More than two months earlier than originally planned, the few remaining rules currently still in place to contain the risk of infection with the coronavirus in the workplace are due to expire. On January 25, 2023, the Federal Cabinet decided to repeal the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance, which has been unchanged and in force since October 1, on February 2, 2023. This will end the special regulations for dealing with the coronavirus in the workplace. The reason given for this is that the number of new infections has been falling steadily for weeks despite the wintry temperatures – fortunately, the feared winter wave does not seem to have occurred.
The SARS-CoV-2 occupational health and safety regulation, which is currently still in force and expires on February 2, 2023, obliges employers to counter the dangers posed by the coronavirus in the workplace by means of a company hygiene concept. Although the ordinance does not prescribe any specific protective measures for employers, they are nevertheless obliged to take precautions to reduce the risk of infection in line with the conditions at the workplace. To this end, specifically named protective measures must be examined as part of the development of the company hygiene concept and, if the employer deems them suitable, they must be implemented. In addition to the generally applicable distancing regulations, these measures include, for example, an obligation on the part of the employer to wear masks in certain areas of the company, special room utilization concepts with a reduction in the number of occupants, the creation of company test offers, or making it possible to work in a home office environment.
The employer’s obligation to allow employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus during working hours will also cease to apply on February 2, 2023.
We will of course keep you informed about further developments.