Prevention of occupational accidents and diseases

Employers are responsible for preventing occupational accidents and diseases (occupational safety). But employees have a part to play, too.

The obligations of employers and employees

Employers must take all steps to prevent occupational accidents and diseases that are deemed necessary based on experience, that comply with the latest technology and that are appropriate in the given circumstances. Employees also play a part in preventing occupational accidents and diseases. Employers cover the costs of any steps they take to safeguard occupational safety.

Employees must comply with their employer’s instructions regarding occupational safety, as well as the generally accepted safety regulations. In particular, they must use personal protective equipment (PPE) and should not jeopardise the effectiveness of safety equipment.

Binding obligations to protect employees

Occupational safety is characterised by the fact that it is not only achieved through the provision of guidance, information and recommendations. It may also include concrete and binding obligations to protect employees (e.g. requiring staff to wear protective helmets, fall protection, safety barriers and light curtains on heavy compactors, saw blade hoods). Occupational safety requirements can therefore be implemented by means of official directives.

Public implementing bodies

International and Swiss legislation provides for independent, public implementing bodies. Their job is to check that the occupational safety requirements are being met. The following implementing bodies are responsible for monitoring and enforcement of occupational safety:

  • Swiss Accident Insurance Fund (Suva)
  • Cantonal labour inspectorates
  • Federal Labour Inspectorate

Monitoring costs

The monitoring costs are financed through supplementary premiums for occupational accident insurance. These supplementary premiums serve to cover the costs of the implementing bodies (Suva, cantonal labour inspectorates, Federal Labour Inspectorate) from their occupational safety activities. They are regulated in the Federal Council Ordinance on the Setting of Supplementary Premiums for Accident Prevention (SR 832.208).

Last modification 05.07.2018

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Insurance Supervision Division
Section Accident Insurance, Accident Prevention and Military Insurance
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Berne
Switzerland
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