4. Occupational health and safety: keeping you safe!

Instructions, regulations and plenty of signs at work constantly tell you that health and safety at work are important for preventing accidents. These measures might seem over the top, but they are for your safety and should be observed at all times in order to prevent accidents and injuries. Trainees are almost twice as likely to be affected by accidents at work, as they are new and often unexperienced.

The Occupational Safety Act includes basic protection measures that every business must observe. Your employer is obliged by law to assess work hazards and to employ necessary protective measures. You and your colleagues may have to wear protective work clothing such as gloves, hard hats, safety goggles etc, which your employer must provide free of charge.

Workplace regulations and related regulations provide more detailed requirements. They state how workplaces should be set up. For example, they have to be a suitable size and protect from hazardous influences such as gasses, vapours, dust and noise. Furthermore, separate break rooms, changing rooms and sanitary facilities must be provided. Special protection regulations also apply to handling hazardous substances e.g. poisons, irritants or carcinogens. These materials must be labelled as such by the manufacturer so that the company can take necessary effective measures. These regulations are also checked by the Trade Supervisory Board.

Young trainees under the age of 18 are covered by further regulations set out in the Youth Workers Protection Act. Young people may not be assigned hazardous tasks associated with damaging levels of noise or heat, or ethical hazards. Piece-work is also not permitted unless it is a necessary part of training.

 5. After your training: what now?