OSH system at national level - Switzerland

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Ellen Schmitz-Felten, Kooperationsstelle Hamburg IFE GmbH, Germany

Occupational safety and health legislative framework

The Swiss legislative framework for safety and health at work is not based on European Legislation. As Switzerland has not joined the European Economic Area (EEA), it is not obliged to adopt EU laws. Although Switzerland has set its own policies on occupational safety and health, these basically comply with the EU legislation. Differences do exist e.g. non-reporting of occupational accidents in Switzerland [1].

Occupational health and safety in Switzerland is primarily based on two laws: the Work Act (Arbeitsgesetz ArG, 1964) [2] and the Accident Insurance Act (Bundesgesetz über die Unfallversicherung UVG, 1981) [3]. Occupational diseases are covered by the Accident Insurance Act (see below), whilst the Work Act deals with general occupational health and hygiene. The Work Act consists of two main sections: firstly concerning work and rest periods, and secondly with occupational safety and health [4]. There are five accompanying sets of regulations concerning working time and OSH (VO1, VO2, VO3, VO4, VO5). In particular, VO3 deals with health promotion, and VO4 deals with approved plans for new industrial buildings and conversions [5][6].

The Accident Insurance Act deals with compensation and prevention of accidents and occupational diseases [3]. It regulates compulsory accident insurance (Compulsory Accident Insurance Regulation - UVV) [7], accident prevention and the prevention of occupational diseases (Accident Prevention Regulation - VUV) [8] (see table 1) [3].


Figure 1: Overview of the two OSH laws in Switzerland. Source: Geissbühler et al, 2011 [5]















Other legislations dealing with occupational safety and health includes the Product Safety Act (PrSV) [9] (replaces the Federal Act on the Safety of Technical Equipment and STEG), the Federal Product Safety Law, the Law on Dangerous Chemicals (Chemikaliengesetz)[10], as well as the Code of Obligations [11] and the Workers Participation Act [12].

National strategy and programmes

Switzerland has no national OSH strategy, however the Accident Insurance body "SUVA" runs a range of prevention programmes. An example of these programmes is “Vision 250 Leben”, which was launched to tackle the roughly 100 fatal accidents that happen at work in Switzerland every year, and the equal number of severe accidents that result in disability. The aim of “Vision 250 Leben” is to prevent 250 fatal accidents and 250 severe ones over the next ten years. To achieve this goal, prevention is focused on high-risk sectors, such as construction, forestry, maintenance, waste disposal or wastewater treatment, and transport [13].

“Essential safety rules”, established for all high-risk sectors, have already been published for the construction industry, maintenance, and painters and plasterers. Other sectors will follow [14].

SUVA runs an interactive programme to combat risks from asbestos. Although asbestos has been banned for 20 years in Switzerland, it is still present in buildings, and presents a risk for demolition and construction workers [14].

Established to promote safety in the workplace, SAFE AT WORK is a prevention label from the State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Federal Coordination Commission for Occupational Safety (EKAS) and the Swiss cantons. It supports the “Vision 250 Leben” programme with tailor-made campaigns to prevent accidents.

Working together with the cantonal labour inspectorates, the working condition division of the State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO) defines OSH issues of special interest, which are then looked into in depth [6].

In addition, Switzerland participates in campaigns from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. The aim of the VVO2010 programme (Verordnungs- und Vollzugsoptimierung ArG/UVG) is to identify and reduce duplications and overlaps concerning work safety (ArG) and occupational health (UVG) [15].

Social dialogue

Social dialogue at national level

The social partnership in Switzerland is well-developed, and social harmony is seen as a key to economic advancement. It is based on a social dialogue characterised by respect and the willingness to discuss and negotiate resolutions based on consensus.

There are two pillars of social partnership in Switzerland:

  • Collective agreements between employers and trade unions.
  • Social protection and social security ensured by law through insurances [16].

The Swiss Work Act was originally based on the Factory Act from 1877. Naturally, the many subsequent changes mean that today’s version is virtually unrecognisable from the original. The process is strongly influenced by the social partners [1]. They are systematically included at the legislative level by the state within the framework of tripartite dialogue, and involved in relevant boards:

The Federal Coordination Commission for Occupational Safety (FCOS/EKAS) consists of ten members and a chairperson. The social partners are represented by two delegates.

SUVA is managed by the social partners. The Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the employers, employees and the Swiss Confederation. This enables SUVA to find sustainable solutions that are widely accepted [17].

Employees and workers are mainly represented by two trade unions:

  • The largest trade union is the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB), with 15 associations and almost 372,000 members.
  • The second trade union is Travail Suisse, with 12 associations and 163,000 members [18].

The employers are represented by three national associations:

  • The Confederation of Swiss Employers (SAV),
  • The Swiss Union of Crafts and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SGV),
  • The Association of Swiss Businesses, economiesuisse.

Social dialogue at sectoral level

Collective agreements (GAVs) are the central instrument for social dialogue at sectoral level. They lay down the working conditions and the relationship between employers and employees for the whole sector. Most collective agreements include a 'labour peace clause' that forbids the contracting parties from using conflict measures such as strikes or lockouts, as long as the collective agreement is valid [19]. Occupational safety and health issues are not a special concern in collective agreements.

Special sector-specific solutions (Branchenlösungen) are important for OSH at sectoral level. They provide companies (especially SMEs) with guidelines and checklists, special modules for training and education, and periodic OSH inspections. These sector-specific solutions are supported by the social partners and developed in cooperation with OSH specialists [20]. Unfortunately, OSH issues are not properly addressed in some solutions. They are often drawn up by the employers acting on their own (with some exceptions) [6] (see also Social dialogue in occupational safety and health and Worker participation - Switzerland).

Social dialogue at enterprise level

Employees and their representatives have participation rights regarding OSH matters. The employer must provide comprehensive information on these matters and consult the employees before taking decisions.

The employer can appoint an employee as safety representative; this is compulsory in some cases (high-risk sectors, such as construction, forestry, maintenance, waste disposal or wastewater treatment, and transport). Such representatives must receive appropriate training. Training and performance of duties must take place during working time [18].

The Workers’ Participation Act [12], introduced in 1993, regulates workers participation rights. It was developed - in view of the expected accession to the EEA - to harmonise with European law. According to this law, employees have a right to information and consultation. In enterprises with at least 50 employees, there is a right to elect employee representation. Although the representatives are independent from the trade union, they may be members of and advised by trade unions [18]. According to article 10 of the Worker’s Participation Law, the employees or their representatives have a voice when it comes to health and safety and working time.

Occupational safety and health infrastructure

Occupational safety and health is regulated by the Federal Government according to Article 110 of the Federal Constitution [21] and is mainly based on two federal laws: the Accident Insurance Act (UVG)[3], and the Work Act (ArG) [2].

In accordance with this dual approach, each Act is supervised by two Federal offices and monitored by two parallel national bodies. In 2008, the Federal Council of Switzerland launched the VVO2010 project to tackle overlaps caused by this dual system.

The supervisory body for the Accident Insurance Act is the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG). For the Work Act, this responsibility falls to the State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The Cantonal Inspectorates and the State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO) are the executive bodies for the Work Act (ArG). The Swiss National Accident Insurance (SUVA) is responsible for the enforcement of the Accident Insurance Act (UVG). The responsibility for enforcing the Accident Prevention Regulation (VUV) is shared by the Swiss National Accident Insurance SUVA, the State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Cantonal Inspectorates. This is coordinated by the Federal Commission of Coordination for Work Safety (EKAS)[22][23].

Coming into force in January 2000, the EKAS Directive 6508 regulates the consultation of occupational physicians and other occupational safety specialist (ASA). The EKAS Directive specifies the OSH duties of the employers. It tasks the Cantonal Inspectorates and Inspectors of the Swiss Accident Insurance SUVA with monitoring ArG and UVG compliance [24]


Occupational safety and health infrastructure scheme

Figure 2:OSH infrastructure in Switzerland. Source: Scheme by authors, based on Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, 2011 [23], Guillemin, 2002 [25] and Läubli, 2006 [26] (1In addition, SUVA provides compulsory insurance for the Federal administration, Federal agencies and Federal organisations)





















National competent bodies

Occupational safety and health authorities and Inspection services

The State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the supervisory body for the Work Act. It is the federal government's centre of expertise for all core issues relating to economic policy. The Working Conditions Division of SECO coordinates and supervises employee health and safety and product safety issues. SECO (Working Conditions Division) coordinates the partnership with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, and gathers and communicates information via the Swiss Focal Point network [27]. They are responsible for drafting statutory provisions, as well as for the efficient and uniform implementation of the legal provisions throughout Switzerland [28].

SECO coordinates the partnership with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and is responsible for the Swiss Focal Point network. SECO is also a partner of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and represents Switzerland at the International Labour Conference, as well as in the ILO Governing Body.

SECO supports the Cantonal Inspectorates regarding the enforcement of the Work Act and ensures uniform application of the law across Switzerland [28].

The Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) is part of the Federal Department of Home Affairs (EDI). The aim of the BAG is to promote and maintain health and safety in Switzerland. It is responsible – together with the 26 cantons – for public health and the development of national health policy. This includes the management and development of the social healthcare and accident insurance system [22]. The BAG is the supervisory body for the UVG and is responsible for the enforcement bodies and legislation dealing with the prevention of occupational accidents [29].

Federal Coordination Commission for Occupational Safety (EKAS) is the central body for the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases in Switzerland. EKAS’ duties are set out in the Accident Insurance Act (UVG) and in the regulation on the prevention of accidents and occupational diseases (VUV). EKAS’ main task is to protect employees from occupational accidents and diseases, and to ensure the uniform application of safety regulations within companies. EKAS coordinates the enforcement bodies (SUVA, SECO, and Cantonal Labour Inspectorates).

EKAS provides tools and guidelines to help companies comply with OSH legislation, e.g. guidelines and brochures, checklists, safety programmes, sector-specific guidelines and training. EKAS is supported by SUVA, SECO, IVA (the intercantonal association for employee protection) and the specialist organisations. The Federal Council supervises EKAS activities [23]. EKAS consists of ten members (including two delegates from the social partners) and is chaired by SUVA.

SUVA is the most important provider of compulsory accident insurance in Switzerland. It is an independent, non-profit company under public law, and insures around 110,000 companies and two million employees and unemployed people. It has three core business areas: prevention, insurance and rehabilitation.

SUVA's activities are based on the Accident Insurance Act (UVG) [3] and the Accident Prevention Regulation (VUV) [8]. Article 66 of the Accident Insurance Act and article 49 of the Accident Insurance Regulation list the companies and administrations whose employees are compulsorily insured by SUVA. These are largely enterprises with high-risk levels, as well as the entire Federal administration, Federal agencies and Federal organisations.

The Federal Council has given sole responsibility for the prevention of occupational diseases to SUVA [30].

The cantonal labour inspectorates are responsible for enforcing the protective provisions under OSH legislation in their territories. These inspectorates monitor and advise companies, employers and employees (based on the Work Act and the Accident Insurance Act). The cantons are free to decide which means and methods they use to achieve the goals of OSH legislation. As such, there are significant differences between the cantons - e.g. regarding available finance and personnel [23]. The umbrella organisation for the cantonal inspectorates is the intercantonal association for employee protection (IVA) The work of the IVA is primarily based on the Work Act (ArG) and parts of the Accident Insurance Act (UVG) [31]. The IVA is the collective voice of the cantonal labour inspectorates. Thanks to close contacts with local companies, it is an important platform for exchanging OSH ideas and experiences. The IVA is a member of the International Association of Labour Inspection (IALI) [32].


Occupational safety and health services

According to Swiss legislation (UVG, Art.82 [3]; ArG Art. 6 [2]), employers are responsible for the safety and health of their employees. The managerial responsibility was specified by the EKAS Directive 6508 concerning the consulting of occupational physicians and other occupational safety specialists [33]. The Directive emphasises the employer’s individual responsibility to consult occupational physicians and specialists, according to article 11a VUV (see also Occupational health and safety services).

The employer’s duties depend on the size of the company and the risk level.

The revised version from 2007 identifies four groups of companies: those without special risks and over 50 employees; without special risks and fewer than 50 employees; with special risks and over ten employees; and with special risks and fewer than ten employees.

Companies involved in high-risk activities with fewer than ten employees must prove that they have implemented specific measures (completed checklists, records, documents of measures taken, training material).

Companies with high-risk activities and over ten employees are obliged to consult occupational safety specialists. This leads to the implementation of solutions (individual, sectoral, company-specific, or model), the awarding of certificates to demonstrate appropriate training (basic, vocational or further), as well as the availability of technical measures, personal protective equipment, and presence of essential warning labels [33].

Solutions and models (sector-specific, enterprise/group-specific) are standardised to make it easier for applicants to implement the EKAS Directive 6508, and are worked out in cooperation with the social partners [34].

Inter-company solutions, such as sector-specific solutions (Branchenlösung) are suitable for companies with similar risks and problems.

Individual solutions are suitable for companies that have the necessary expert knowledge (or seek to obtain it by consultation with external safety specialists) [35].

In Annex I, the Directive provides a catalogue of process-oriented risks and hazards to help companies identify their risk category.

The qualifications required for safety specialists are set out in Regulation 822.116 [36]. The term 'Occupational safety specialist' refers to hygienists, safety professionals and safety engineers.

According to this regulation, OSH specialists include:

  • Occupational health physicians who are approved as medical specialists for occupational medicine.
  • Occupational hygienists with a science diploma from a Swiss university, and at least two years professional experience, and a further qualification in occupational health and safety.
  • Safety engineers who have a technical or science diploma from a Swiss university or similar institutions of higher education
  • Safety experts (SiFa, SiBe) who have an appropriate qualification with diploma or approved vocational certificate, two years professional experience and further training according to article 6.

The duties of the safety and health services are set out in article 11e of the VUV and are also mentioned in Annex 2 of the EKAS Directive.

Internal OSH services All employers are legally obliged to identify risks and hazards in their companies, and to implement appropriate measures, according to articles 3 to 10 of the VUV. Companies with high-risk activities and more than 10 employees as well as all other companies with more than 50 employees are obliged to prove that they have implemented a safety management system.

To fulfil the safety and health obligations, employers are advised to select an internal safety representative – a so called SIBE (Sicherheitsbeauftragter) and to ensure that this person receives appropriate training (Article 7 chapter 1 VUV [8]). This task can be done by the employer or by an employee. In small companies, the employer himself often acts as internal safety expert [37].

It is important that all employees are informed about the safety expert’s tasks. While safety experts are the direct responsibility of the employer, they have no authority. They support and advise the employer on OSH issues e.g. drafting, implementing and communicating the safety and health mission and company goals. They are the employees’ contact person for safety and health issues.

Occupational (external) OSH services including technical control According to the Accident Insurance Act (UVG) Article 85, paragraph 3, EKAS empowers SUVA to contract external specialists and inspection services regarding the safety and health of employees. Various ‘Fachinspektorate’ - external specialist inspectorates - are authorised for technical monitoring:

  • Swiss Association for Technical Inspections - a not-for-profit organisation whose primary tasks are: the prevention of accidents, breakdowns and damage; the elimination of hazards in connection with the transportation and storage of dangerous goods; the elimination of hazards in the manufacture and operation of all types of technical equipment [38].
  • Swiss Welding Association (SVS) - an independent and neutral inspection service. It is the Swiss professional center for welding, as well as the authorised inspection service for the prevention of welding accidents [39].
  • Technical Inspectorate of the Swiss Gas Industry (TIS) - authorised inspection service for gas plants. It monitors the consistent implementation of health and safety systems [40].
  • Federal Inspectorate for Heavy Current Installations ESTI - the Swiss authority for electrical equipment that is not subject to the Regulation for Electrical Low-Voltage Products. It supervises high and low voltage electrical installations, and contributes to the prevention of accidents and property damage caused by heavy-current installations [41].
  • Agriss - authorised to monitor machine safety and OSH in agriculture and horticulture [42]
  • The ArbeitssicherheitSchweiz Association - has a mandate to assume the duties of the safety representative. Members have direct access to specialist knowledge and can profit from external OSH services [43].

Compensation and insurance bodies

Compulsory accident insurance, one of the most important aspects of the social security system, is regulated by the Accident Insurance Act (UVG) and the Accident Insurance Regulation (UVV). All workers employed in Switzerland are covered by their employers for occupational accidents, non-occupational accidents (accidents occurring during leisure time), and occupational diseases. This includes teleworkers, apprentices, trainees and voluntary workers. The unemployed are also included as long they are claiming unemployment benefits. Part-time employees who work less than 8 hours a week are only covered for occupational accidents (accidents that occur on the way to and from work are considered non-occupational accidents).The insurance includes medical treatment, daily benefits, disability pensions, survivors' pensions, integrity allowances and disability assistance payments (see also International comparison of occupational accident insurance system).

Those not covered by the Accident Insurance Act include self-employed, housewives, students and family members who work in the family business and do not receive any monetary compensation [44].

The premiums for non-occupational accident insurance are paid by the employee, while the premiums for occupational accident insurance are paid by the employer.

SUVA is the largest accident insurance organisation. Besides Suva, a further 38 insurance associations provide social accident insurance. These include private insurance, public accident insurance, and approved health insurance companies [45].

Article 66 of The Accident Insurance Act divides the areas of activity between SUVA and the other insurance companies. Companies and administrations whose employees are compulsorily insured with Suva (according to article 66) are mainly from high-risk sectors such as construction, forestry, transport, waste disposal or wastewater treatment, plus the Federal administration, agencies, and organisations [7].

Other occupational safety and health bodies

Health Promotion Switzerland (Gesundheitsförderung Schweiz) is a partly-autonomous, public foundation that works on projects to initiate, evaluate and disseminate workplace health promotion [46].

Swiss Institute of Safety & Security works in the field of risk management, process safety, risk analysis, and occupational hygiene. They work with business, insurance companies and authorities to prevent accidents. Their objective is to promote safety and security, fire and explosion protection, process safety, occupational safety, and environmental protection [47].

ArbeitssicherheitSchweiz is a Swiss OSH association, whose objective is to develop and implement sector-specific solutions, according to EKAS Directive 6508. It has a mandate to assume the duties of safety representatives in companies [43].

Several trade associations provide sector-specific solutions and assistance for their members, e.g.: The employer's association for the watch industry helps its members comply with OSH legislation. They provide information, assistance, and a service called “Health and Safety at the Workplace” that is managed by an OSH specialist [48].

The Information and advice centre for accident prevention in agriculture (BUL) work together with the inspection service agriss to form the professional centre for the agriculture sector and related industries. They help and advise companies on OSH issues, provide OSH campaigns, information material, as well as training and inspections [49].

The Commission for safety and health protection in grain trading and grain processing (KSGGV) supports members in implementing health and safety systems. They provide checklists, training and other services.

Professional associations

Suissepro is the umbrella organisation and governing body of various Swiss professional associations. It issues publications regarding safety and health protection in the workplace [50], and is a member of the European Network of Safety and Health Professional Organisations (ENSHPO).

Prevention adviser – Occupational medicine The Swiss Society of Occupational Medicine (SGARM) is the professional organisation of the occupational physicians of Switzerland. Its aims are the promotion of occupational medicine, exchange of knowledge and experience, and safeguarding common interests [51].

Prevention adviser – Occupational hygiene The Swiss society of occupational hygiene SGAH promotes the exchange of experience and knowledge between its members and other specialists working in the field of occupational safety and health [52].

Prevention – Health and safety at work The Swiss society for occupational safety and health (SGAS) is a network of specialists that deal with occupational safety and health. The aim of SGAS is to promote safety and health in the workplace, the exchange of experience and knowledge, to influence OSH legislation, coordinate occupational safety experts and OSH institutions [53].

Prevention adviser – Ergonomy Swiss Ergonomics Association SwissErgo is the umbrella organisation for all ergonomists and those involved in ergonomics. The aim of SwissErgo is the promotion of Ergonomics by sharing knowledge in the academic field and in the professional practice [54].

Education and training and awareness raising

Legally required training for OSH specialists

The training criteria for occupational physicians, hygienists and safety engineers are defined by law. The requirements for further training of OSH specialists are laid down in the Regulation 822.116 (concerning the qualification of occupational safety specialists) [36] (see also OSH training).

According to the Regulation 822.116 OSH specialist include [36]:

  • Occupational physicians with a recognized specialization in occupational medicine according to the Regulation on Specialist Training for Medical professions [55]
  • Occupational Hygienists who possess a recognised Swiss Diploma, or two years qualified professional experience, and possess further training on occupational safety and health according to Article 4 of the Regulation.
  • Safety engineers, who possess a scientific or technical Swiss diploma, and two years qualified professional experience, as well as further training on occupational safety and health according to Article 5 of the Regulation.
  • Safety experts, who possess a qualified and recognised training, three years of professional experience as well as further training on occupational safety and health according to Article 6 of the Regulation.


Article 7 of the VUV states that each safety representative must have appropriate knowledge and be trained to carry out their task. Internal training and instructions of safety representatives can be done on the basis of SUVA checklists, operating manuals and work instructions from the sector confederation. OSH specialists have to be regularly trained, especially if they work in high-risk industries (such as the chemical industry, refinery, radiation protection) [36]. Special risk training for safety experts has to be carried out by specialised and approved organisations and has to be for a minimum of 20 days. Safety engineers are trained in a 5-week course offered by EKAS and SUVA [56]. Annex 2 to 4 of the Regulation 822.116 specifies the content of the training for occupational physicians, occupational hygienists, safety engineers and safety experts [36].

In 2007, SUVA created a training network to provide basic OSH training and further training for safety engineers, safety experts and safety assistants. Nowadays, different specialised and approved organisations provide training as well as EKAS and SUVA.

EKAS-training takes 22 or 37 days and provides broad OSH knowledge. It is aimed at safety experts and safety engineers, according to Regulation 822.116.

SUVA training takes 8 days. It is basic OSH training, aimed at plant managers and safety representatives from small and large companies without special risks.

To fulfil the demand for basic OSH training, SUVA created a training network “Suva-Schulungsnetzwerk Prävention”. The network has provided basic OSH training in three-day courses since 2007.


The training of occupational physicians and hygienists has to be carried out by universities and high schools. The post-graduate level training criteria are defined by law. ETH Zurich offers a Master of Advanced Studies for occupational safety and health [57]

Awareness raising networks

The Swiss Accident Insurance Agency (SUVA) regularly conducts accident prevention campaigns [58]

Fachmesse Arbeitssicherheit Schweiz is an OSH event that takes place every two years. This international fair provides a platform and means of exchanging knowledge and experience for decision-makers from across the board: industry, occupational health physicians, safety and health representatives, and others [59].

As the Focal Point of the European Agency for safety and Health at Work, SECO provides a website for free OSH information [27].

Specialised technical, medical and scientific institutions

Research institutes

There is no national government body that coordinates OSH research [60]. The leading OSH research institute is the Institute for Health in the Workplace in Lausanne (IST) [61]. The IST is affiliated to the university of Lausanne and Geneva, and is a foundation under private law. IST has three divisions: Worker’s Health, World of Labour, and the Work Environment. Their mission is to improve OSH through teaching, research, assessment, consultancy, and promotion. IST has no inspection or monitoring function. It is one of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centres for Occupational Health.

The Center for Organisational and Occupational Sciences (Zentrum für Organisations- und Arbeitswissenschaften - ZOA) was created in April 2005 as a result of the merging of the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Physiology and the Institute of Work Psychology. ZOA has two main research groups: “Psychology in Work and Society (PdA)” and “Health Research and Operational Health Management (GbG)”.

The following organisations publish regular studies on health protection and safety in the workplace:

  • State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
  • The Swiss Accident Insurance Agency (SUVA) conduct research and employ labour inspectors for specific fields [58]

SECO has a budget for research purposes. It gathers OSH information, examines specific OSH questions and conducts surveys. Small research projects are carried out in-house, whereas larger ones are commissioned externally [58].

The Swiss Federation of Trade Unions also publishes studies on health protection and safety in the workplace [27].

The research projects are initiated individually by the different organisations.

Standardisation agencies

Standards are used to define product safety requirements and properties, and are thus important for OSH. Many work-related accidents and diseases could be prevented if safe equipment were used [62].

The Swiss Association for Standardisation (Schweizerische Normen-Vereinigung, SNV) is the national organisation for standardisation in Switzerland. The SNV is a full member of the International Standardisation Organisation ISO and the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and ensures international cooperation on standardisation. SNV represents the interests of Swiss business. They are responsible for informing other member states about plans to draft technical regulations [63]. The SNV has seven specialised divisions (see: Table 2).

SECO is the supervisory body for the Swiss Association for Standardisation and. SECO has tasked the Swiss Association for Standardisation with the overall coordination of standardisation in Switzerland [64].


Table 2: Swiss Association for Standardisation (SNV) specialised divisions

SNV specialised divisions Institutions Governing Bodies
Electrosuisse SEV Association for Electrical Engineering, Power and Information Technologies CES
FH Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry CN
SIA Swiss Association of engineers and architects ZNO
asut Swiss Telecommunications Association CS4
SNV Swiss Association for Standardization SNV-CS
SWISSMEM Swiss Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Industries KTH
VSS Swiss Association of Road and Transport Experts VSS

Source: Adapted from the Swiss Association for Standardisation SNV [63]

Institutions and organisations

Table. 3: Main OSH institutions and organisations in Switzerland

Key actors in the Swiss OSH dialogue *Federal Office of Public Health BAG [59]
Key social partners in the Swiss OSH field
  • Swiss federation of trade unions SCB/USS [60]
  • wiss employers association [61]
  • Travail Suisse (umbrella organisation representing employees) [62]
  • Swiss Industry and Trade Association SGV/USAM [63]
Federal OSH authorities and inspection services
  • Federal Commission of Coordination for Work and Safety EKAS
  • Swiss National Accident Insurance Organisation SUVA
  • tate Secretary for Economic Affairs SECO
  • Inter-Cantonal-Association for the Protection of Employees IVA/AIPT/AIPL [64]
Professional organisations of OSH services
  • Umbrella organisation: Suissepro [65]
  • Swiss Society of Occupational Medicine SSMO/SGARM [66]
  • Swiss Society for Occupational Hygiene SGAH [67]
  • Swiss Society for Occupational health and Safety SGAS [68]
  • Swiss Ergonomics Association SwissErgo [69]
Key compensation and insurance bodies
  • Swiss Accident Insurance Fund SUVA [70]
  • Swiss Insurance Association ASA /SVV [71]
Key prevention institutes
  • Swiss Accident Insurance Fund SUVA [72]
Key professional associations
  • Swiss Society of Occupational Medicine SSMO/SGARM [73]
  • Swiss Society for Occupational Hygiene SGAH [74]
  • Swiss Society for Occupational health and Safety SGAS [75]
  • Swiss Ergonomics Association SwissErgo [76]
Key research institutes
  • Institute for Health in the Workplace in Lausanne (IST)
  • Center for Organisational and Occupational Sciences (Zentrum für Organisations- und Arbeitswissenschaften - ZOA)
  • Swiss Statistic [77]
Key normalisation actor
  • Swiss Association for Standardisation - Schweizerische Normen-Vereinigung, SNV [78]

Source: Overview by the authors

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Brunner, E., 'Arbeitsschutz in der Schweiz, sicher ist sicher', Arbeitsschutz aktuell, No. 4, 2007, pp. 158-159.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Swiss Federal Act on Employment in Trade and Industry of 13 March 1964, (as of 1 August 2008) (Bundesgesetz über über die Arbeit in Industrie, Gewerbe und Handel vom 13. März 1964 (Stand am 1. August 2008)). Available at: [[1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Swiss Federal Accident Insurance Act (Bundesgesetz vom 20. März 1981 über die Unfallversicherung (UVG)). Available at: [2]
  4. SECO – Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (no publishing date available). Rechtliche Grundlagen. Retrieved on 12 April 2012, from: [3]
  5. Geissbühler, J., Piffko, C., Soziales in der Schweiz, Eine praxisorientierte Darstellung mit zahlreichen Repititionsfragen und Antworten. Ein Lehrmittel für angehende HR Fachleute und ein Leitfaden für die Praxis. Compendio Bildungsmedien, Auflage 7, überarbeitete Auflage, 2011, pp. 255-259.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Brunner, E., Focal Point Switzerland, an email interview by the authors on 13 March 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Verordnung über die Unfallversicherung (UVV) vom 20. Dezember 1982 (Stand am 1. Januar 2012) (Compulsory Accident Insurance Regulation of 20 December 1982 (as of 1 January 2012)). Available at: [4]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Verordnung über die Verhütung von Unfällen und Berufskrankheiten (VUV) vom 19. Dezember 1983 (Stand am 1. Juli 2010),(Accident Prevention Regulation of 19 December 1983 (as of 1 July 2010)). Available at: [5]
  9. Bundesgesetz über die Produktesicherheit (PrSG) vom 12. Juni 2009 (Stand am 1. Juli 2010)V. Available at: [6]
  10. Bundesgesetz vom 15. Dezember 2000 über den Schutz vor gefährlichen Stoffen und Zubereitungen (Chemikaliengesetz, ChemG), (Chemical Act of 15 December 2000). Available at: [7]
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Links for further reading

EKAS – Eidgenössische Koordinationskommission für Arbeitssicherheit (2012). Retrieved on 21 May 2012, from: [79]

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, ‚Labour inspectorates strategic planning on safety and health at work‘, European Risk Observatory working paper, No. 10, 2009, p. 14. Available at: [80]

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work - Focal Point. (no publishing date available). Switzerland. Retrieved on 27 March 2012, from: [81]

Gerst, K.J., Organisation des Arbeitsschutzes in Europa, Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaft Hamburg, Diplomarbeit, 2009. Available at: [82]

Nordmann, J.-L., ‘Ein neuer Ansatz der Schweizer Arbeitsinspektion: Schwerpunkt Branchenaktivitäten’, Fachsymposium A+A2001 in Düsseldorf am 15. Mai 2001, Referat von Jean-Luc Nordmann. Retrieved on 27 March 2012, from: [83]

Odermatt, R.‚ Visionäres Präventionsprogramm der SUVA: 'Leben bewahren', EKAS Mittelungsblatt, No 73, 2011, pp. 7-11. Available at: [84]

Pärli, K., Steiger-Sackmann, S., Stöckle, I., Die Verantwortung der Arbeitgebenden für den Gesundheitsschutz. Gemeinschaftliche Rahmenbedingungen und Vollzug in ausgewählten Staaten der EU. Vorstudie im Auftrag der SECO, School of Management and Law, 2009. Available at: [85]

Pürro, S., ‚Fünf Säulen für eine Kultur der Prävention am Arbeitsplatz‘, EKAS Mittelungsblatt, No 73, 2011, pp. 4-6. Available at: [86]

SECO – Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (no publishing date available). Retrieved on 12 April 2012, from: [87]

SUVA (2008), Wegleitung der SUVA durch die Unfallversicherung. Retrieved on 27 March 2012, from: [88]

SUVA, Wegleitung der EKAS durch die Arbeitssicherheit, Eidgenössische Koordinationskommission EKAS, 2012. Available at: [89]

Wettmann, O., Die Sicherheit organisieren – eine zentrale Aufgabe für jedes Unternehmen, Suvapro, 6. Auflage, 2011. Available at: [90]