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Joint effort in Germany to address workplace safety concerns in wood construction

Under the leadership of the Federal Association of German Prefabricated Construction (BDF) and the German Prefabricated Wood Construction Association (DHV), the new Joint Interest Group for Workplace Safety in Prefabricated Wood Construction (IGAH) has now been initiated. Unified, the industry is pushing back against unfairly high contributions to the Construction Industry Trade Association (BG BAU). According to the new 4th hazard tariff, the BG BAU has classified prefabricated construction companies in the same tariff category as carpentry firms since this year - despite significantly better accident statistics and lower accident risks due to prefabrication in the factory.

At an information event attended by numerous companies, the Joint Interest Group for Workplace Safety in Prefabricated Wood Construction (IGAH) was initiated. Photo: BDF

'In the construction crisis with all its challenges, this bureaucratic hurdle with partly existential additional costs is now added. Our companies have been increasingly committed to workplace safety and accident prevention for years. Now we are being compared and merged with a group of people who do not come close to our accident statistics,' said BDF President Mathias Schäfer at an information event near Frankfurt, organised by the BDF and DHV associations, to initiate the founding of the IGAH. The companies aim to reduce accident rates further through increased prevention and automation. Since the risk factor in prefabricated wood construction is about half of tariff position 110, DHV President Erwin Taglieber demands a return to tariff position 200 for prefabricated wood construction.

Overall, approximately 100 prefabricated construction companies have been protesting jointly for months on the initiative of the BDF and DHV against the new bureaucratic requirements of the 4th hazard tariff, based on the assessment notice of the BG BAU from November 3, 2023. According to this notice, commercial employees of prefabricated construction companies are classified into tariff position 110 "carpentry work". Starting January 2024, this category includes, among other things, companies that perform carpentry work, including the manufacture and installation of buildings, prefabricated components, or structural elements made of wood.

From the perspective of prefabricated wood builders, this consolidation is illegal, which is why they are now pooling their efforts and measures against the BG BAU. The event was led by BDF Managing Director Georg Lange. The specialized lawyers commissioned by the associations provided detailed information on the legal situation, gave recommendations, and provided an outlook on the next steps. In mid-April, they will meet with the association heads at the BG BAU. The official founding meeting of the new IGAH is scheduled for mid-May. The industry representatives agreed on this schedule and on initial articles of association for the IGAH, in order to be able to act together as effectively as possible both in the legal dispute with the BG BAU and for future challenges in workplace safety.

'We are on the right track, both in the short and long term, when it comes to workplace safety, by working together in a large interest group and aiming for the lowest possible accident rates while presenting a united front to the trade associations,' says Taglieber.

More information:
Bundesverbandes Deutscher Fertigbau (BDF)

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