for the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases, as well as for the compensation of industrial injuries and accidents, and for rehabilitation. It provides services for more than 3 million employees, plus more than 1 million school children and students. These services include advice, training, expert opinion and information, as well as general assistance on OSH questions, as well as working processes, workplace design, individual protection, and implementing rules, regulations and standards.

Their range of activities includes regional public relations and advertising campaigns, safety training in schools, and ensuring efficient first aid in co-operation with ambulance services. AUVA has a central office in Vienna, four regional offices, and five local offices. It also has six trauma centers and four rehabilitation centers.

(2) The Social Insurance for the Public Sector (Versicherungsanstalt öffentlich Bediensteter, formerly Beamtenversicherungsanstalt, BVA)[23] was originally the social insurance body (workplace accidents, health insurance and pensions fund) for public servants only. Since 2004 it has become also workplace accident and health insurance body for Austrian university staff. It also insures its own workers and voluntary probation officers against workplace accidents.

(3) The Social Insurance for Railway and Mining Industry (Versicherungsanstalt für Eisenbahnen und Bergbau, VAEB)[24] is the workplace accident insurance body for workers of the railway, public transport and the cable-car sector. The workplace accident insurance of mining workers is, however, provided by AUVA.

(4) The Social Insurance Institution for Farmers (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Bauern, SVB)[25] is the body that provides workplace accident insurance, health insurance and pensions fund for the agricultural and forestry sector (including employers and self-employed farmers). It also grants benefits to help family members and dependent workers. It was founded on the basis of the Law on Social Insurance in the Agricultural Sector (Bauernsozialversicherungsgesetz[26]).

Other OSH bodies

The Austrian Dust (Silicosis) Control Centre is affiliated to AUVA. It is an authorised control body for dusts and dangerous substances according to EN ISO/IEC 17025. ADCC measures workplace exposure and evaluates plant emission. Its tasks also include analysing dusts and minerals, as well as providing information and counselling, and training safety representatives on dust hazards. ADCC also conducts research into occupational diseases caused by dusts, and carry out prevention activities in cooperation with occupational medicine centers and occupational physicians.

The Organisation of Austrian Safety Specialists (Verband österreichischer Sicherheits-Experten – VÖSI)[27], founded in 1977, is an association of Austrian OSH specialists (Sicherheitsfachkraft). As well as safety specialists, other prevention experts can join VÖSI such as fire safety engineers, construction coordinators for OSH, and occupational physicians and psychologists. VÖSI represents the interests of its members through codetermination in legislation and standardisation.

The Austrian Society for Occupational Medicine (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Arbeitsmedizin, GAMed)[28] is the Association of Occupational Medicine Experts.

The Austrian Association for Promoting Occupational Safety (Österreichischer Verband zur Förderung der Arbeitssicherheit, VAS)[29] is an Association of producers and distributors of occupational safety products. The main objective of VAS is to provide factual information on personal protection equipment.


Education, training, and awareness raising

Legally required training for OSH specialists

For providing OSH prevention services in a company, occupational physicians and safety engineers, must have an OSH specialist certificate. Unless they have specialized in OSH as part of their university education, occupational physicians must complete a minimum of 12 weeks’ postgraduate training in occupational medicine. Safety engineers have to do eight weeks’ training; and occupational nurses four weeks’ additional training. Postgraduate training in occupational medicine is provided by two institutions:

  • Austrian Academy for Occupational Medicine (Österreichische Akademie für Arbeitsmedizin), founded in the early 1980s and situated in Klosterneuburg, near Vienna,
  • Linz Academy for Occupational Health and Safety (Linzer Akademie für Arbeitsmedizin und Sicherheitstechnik), founded in 1988.

They are both non-academic private associations, mainly financed by student fees, with members from national and local authorities, the social security system, trade unions and employers’ organisations. A representative of the Austrian Medical Association sits on the board of the Austrian Academy. The basic curriculum is set by the Ministry of Health, which must also approve the training institutions.

The curriculum covers traditional physical and chemical hazards, and also risks posed by ergonomic, psychosocial and organisational factors. The main emphasis of the training programme is on work-related diseases (not restricted to legally recognised diseases).

The academies also provide continuing professional development, as does the Austrian Society for Occupational Medicine (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Arbeitsmedizin) and the Department for Occupational Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna.[30]

The topics of the courses cover e.g.:

  • Occupational psychology for occupational physicians
  • Audit of Health and Safety Management Systems
  • Air as an impact factor at workplaces
  • The eye – occupational strains and their impact

Other vocational training

Approximately 50,000 workers have the minimum OSH certification. They act as Safety Representatives (‘Sicherheitsvertrauensperson’) in addition to their normal job (cf. Chapter 3.3). The training course for safety representatives lasts three days and mainly covers:

  • Legal requirements and their impact
  • Occupational risks and strains (and reduction thereof).
  • Risk assessment and instructions for workers[31].


Awareness raising networks

The Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection[18], affiliated with the Labour Inspectorate [19], acts as the focal point for coordinating OSH network.

The 2007-2012 OSH Strategy of Austria set up five working groups, one of which deals with OSH training and information, and also involves the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, and the Technical University of Vienna, amongst others.

The Austrian Network for Occupational Health (Österreichisches Netzwerk Arbeit und Gesundheit) is open to organisations and private persons. The network is part of the European Work Hazard Network, and organises meetings for their members several times per year.

The Austrian Network for Workplace Health Promotion (Österreichisches Netzwerk Betriebliche Gesundheitsförderung, BGF)[32] is member of the corresponding European network. Its aim is to improve access to such information as research results, concepts, and best practices.


Specialized technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

AUVA runs the Safety Technology Testing and Research Centre, which carries out fundamental research and provides expert opinion. Furthermore, the Technical Safety Laboratory, a certified and officially licensed testing facility, offers European conformity testing for manufacturers and producers. OSH related research is carried out at the Technical University of Vienna, as well as in private research organizations.

An example for such a private research organisation is PPM Austria, a multi-disciplinary research and training organisation focusing on occupational health and safety issues and on the working environment.[33]

Standardization bodies

Standardisation in Austria is under federal supervision. The Austrian Standards Institute is an independent, non-profit organisation. Since 1920 it has been the platform for norms, rules and standards. The current legal framework is the Standardisation Law (Normengesetz) from 1971[34].

The Austrian Standards Institute is a member of the European Standardisation Committee (CEN) and the International Standardization Organisation (ISO).


Institutions and organizations

Table 1: Main OSH institutions and organizations in Austria

Key actors in the Austrian OSH dialogue
Key social partners for OSH in Austria Confederation of Austrian Trade Unions (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB)
http://www.oegb.at
Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK)
http://www.arbeiterkammer.at
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ)
http://portal.wko.at
Federation of Austrian Industries (Industriellenvereinigung, IV)
http://www.iv-net.at/
Federal OSH authorities and inspection services Labour Inspectorate (Arbeitsinspektion)
http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at
Professional OSH service organizations For a list of professional organisations see following web-site of the Austrian Labour Inspectorate:
http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/praevdienste/[33]
Key compensation and insurance bodies Austrian Workers’ Compensation Board (AUVA)
http://www.auva.at
Social Insurance Institution for Farmers (SVB)
http://www.svb.at
Insurance Institution of Austrian Railways (VAEB)
http://www.vaeb.at/
Insurance Institutions for Public Service Wage and Salary Earners (BVA)
http://www.bva.at
Key prevention institutes Austrian Workers’ Compensation Board (AUVA)
http://www.auva.at
Key professional associations Organisation of Austrian Safety Specialists (Verband österreichischer Sicherheits-Experten – VÖSI),
http://www.voesi.at
Austrian Society for Occupational Medicine (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Arbeitsmedizin, GAMed)
http://www.gamed.at
Austrian Association for Promoting Occupational Safety (Österreichischer Verband zur Förderung der Arbeitssicherheit, VAS)
http://www.vas.at
Key research institutes Safety Technology Testing and Research Centre
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology http://trauma.lbg.ac.at/
Austrian Institute of Technology (Safety and Security Dpt.) http://www.ait.ac.at/departments/safety-security/
Linz Academy for Occupational Medicine (Linzer Akademie für Arbeitsmedizin und Sicherheitstechnik) http://www.arbeitsmedizin-sicherheitstechnik-linz.at/
Austrian Academy for Occupational Medicine, Klosterneuburg (Österreichische Akademie für Arbeitsmedizin) http://www.aam.at/
Key standardisation institute Austrian Standards Institute
http://www.as-institute.at/


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Bundesgesetz über Sicherheit und Gesundheitsschutz bei der Arbeit (ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz – ASchG) [Act of 1994 concerning occupational safety and health, 1994, CIS 98-358]. Current amended version from July 2011 available at: http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/NR/rdonlyres/6B70F952-D5AE-4DBB-AE36-A0183E1B172A/0/ASchG_Novelle_Juli_2011.pdf.
  2. Bundesgesetz über die Arbeitsinspektion (Arbeitsinspektionsgesetz 1993 – ArbIG) [Federal Labour Inspection Act, 1993, CIS 94-405]. Available at: http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/NR/rdonlyres/F7143977-A095-4347-B154-5CE3483D5A2A/0/ArbIG_Novelle_Juli_2011.pdf.
  3. Verordnung BGBl II 1997/27 des Bundesministers für Arbeit und Soziales über die Gesundheitsüberwachung am Arbeitsplatz [Regulation No. 1997/27 of the Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs concerning health surveillance at the workplace, 1997, CIS 98-375].
  4. Mutterschutzgesetz (MuSchG) BGBl. Nr. 221/1979 zuletzt geändert durch BGBl. I Nr. 35/2012 [Maternity Protection Act Nr. 221/1979, amended 2012].
  5. Bundesgesetz über die Beschäftigung von Kindern und Jugendlichen 1987 (Kinder- und Jugendlichen-Beschäftigungsgesetz 1987 – KJBG) [Federal Act on Child Labour and Young Workers from 1987].
  6. Österreichische ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzstrategie 2013-2020. Available at: [1]. English version available at: [2]
  7. Arbeitsschutzstrategie 2007-2012. Beschreibung (2016). Retrieved 14 Jund 2016, from: [3]
  8. AUVA, Unfallverhütung (no date available). Retrieved 11 April 2016, from: [4]
  9. List of OSH partner organisations and OSH experts. Available at: [5]
  10. Österreichische Arbeitsschutzstrategie 2007-2012 – Endbericht (Austrian OSH-strategy 2007-2012 - Final report) Available at: [6]
  11. 11.0 11.1 Adam, G., 'Working conditions and social dialogue — Austria', Eurofound publication, 2008. Available at: http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/comparative/tn0710019s/at0710019q.htm
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 ILO – International Labour Organisation, Decent Work Country Profile AUSTRIA, 2009. Available at: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@integration/documents/publication/wcms_120187.pdf.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Adam, G. 'Austria: Industrial relations profile', Eurofound publication, 2009. Available at http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/country/austria.pdf.
  14. Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB; 2012). Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.oegb.at.
  15. Federal Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, BAK; 2012). Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.arbeiterkammer.at.
  16. Economic Chamber of Austria (Wirtschaftskammer, WKÖ; 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://portal.wko.at.
  17. Federation of Austrian Industries (Industriellenvereinigung, IV; 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.iv-net.at/.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Federal Ministry for Labour, Social affairs, and Consument Protection (Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Soziales und Konsumentenschutz; 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.bmask.gv.at/site/.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Labour Inspection (Arbeitsinspektion; 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May, from http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/AI/default.htm.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Labour Inspection (Arbeitsinspektion; 2012): Information in English/Support from preventive services. Retrieved on 4 March 2013 from http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/AI/Information+in+English/Occupational+safety+and+health+provisions/osh_p_030.htm
  21. 12. Bundesgesetz: Änderung des Arbeitnehmerinnenschutzgesetzes, Artikel VI des Bundesgesetzes BGBI. Nr. 450/1994 und des Allgemeinen Sozialversicherungsgesetzes Federal Act No. 12 amending article VI of the Federal Act No. 450/1994 on worker protection and social security [1999, CIS 00-1203].
  22. Social Insurance for Occupational Risks (Allgemeine Unfallversicherung, AUVA; 2012). Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.auva.at.
  23. Insurance Institutions for Public Service Wage and Salary Earners (Versicherungsanstalt öffentlich Bediensteter, BVA; 2012). Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from www.bva.at.
  24. Social Insurance for Railway and Mining Industry (Versicherungsanstalt für Eisenbahnen und Bergbau, VAEB; 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.vaeb.at.
  25. The Social Insurance Institution for Farmers (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Bauern, SVB; 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.svb.at/portal27/portal/svbportal/start/startWindow?action=2&p_menuid=9&p_tabid=1.
  26. Federal Law from 1978, Oct 11th on the Social Insurance of self-employed persons Agriculture and Forestry Bundesgesetz vom 11. Oktober 1978 über die Sozialversicherung der in der Land- und Forstwirtschaft selbständig Erwerbstätigen (Bauern-Sozialversicherungsgesetz - BSVG). Available at: http://www.jusline.at/Bauern-Sozialversicherungsgesetz_%28BSVG%29.html.
  27. Organisation of Austrian Safety Specialists (Verband österreichischer Sicherheits-Experten – VÖSI, 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.voesi.at/Home.aspx.
  28. Austrian Society for Occupational Medicine (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Arbeitsmedizin, GAMed, 2012). Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.gamed.at.
  29. Austrian Association for Promoting Occupational Safety (Österreichischer Verband zur Förderung der Arbeitssicherheit, VAS; 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.vas.at.
  30. Westerholm, P., Walters, D. (eds), Supporting health at work: international perspectives on occupational health services, IOSH Services Ltd., 2007.
  31. AUVA (2012): Ausbildung zur Sicherheitsvertrauensperson, 2012. Online verfügbar unter http://www.auva.at/portal27/portal/auvaportal/channel_content/cmsWindow?action=2&p_menuid=67949&p_tabid=3.
  32. Austrian Network for Workplace Health Promotion (Österreichisches Netzwerk Betriebliches Gesundheitsförderung, ÖNBG, 2012): Main page. Retrieved on 14 May 2012, from http://www.netzwerk-bgf.at.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Austrian Labour Inspectorate (2012): Liste Österreichischer Präventivdienste (Arbeitsmedizinischer Zentren und sicherheitstechnischer Zentren). Online verfügbar unter http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/praevdienste/.
  34. Bundesgesetz vom 16. Juni 1971 über das Normenwesen (Normengesetz 1971) [Standardisation Law from 1971]. Available at: http://www.ris.bka.gv.at/GeltendeFassung.wxe?Abfrage=Bundesnormen&Gesetzesnummer=10011426.


Links for further reading

Arbeitsinspektion/Labour Inspection (no publishing date): Arbeitsschutzstrategie – Struktur und Ablauf [OSH Strategy – Structure and Course of Action]. Available at: http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/NR/rdonlyres/6A21DB7E-A6CF-4EF1-BD73-7CE650E24884/0/Arbeitsschutzstrategie_Struktur_und_Ablauf.pdf.

Austrian Labour Inspectorate (2010): Liste der Ausbildungseinrichtungen für die Fachausbildung von Sicherheitsfachkräften. Online verfügbar unter http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/NR/rdonlyres/D9FA4F30-371D-4A2B-82AD-09414A529508/0/Liste_SFK_Ausbildung.pdf.

AUVA (2012): Fachausbildung für Sicherheitsfachkräfte. Online verfügbar unter http://www.auva.at/portal27/portal/auvaportal/channel_content/cmsWindow?p_pubid=141363&action=2&p_menuid=67948&p_tabid=3#pd907236.

Österreichisches Ministerium für Arbeit, Soziales und Konsumentenschutz BMASK, Arbeitsinspektion: Who is who im Arbeitnehmerschutz. Online verfügbar unter http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/NR/rdonlyres/2E7DEB6D-5CC8-460E-9397-E947B8E1FE2C/0/who_is_who_ANSchutz_Folder.pdf.

Österreichisches Ministerium für Arbeit, Soziales und Konsumentenschutz BMASK, Arbeitsinspektion (2009): Arbeitsschutz. Sicherheit und Gesundheitsschutz am Arbeitsplatz. Das ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz. Online verfügbar unter http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/NR/rdonlyres/1FCFDE41-E9CA-45C9-867D-68EB2142EBBD/0/aschg_2009_neues_layout_Brosch%C3%BCre.pdf.

Österreichisches Ministerium für Arbeit, Soziales und Konsumentenschutz BMASK, Arbeitsinspektion (2009): Arbeitsschutz. Sicherheitstechnische und arbeitsmedizinische Betreuung. Präventivdienste. Online verfügbar unter http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/NR/rdonlyres/5E63835A-5F3F-44F8-B023-56EDA7AD2322/0/pr%C3%A4ventivdienste_2009_neues_layout_Broschuere.pdf.

Österreichisches Ministerium für Arbeit, Soziales und Konsumentenschutz BMASK, Arbeitsinspektion (2010): Arbeitsschutz. Information und Unterweisung. Online verfügbar unter http://www.arbeitsinspektion.gv.at/NR/rdonlyres/DD698E8B-CEEF-4617-B286-D54A2952F293/0/unterweisung_2010.pdf.