3. Health and Safety Measures
Requirements mandated by law or any official guidance.
According to article 6a of the COVID-19 Regulation 2, establishments and businesses which are publicly accessible, must prepare and implement a plan for precautionary measures. Such measures include home office, social distancing, hygienic actions, etc.
Measures typically implemented by employers and the associated legal risks, limitations, obligations and issues to consider.
According to Article 6 of the Swiss Labour Law Act, the employer is obliged to prevent any impairment to the health of his employees. He therefore has to take all measures which are appropriate and reasonable under economic circumstances. The employer must additionally ensure that the measures provided by the Federal Council and the Ministry of Health are observed and implemented at the workplace. These measures include:
- home office (if possible)
- social distance at the workplace (at least 2 meters or additional measures such as minimising contact time, etc.)
- hygiene measures (regular washing and disinfecting of hands, work surfaces, doorknobs, elevator buttons, stair railings, coffee machine and other work equipment, especially if used by various employees, as well as routine ventilation).
In particular situations, the use of protective equipment such as gloves, masks or goggles may be advisable. However, such equipment, unlike in other countries, is not generally required in Switzerland.
Special regulations apply for employees at high risk. Persons over 65 years of age and all persons with high blood pressure, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, diseases and therapies that weaken the immune system, cardiovascular diseases and cancer are considered as particularly at risk. Employers must allow employees at high risk to work from home. If a person at high risk is only able to perform his/her work at the workplace, the employer must adapt the workplace or working procedures accordingly, to ensure that the person is adequately protected. If the employer fails to do so, the employee at risk must be placed on leave with continued salary. Employees at high risk must provide their employer with a personal declaration to that effect. The employer may request a doctor’s certificate.
Information sheets for employers as well as health check lists are available for employers on the website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in German, French and Italian: https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/home/Publikationen_Dienstleistungen/Publikationen_und_Formulare/Arbeit/Arbeitsbedingungen/Merkblatter_und_Checklisten.html