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Committees on Occupational Safety and Health

July 26, 2019

Logo of the BMAS Committees on Occupational Safety and Health: ABAS, ABS, AfAMed, AGS,ASTA.

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs receives advice from state committees on all issues relating to the safety and health of workers. The main task of the committees on occupational safety and health is to establish state regulations. The function of state regulations is to outline possible solutions for implementing the legally binding requirements of occupational health and safety legislation by specifying the requirements in concrete terms.

The statutory mandate to set up state committees is laid down in Section 18 (2) 5 of the Act on the Implementation of Measures of Occupational Safety and Health to Encourage Improvements in the Safety and Health Protection of Workers at Work (Arbeitsschutzgesetz - ArbSchG). This mandate is fulfilled in the respective occupational safety and health ordinances. The state committees consist of representatives of employers, trade unions, Länder authorities, statutory accident insurance institutions and academics as well as experts.

The following committees on safety and health advise the BMAS:

Committee for Workplaces (ASTA)

Logo of the Committee for Workplaces (ASTA).

Section 7 of the Workplaces Ordinance ("Arbeitsstättenverordnung", ArbStättV) defines the composition of the ASTA, which has 15 honorary members and 15 honorary deputy members.

Group picture of the Committee for Workplaces (ASTA).
Group picture of the Committee for Workplaces (ASTA).

The tasks of ASTA include:

  • determining the appropriate rules and other scientific knowledge for the safety and health of workers in workplaces, in accordance with the state of the art in technology, occupational medicine and hygiene,
  • determining rules and findings on how to meet the requirements of the regulation and making recommendations for further measures to ensure safety and protect the health of workers and
  • advising the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on all matters relating to the safety and health of workers in workplaces.
    ASTA develops and supervises the Technical Rules for Workplaces (ASR) on the Workplaces Ordinance (ArbStättV).

Occupational Medicine Committee (AfAMed)

Logo of the Occupational Medicine Committee (AfAMed).

Section 9 of Ordinance on Occupational Health Care (ArbMedVV) defines the composition and the tasks of the AfAMed, which has 15 honorary members and 15 honorary deputy members.

Group picuter of the Occupational Medicine Committee (AfAMed).
Group picuter of the Occupational Medicine Committee (AfAMed)

The tasks of AfAMed include:

  • to determine regulations corresponding to the state of occupational medicine and other established findings of occupational medicine,
  • to determine regulations and findings in regard to how the requirements set out in this Ordinance, in particular regarding the content and extent of mandatory, optional or elective health care provision, can be met,
  • to make recommendations regarding preventive occupational health care provision,
  • to issue other recommendations on health care provision, in particular as part of in-company health programmes,
  • to determine regulations and findings regarding other measures of preventive occupational health care in accordance with section 1 (3), in particular regarding giving general occupational health care advice to workers,
  • to advise the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in regard to all issues concerning preventive occupational health care and other issues concerning occupational safety and health from a medical perspective.

AfAMed develops and supervises the Occupational Medical Rules (AMR) for the Ordinance on Occupational Health Care (ArbMedVV).

Committee on Work Equipment (ABS)

Logo of the Committee on Work Equipment (ABS).

The ABS is set up in accordance with Section 21 of the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV) and has 20 honorary members and 20 honorary deputy members.

Group picture of the Committee on Work Equipment (ABS).
Group picture of the Committee on Work Equipment (ABS).

The tasks of ABS include:

  • to determine, in terms of the use of work equipment, what the state of the art is in science and technology, occupational medicine and occupational hygiene and other reliable research findings in the field and to make recommendations in this regard,
  • to determine how the requirements set out in the BetrSichV can be met and to develop rules and findings in accordance with to current state of the art in technology and occupational medicine,
  • to advise the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on safety and health issues

    • regarding using work equipment
    • regarding noise- and vibration-related hazards
    • regarding artificial optical radiation and
    • regarding hazards caused by electromagnetic fields and
  • to evaluate the findings obtained by the approved inspection authorities in accordance with Section 37 (5) 8 of the Product Safety Act and to take them into account in the tasks under of items 1 to 3.

The ABS determines and supervises the technical rules (TRBS), (TRLV), (TROS), or (TREMF) respectively concerning the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV), Noise and Vibrations Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (LärmVibrationsArbSchV), Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance on Artificial Optical Radiation (OStrV) and the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance on Electromagnetic Fields (EMFV).

Committee on Biological Agents (ABAS)

Logo of the Committee on Biological Agents.

Section 19 of the Biological Agents Ordinance (BioStoffV) defines the composition of the ABAS, which has 15 honorary members and 15 honorary deputy members.

Group picture of the Committee on Biological Agents (ABAS).
Group picture of the Committee on Biological Agents (ABAS)

The tasks of ABAS include:

  • determining, concerning activities involving biological agents, the state of the art in science, technology, occupational medicine and hygiene and other validated findings and to make appropriate recommendations, including such contributions as may be used in publicly available information systems concerning biological agents,
  • determining how the requirements set out in the BioStoffV can be met and developing rules and findings in accordance with the current state of the art in technology and medicine,
  • conducting scientific evaluations of biological agents and proposing classification into risk groups,
  • advising the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on issues of biological safety.
    The ABAS develops and supervises the Technical Rules for Biological Agents (TRBA) for the Biological Agents Ordinance (BioStoffV).

Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS)

Logo of the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS).

Section 20 of the Hazardous Substances Ordinance (GefStoffV) defines the composition of the AGS, which has 20 honorary members and 20 honorary deputy members.

Group picture of the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS).
Group picture of the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS).

The tasks of AGS include:

  • determining how the requirements set out in the GefStoffV can be met and to develop the rules and findings corresponding to the respective state of the art in science, technology, occupational medicine and workplace hygiene and making appropriate recommendations,
  • determining how the requirements set out in the GefStoffV can be met and developing rules and findings in accordance with the current state of the art in technology and medicine,
  • advising the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on all issues relating to hazardous substances and chemical safety, and
  • proposing and regularly reviewing occupational exposure limit values, biological limit values and other assessment criteria for hazardous substances, taking into account the following:

    • when determining the limit values and assessment standards, it must be ensured that the protection of the health of the employees is maintained,
    • for each substance for which an occupational exposure limit or a biological limit value has been laid down in the statutory instruments of the European Union, a national limit value should be proposed taking these limit values into account.

The AGS develops and supervises the Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) for the Hazardous Substances Ordinance (GefStoffV).

The business of the state committees is conducted by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA).

Further information on all committees on occupational safety and health and on Technical and Occupational Medical Rules can be found on the BAuA website at www.baua.de/ausschuesse.