When taking over production or office buildings, new problems suddenly arise because plans do not meet the requirements of the Workplace Ordinance. The builders had relied on the planning permission process. In politics and practice then often contradictory requirements of building law and workplace law is discussed. In order to clarify the relationships between these areas of law, the Federal Ministry of Labor (BMAS) commissioned the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) to identify and evaluate interfaces between the two regulatory areas. The now published “Legal Report on the Interplay of Workplace Law and Building Regulations Law” shows that both areas of law work together and, in principle, do not need to be aligned.
While the workplace law is based on European Community law, building law is the responsibility of the federal states. In politics and practice, there are always discussions about contradictions between the two areas of law. In consultation with the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs , the BAuA commissioned a legal opinion, which was published at the Center for Social Research Halle e. V. at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg under the leadership of Prof. Dr. med. Wolfhard Kohte was created.
The report makes it clear that the contradictions between workplace law and building law that have been raised in discussions do not exist. Rather, the fields of law “occupational safety with workplace law” and “building law” complement each other. Among other things, there are recourse to concretizations in each other area of law. For example, occupational safety and health law refers to building regulations with regard to stability and structural fire protection. However, individual collisions exist at subordinate level of regulation. However, these could be clarified step by step.
The report also considers frequently mentioned solutions that could improve the implementation of the regulations. Here, the report comes to the conclusion that it is not the framework, ie a uniform building law, or the order of priority of further implementation in the foreground. Rather, the interaction of occupational safety and building law should be envisaged. Priority is given to the regulation, which leads to a higher level of protection for employees.
The report shows that, overall, there are no significant problems at the formal-legal level, but in particular information deficits, misunderstandings and implementation problems in concrete application in the planning of workplaces. Therefore, the requirements of the Workplace Ordinance should be included at an early stage in the planning and possibly also in the building permit procedure. In addition, the information for the practice can be improved so that those concerned can fully grasp and take into account the complex contents of the two areas of law.
“Legal opinion on the interaction of workplace law and building law”; Wolfhard Kohte; Dortmund; Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 2018; 150 pages; DOI: 10.21934 / baua: report20180430. The report in PDF format is available on the BAuA website at www.baua.de/publikationen