As employer, an industrial company has certain responsibilities. In this context, the statutory obligation in the Swiss Code of Obligations to take into account the personnel’s health and to undertake appropriate measures to preserve it, is of particular importance. The company must provide Occupational Safety. According to labour law, thereby, all measures deemed necessary according to experience as well as applicable according to the state of the art and appropriate according to the company’s circumstances have to be adopted. The company must especially rely on the regulations of the Federal Coordination Commission for Occupational Safety (EKAS), which stipulate safety requirements with reference to different disciplines (e.g., flammable liquids, chemical laboratories, liquid gas or asbestos). The determination of what is required – especially because of the different legal bases which have to be considered – can prove difficult. Nevertheless, it is essential for a company to meet its obligations concerning employee safety, and not only in view of possible claims for damages. For example, authorisation for establishing or reorganising industrial establishments is only granted if the corresponding plans are in keeping with the regulations regarding health protection. The company’s applying for such authorisation can be obliged to implement requirements, which in turn can prove cost-intensive.
Overall, companies have a vested interest to know what is required of them in terms of occupational safety, but also, what the limits of their obligations are. Only on this basis can a company establish an organisation compliant with requirements and examine whether demands by the authorities or the personnel are warranted.