Works Council’s right to know about work accidents also extends to external staff

According to a judgment by the Federal Labour Court, the works council may request information about work accidents suffered by individuals who are employed by an external party, if these works accidents were suffered in connection with the operational infrastructure (judgment dated 12 March 2019, docket number 1 ABR 48/17).

The company, a delivery service provider, used both its own staff as well as contractors to provide these services. When two contractors slipped and thus suffered injuries at work, the local works council requested copies of the relevant accident reports. In addition, it requested to be informed about work accidents by external staff and asked to countersign the accident reports.

While the courts of first and second instance rejected the claim for information, the Federal Labour Court held that the works council also had a right to be informed about the work accidents suffered by external individuals. In particular, this is based on the assumption that information about accidents can be helpful to identify the general health and safety situation. The court, however, rejected the claim with regard to the accident reports.