Prevention of occupational accidents and illnesses

Employers are responsible for preventing occupational accidents and illnesses (occupational safety). But employees also have a part to play.  

The obligations of employers and employees

Employers must take all measures to prevent occupational accidents and illnesses which experience has shown to be necessary, which are applicable with the latest technology and which are appropriate to the existing conditions. Employees also have a part to play in preventing occupational accidents and illnesses. Employers cover the costs of any measures taken to ensure occupational safety.

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

Binding requirements to protect employees

In the area of occupational safety, it is not sufficient merely to provide advice and information and to make recommendations. In some cases, there is a need for specific, binding requirements to protect employees (e.g. compulsory wearing of helmets, fall protection systems, safety barriers and light curtains for presses, saw blade guards). Occupational safety requirements can thus also be implemented by means of official directives.

Executive bodies

International and Swiss legislation provides for independent executive bodies which are responsible for overseeing compliance with occupational safety requirements. The following bodies are responsible for monitoring and enforcement of occupational safety:

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

Costs of monitoring

The costs of monitoring are financed through supplements on occupational accident insurance premiums. These supplements serve to cover the costs arising from the occupational safety activities of the executive bodies (Suva, cantonal labour inspectorates, Federal Labour Inspectorate). They are regulated by the Federal Council Ordinance on the Setting of Premium Supplements for Accident Prevention (SR 832.208).

Last modification 16.06.2020

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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
Tel. +41 58 462 21 11
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