Supplying operating instructions is a general duty of employers.
§4 General principles para. 7 Occupational Health and Safety Act (ArbSchG)
(7) the workers need to get appropriate instructions ; (Source)
§9 Special hazards para. 1 Work Protection Act (ArbSchG)
(1) The employer has to take measures to ensure that only employees who have received appropriate prior instructions have access to particularly hazardous work areas. (Source)
§ 12 Instruction para. 1 Occupational Health and Safety Act (ArbSchG)
(1) The employer has to provide employees with sufficient and appropriate instruction on safety and health protection at work during their working hours. The instruction must include briefings and explanations specifically geared to the workplace or the employee's field of responsibility. Instruction must be given when hiring, in the event of changes in the scope of duties, with the introduction of new work equipment or a new technology before the employees take up their work. The instruction must be adapted to the development of hazards and, if necessary, repeated regularly. (Source)
§ 9 Further protective measures when using work equipment Para. 5 Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV)
(5) As far as required by the risk assessment, sufficient, comprehensible and easily perceptible safety markings and hazard warnings, as well as devices for adequate, unambiguous and easily perceptible warnings in the event of danger must be provided on work equipment or in its danger zone. (Source)
§ 2 Para.1 Accident prevention regulation "Principles of prevention" (BGV A1)
§ 14 Training and instruction of employees Hazardous Substances Ordinance (GefStoffV)
(1) The employer has to ensure that written operating instructions, which take account of the risk assessment in accordance with section 6, are made available to the employees in a form and language which they can understand. The operating instructions must contain at least the following:
1. information on the hazardous substances present or emerging at the workplace, such as the name of the hazardous substances, their labelling and possible health and safety hazards,
2. information on appropriate precautions and measures to be taken by workers for their own protection and for the protection of other workers at the workplace, including in particular
(a) hygiene rules
(b) information on measures to be taken to prevent exposure,
(c) information on the wearing and use of personal protective equipment and clothing,
3. information on measures to be taken by workers, in particular rescue teams, in the event of breakdowns, accidents and emergencies and to prevent them.
The operating instructions must be updated whenever there is a significant change in working conditions. The employer must also ensure that workers
1. have access to all the information referred to in Article 35 of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 on the substances and mixtures with which they carry out activities, in particular safety data sheets, and
2. be informed of methods and procedures to be followed when using hazardous substances in order to protect workers.
(2) The employer must ensure that workers are given verbal instruction on the basis of the operating instructions referred to in subsection (1) on all hazards that can emerge and the appropriate protective measures to be taken. This instruction must also include general occupational medical and toxicological advice. This should also serve to inform workers of the conditions under which they are entitled to occupational medical check-ups in accordance with the Ordinance on Occupational Medical Check-ups and of the purpose of such check-ups. The counselling must be carried out with the participation of the doctor in accordance with Section 7(1) of the Ordinance on Occupational Health Precautions, if necessary. The instruction must be carried out prior to commencement of employment and thereafter at least annually in relation to the workplace. It must be given in a form and language understandable to the employees. The content and time of the instruction must be recorded in writing and confirmed by the signatures of the persons instructed. (Source)
Further legal bases for work and operating instructions can be found in the Works Constitution Act (BetrVG), the Workplace Ordinance (ArbStättV), the Biological Substances Ordinance (BioStoffV), DGUV regulations 1, 3 and 4 and DIN VDE 0105-100.
Operating instructions must always be supplied in writing. The appearance of the instructions is not specified in a binding manner, but some generally recognised standards have been established over time.
Our operating instructions catalogue for your safety
We currently provide more than 1000 operating instructions (this PDF contains an excerpt of operating directives) on activities, machines and hazardous substances. These can be purchased as Word files or in eplas as a usable/customisable data set:
- Directly usable or adaptable to the needs of the customer
- Mapping of the current legal requirements
- Professionally created and maintained (from practice for practice)
Failure to comply with operating instructions can have labour law consequences for employees and severe regulatory penalties for employers, while at the same time maintaining the principle of proportionality.