On April 20, 2021, the Corona Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance was adjusted. Due to the ongoing pandemic, certain points have been revised and restrictions have been tightened. The most important innovations are summarized here.

limited room occupancy

Operational contacts are to be reduced to a minimum. It was therefore determined that 10 m2 must be available per person if the room is to be used by several people at the same time. If this cannot be complied with, the employer must take measures to ensure equivalent protection for the employee. These include improved ventilation measures, suitable partitions, the obligation to wear a face mask and other measures specified in the hygiene concept. However, this rule excludes break rooms and sanitary facilities.

formation of working groups

In order to regulate the number of people who are simultaneously employed in the office, employees in companies with 10 or more people must be divided into the smallest possible, fixed working groups. However, the term “small” is not firmly defined here. This means that the employer can use his risk assessment to derive how large these groups must be.

time-shifted work

In order to further reduce the number of business-related contacts, the employer should enable time-shifted work. This includes the permanent installation of shifts, the prohibition of exchanging shifts and the avoidance of employees of other shifts during shift changing.

mouth and nose protection must be worn

Employers are required to provide medical face masks if
• 10 m2 of work space per employee cannot be granted,
• the general minimum distance of 1.5 m cannot be maintained or
• if the execution of the work includes walking distances within a building.
Wearing mouth and nose protection is not sufficient if the aerosol values are elevated or there is operational contact with people who are not obliged to wear mouth and nose protection. The masks provided must be at least medical masks or FFP2 masks.

hygiene concept

All of the measures already mentioned must be recorded in a separate document as a hygiene concept based on the risk assessment in accordance with Section 2 (1) and taking into account the SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety rule. All measures for operational infection protection must be followed immediately and without exception by all employees. The hygiene concept must be made accessible in the workplace in a suitable manner and the employees must be thoroughly instructed with regard to the specified protective measures. If the measures taken do not do justice to the risk assessment, there is a risk of fines of up to € 30,000.

compulsory tests

The employer's obligations to offer at least one rapid corona test per week and those of the employee to present at least one negative corona test per week remain unchanged.