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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case AT-2020-13/588 Updated – measures in Austria

Instructions from the social partners for dealing with construction sites due to COVID-19

Handlungsanleitung der Sozialpartner für den Umgang mit Baustellen aufgrund von COVID-19

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 26 March 2020
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Case created 14 April 2020 (updated 11 January 2022)

Background information

The Austrian government did not want to halt construction work in times of the pandemic, so the social partners in the construction sector worked out, in cooperation with the labour inspectorate, instructions on how to protect workers against the Coronavirus in the construction industry. This resulted in a guide that was published on 26 March 2020. It applies to all workers working on construction sites. The set of instructions complements the general COVID-19 protective measures (i.e. distance of at least one meter to each other; wash hands thoroughly; do not touch your face; cough in the bent elbows or sneeze in a handkerchief, which is then immediately disposed of) - see cases AT-2020-12/590 and AT-2020-12/589 in this database.

Content of measure

To comply with occupational hygiene on the construction site, sanitary measures must be taken in accordance with Section 34 and Section 35 of the Construction Worker Protection Ordinance (BauV).

Additional measures in the areas industrial hygiene; organisational measures; work equipment; risk groups; minimization obligation during transport; dormitories; and coordination of work must also be implemented:

Industrial hygiene

  • Provision of disinfectants and regular disinfection of the sanitary and social facilities on the construction site in short cleaning intervals
  • When using vehicles, construction machinery or tools, disinfection must be carried out by other personnel before use;
  • If disinfection is not possible in individual cases, gloves can be used as an alternative

Organisational measures

  • staggering in terms of time or place to maintain the necessary distance when changing clothes, during breaks
  • plan work processes according to the technical possibilities so that the number of employees working at one location at the same time is as small as possible

Work equipment

  • if the protective distance of at least one meter cannot be maintained workers must have mouth-nose protection or a full visor

Transport

  • the number of employees must be minimised, taking into account the necessary minimum distance of one meter

Dormitories

  • must not be occupied by more than one person

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

22 November 2021

In general, on construction sites, regulations and protective measures that apply to places of professional activity apply (see [AT-2020-12/589] (https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2020-12_589).

The social partners' instructions were last updated on 29 January 2021 to the then valid legal regulations. The current measures of the Ministry of Health take precedence over the provisions of the operating instructions. However, according to the Labour Inspectorate, the instructions can be well used as an aid to creating a COVID-19 prevention concept (which is foreseen for workplaces with over 51 employees as), as well as an aid to implementing COVID-19 measures in businesses with fewer employees.

Use of measure

The measure has to be applied on all construction sites.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level

Involvement

The sectoral social partners in the construction industry developed this guide in cooperation with the labour inspectorate.

Views and reactions

Social partners are supportive of the measure.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      F - Construction F41 Construction of buildings
      F42 Civil engineering
      F43 Specialised construction activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Building and related trades workers, excluding electricians
      Drivers and mobile plant operators

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Instructions from the social partners for dealing with construction sites due to COVID-19, case AT-2020-13/588 (measures in Austria), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.