European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

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

Factsheet for measure DE-2020-17/1142 Updated – measures in Germany

COVID-19 OSH standards for industrial cleaners

Sars CoV-2 Arbeitsschutzstandards für Gebäudereiniger

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 23 April 2020 – 25 May 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound
Measure added 15 September 2020 (updated 27 February 2023)

Background information

The social partners in the industrial cleaning sector jointly released a booklet on occupational health and safety measures for industrial cleaners in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The social partners are the Trade Union for Building, Forestry, Agriculture and the Environment (IG BAU) and the sectoral employer liability association (Berufsgenossenschaft, BG BAU) and the industrial cleaning guild association (Bundesinnungsverband des Gebäudereiniger-Handwerks, BIV).

Content of measure

The new OSH standard implements the new SARS-CoV-2 Worker Protection regulation of 20 August 2020, released by the German Ministry for Labour and Social Policy (Bundesministeriums für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS). The new federal regulation demands special hygiene measures to protect workers from contracting SARS-CoV-2. The standard helps companies comply with the new regulation and protect their workers through increased hygiene measures. The agreed standards include the use of face masks at work when social distancing cannot be guaranteed. The practical measures include provision of protective equipment in local facilities and the installation of small teams with minimum fluctuation to avoid varying contacts among employees.


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

01 June 2022

When these regulations expire on 25 May 2022, the occupational health and safety standard will no longer be binding. However, it will continue to provide guidance for hygiene measures in the workplace if these become necessary due to a changed infection situation or special workplaces.

Use of measure

Through their compliance with the BG BAU coronavirus OSH standard, companies comply with German coronavirus OSH law. The updated version of the Industrial Cleaning COVID-19 OSH standard dates 9 October 2020.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Social partners jointly
Social insurance
Employers organisation

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 Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

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

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


  1. Social partners voluntarily revised the existing sectoral OSH standards in order to ensure compliance with new federal worker protection legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was the Industrial Cleaning COVID-19 Worker Protection Handbook.
  2. The relevant sectoral organisations from the employer and employee side were involved.
  3. Social partner organisations jointly provided the resources to create the handbook. Employers are responsible for funding the implementation of hygiene measures such providing protective equipment or enabling work in small, stable teams.

Views and reactions

The social partner organisations involved in the creation of the handbook are in the agreement that the outcome of their collaboration is useful. All organisations involved present the Industrial Cleaning COVID-19 Worker Protection Handbook on their organisational websites.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      M - Professional, Scientific And Technical Activities M74 Other professional, scientific and technical activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Cleaners and helpers


  • 30 April 2020: Case 1142 BG BAU press release
  • 09 October 2020: Case 1142 BG BAU OSH Standards
  • 01 June 2022: Trade Association Construction Industry (BG Bau) (


Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 OSH standards for industrial cleaners, measure DE-2020-17/1142 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


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