In May 2020, the lower house of the German parliament passed new provisions in the legislation concerning occupational diseases. One important change for employees is that the obligation to cease the hazardous activity has been deleted with respect to nine of the 80 formally recognized occupational diseases listed as such in the Ordinance on Occupational Diseases. The new provisions also include extension of the prevention mandate of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions, improvements to the investigation of past exposure of employees (e.g. to biological substances, dangerous substances, radiation), and increased funding of research into occupational diseases. They are to come into force on 1 January 2021 and will be evaluated in 2026.
What do the new provisions mean for insured individuals, for prevention activity within companies and the occupational physicians, company physicians and other parties conducting it, and for the investigating labour inspectors of the accident insurance institutions and the assessors? What changes will they lead to in the conducting of investigations and in the formulation of expert opinions on exposures? What concepts should be implemented by the accident insurance institutions?