The German Workplace Ordinance, together with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, implements EU Directive 89/654/EEC. It contains the basic requirements specified for workplaces. When planning workrooms, it is particularly important to observe the ArbStättV. Here we are primarily concerned with the design of a workplace. What criteria must the noise protection meet, how much light is necessary and what should be considered in the indoor climate? If you plan new workspaces with WSM’s mobile room systems, you will receive competent support in implementing the Workplace Ordinance.
Noise has been shown to cause stress in the body and stress the mind. Noise causes concentration and attention to drop. As a result, the frequency of errors increases and the performance of employees decreases. The Workplace Ordinance therefore stipulates that sound pressure at work should be as low as possible so as not to disturb concentration or necessary conversations. Depending on the activity, a sound level of 55 dB(A) to 70 dB(A) should not be exceeded at office workplaces. In practice, however, the value of 55 dB(A) is difficult to comply with and applies to particularly demanding work, since a person normally generates a sound pressure level of 63 dB(A) even when speaking. Nevertheless, the guide values provide a good orientation, because people adjust their conversational volume to the ambient noise: The louder the noise in the environment, the louder the person speaks.
The quality of lighting in the workplace affects performance and well-being. Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain, resulting in burning eyes, flickering or headaches. Office rooms should be sufficiently supplied with daylight through appropriate windows. Where this is not possible – for example in hall offices – a sufficient level of lighting must be provided by artificial light. The minimum value of illuminance is 500 lux. This strength does not apply to the entire room, but only to the area of the workplace. In the remaining area, a minimum illuminance value of 300 lux is required.
Employees perceive a room climate as comfortable if the temperature and humidity are within certain tolerance values and the air is regularly exchanged by fresh air supply. Ideally, office rooms are regularly ventilated with fresh air through open windows. Where this is not possible, ventilation and air-conditioning systems must be used that are regularly cleaned, maintained and repaired in order to exclude health hazards. In case of deviations, well-being, concentration and performance can be disturbed. The air temperature in office rooms must be at least 20 °C. Air temperatures up to 22 °C are recommended. The limit of 26 °C should not be exceeded. If the outside air temperature is above 26 °C and suitable sun protection measures are used, the air temperature in the work room may be higher. If the air temperature exceeds 30 °C, additional appropriate measures must be taken. If the air temperature in the room exceeds 35 °C, the room is not suitable as a work room for the time the temperature is exceeded without special measures.
Further information on the EC Directives can be found on the website of the German Employers’ Liability Insurance Association for Wood and Metal