Executive Order on the Performance of Work1

Executive Order No. 559 of 17 June 2004 issued by the Danish Working Environment Authority - unofficial version

THE COMPILATION OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS comprises the following

  • No. 559 of 17 June 2004, which entered into force on 1 July 2004
  • No. 1523 of 15 December 2010, which entered into force on 1 January 2011 (Consequential amendment due to new rules on cooperation concerning health and safety)
  • No. 513 of 17 May, which entered into force on 31 May 2011 (
  • No. 447 of 24 April 2013, which entered into force on 11 May 2013 
  • No. 627 of 4 May 2015, which entered into force on 1 June 2015 (Implementation of Directive 2014/27/EU etc.)

Pursuant to sections 12, 15a(4), 17(3), 20(2), 22a, 39(1), 40, 41, 57, 63(1-3), and 84 of the Consolidation Act on the Working Environment, cf. Consolidation Act no. 1072 of 7 September 2010, it is determined by order pursuant to section 73:

Part 1 - Scope

1. -(1) This Executive Order shall apply to any work performed for an employer.

(2) This Executive Order shall also apply:

  1. to work not performed for an employer, except sections 6a to 6c, section 7, section 10 and sections 22 to 24;
  2. to work performed in the employer's private household, except sections 6a to 6c, section 7, section 10 and sections 22 to 24; and
  3. to work performed exclusively by the members of the employer's family who belong to his household, except sections 6a to 6c, section 7(1), sections 8 to 10 and sections 22 to 24.

2. The obligations under this Executive Order shall rest on employers, business managers, supervisors and other employees, suppliers, project planners, repairers, etc. in accordance with the general rules laid down by the Working Environment Act.

3. In addition to the provisions of this Executive Order, such rules shall apply as may have been laid down on the performance of work in pursuance of other legislation.

Part 2 - Planning and organisation of work

4. All aspects related to work shall be planned and organised so as to ensure safe and healthy working conditions. Planning and organisation of work shall take into account the principles of prevention stated in Annex 1. It shall be ensured that no designs, plans, detailed solutions or working methods which may be dangerous to or otherwise impair health or safety in connection with the performance of work are prescribed or assumed to be used. Moreover, it shall be ensured that the overall impact on the working environment does not in the short or the longer term impair the health and safety of the employees.

5. In connection with the planning of new or changing of existing workplaces, working processes and methods, the introduction of new technology, the acquisition of technical equipment, personal protective equipment and substances and materials, it shall be ensured that the working environment conforms to the general and special requirements of the working environment legislation.

6. -(1) The internal health and safety organisation of the enterprise shall participate in the planning of the work, cf. sections 4 and 5, and in inspection of the working environment, cf. Part 5.

(2) In enterprises where no internal health and safety organisation is to be set up, the employees shall participate in the planning of the work, cf. sections 4 and 5, and in inspection of the working environment, cf. Part 5.

Part 2a - Workplace assessment

6a.-(1) The employer shall ensure that a written workplace assessment of the health and safety conditions of the workplace is drawn up, mainly with a view to ensuring a written procedure in connection with the detailed planning, organisation and implementation of the workplace assessment and to ensuring recognition of the result thereof, cf. section 6b(5). The workplace assessment may be drawn up in electronic form.

(2) To ensure that all health and safety conditions are included in the workplace assessment, the employer shall see to it that the internal health and safety organisation of the enterprise is involved in and participates in the entire process concerning planning, organisation, implementation and follow-up as well as updating of the workplace assessment. The internale health and safety organisation shall attest the workplace assessment to document its involvement.

(3) In enterprises where no internal health and safety organisation is to be set up, the employees shall be similarly involved in drawing up the workplace assessment, cf. subsection (2) above.

6b-(1) A workplace assessment shall be drawn up regardless of the nature of the work, the technical means, substances and materials, working methods and processes used in the enterprise, the design and fitting out of the workplace and the size and organisation of the enterprise.

(2) In compliance with the principles of prevention stated in Annex 1, a workplace assessment shall include an opinion on the health and safety problems of the enterprise and how these are to be solved. The necessary solutions shall be specified in the workplace assessment.

(3) The employer may choose the method according to which the workplace assessment is to be drawn up. However, the chosen method shall ensure that the assessment includes the following elements:

  1. Identification and mapping of the health and safety conditions of the enterprise, including health and safety problems, if any, and their nature and scale.
  2. Description and assessment of the health and safety problems of the enterprise, including their nature, seriousness and scale, and their causes in order to introduce the necessary solutions.
  3. Incorporation of sick absence at the enterprise with a view to assessing whether any health and safety conditions of the enterprise may contribute to the sick absence.
  4. Prioritising and preparing an action plan to solve those health and safety problems of the enterprise which cannot be immediately solved. The plan shall prescribe the order of and rate at which the problems observed shall be solved.
  5. Guidelines on follow-up procedures with regard to the action plan, specifying who is responsible for implementing the plan and where and how to supervise and control the measures initiated, including whether the solutions introduced are adequate and whether the action plan shall be revised, etc.

(4) A workplace assessment shall be brought up to date in the event of any changes in the work, the working methods and processes, etc. that affect the working environment of the enterprise, however, at least every three years.

(5) A workplace assessment shall be filed in the enterprise and shall be available to managers, supervisors, other employees and the Danish Working Environment Authority.

(6) A workplace assessment shall not be submitted to or approved by the Danish Working Environment Authority unless specific rules on this matter have been laid down in the Working Environment Act.

6c-(1) If the employer does not have the necessary expertise to draw up the workplace assessment, the employer shall obtain external specialist expertise.

(2) Regardless of whether the employer obtains external specialist expertise, it shall remain the employer's responsibility to ensure that a workplace assessment is drawn up and that the requirements prescribed in sections 6a and 6b(1) to (5) are observed.

Part 3 - Performance of work

General requirements

7.-(1) All aspects related to work shall be performed so as to ensure health and safety, both in the light of an individual assessment and in the light of an overall assessment of the physical, ergonomic and psychosocial conditions of the working environment which in the short or the longer term may affect the physical or mental health of the employees.

(2) In the case of work having a physically or mentally harmful or stressful effect in the short or the longer term, the Danish Working Environment Authority may demand that special occupational health and safety measures be carried out. Such measures may be special welfare measures and any other occupational health and safety measures necessary for the prevention of diseases, wearing-down, accidents, etc.

(3) Where work may involve particular risks to health and safety, the Danish Working Environment Authority may demand breaks and limited working hours for such work where such risk cannot otherwise be prevented. The same requirements may be stipulated where special working clothing and personal protective equipment are used.

8.-(1) In connection with the performance of work account shall be taken of the employee's age, insight, fitness for work and other qualifications.

(2) Particularly sensitive risk groups, including pregnant employees and employees who are breastfeeding, shall be protected against the dangers which specifically affect them.

(3) When the employer is notified or otherwise becomes aware that an employee is pregnant or breastfeeding, the employer shall see to it that the assessment of health and safety at work includes an evaluation of whether the employee is exposed to effects which may involve danger to the pregnancy or breastfeeding, cf. in particular the agents, working processes and working conditions mentioned in Annex 2.

(4) If thereafter the risk is found to exist that a pregnant employee or an employee who is breastfeeding is exposed to the effects referred to in subsection (3) above, it shall be determined on the basis of an assessment of the nature, scale and duration of the individual exposure whether such risk will have an adverse effect on the pregnancy or breastfeeding of the employee, and, where necessary, preventive measures shall be taken in pursuance of subsections (5) and (6) below.

(5) If possible, such measures shall consist of technical measures or design and fitting out of the workplace. Where it is not reasonably practicable to achieve adequate protection of the employee in this way, the risk shall be prevented through measures in connection with the planning and organisation of the work, including, if necessary, any change of working hours and limitation of night work.

(6) If it is not possible to comply with subsection (5) above, the measures may consist of transfer to other jobs which do not involve any danger to the health and safety of the pregnant employee or the employee who is breastfeeding.

9. In connection with the performance of work, efforts shall be made to ensure

  1. that monotonous work involving a risk of physical or mental impairment to health in the short or the longer term is avoided or alleviated;
  2. that the work pace does not involve any risk of physical or mental impairment to health in the short or the longer term; and
  3. that work in isolation which may involve a risk of physical or mental impairment to health is avoided or alleviated;

9a. In connection with the performance of work, it shall be ensured that the work does not involve a risk of physical or mental impairment to health as a result of bullying, including sexual harassment.

10. In connection with the performance of work, it shall be ensured:

  1. that the design of workplaces, equipment, technical means, and the choice of working and production methods are as far as possible adapted to the persons using them;
  2. that suitable and efficient equipment such as lifting devices and means of transport, etc. are available to the extent necessary to enable the work to be performed safely and without risks to health.

Special requirements

11. -(1) If the employee is the only person engaged in a working process and this may involve specific danger to the person concerned, the work shall be organised so as to prevent such danger. If the danger cannot be prevented, the employee shall not be permitted to work alone.

(2) Steps shall be taken to ensure that only employees who have received adequate instructions may have access to areas where there is specific danger.  

12.-(1) If, in connection with certain jobs, the physical or mental state of an employee may present increased risk to the employee himself or his surroundings, the employee shall not be engaged in such work.

(2) Where the measures referred to in section 8(4) are not found to be adequate to prevent the risk to the health and safety of the pregnant employee or the employee who is breastfeeding, such employee shall not be engaged in the work concerned.

13. In connection with the performance of work, it shall be ensured

  1. that effective measures have been taken to prevent risks of collapses, falls, earthfalls, accidents arising from electric power, vibrations, and the like;
  2. that the danger of explosion, fire, poisoning and suffocation, etc. is effectively prevented;
  3. that effective measures be taken to prevent any escape, leakage and generation of dust, smoke, vapours, smells, gas, etc. which may endanger health and safety;
  4. that effective measures be taken to protect the employees where the working process or the conditions under which work is performed represents a risk of infection; and
  5. that the climatic and lighting conditions are fully satisfactory from a health and safety point of view for the work to be performed. In this connection measures shall be taken to protect the employees from intense heat or cold.
14. Any unnecessary exposure to noise shall be avoided. Therefore, the noise level during work shall be reduced to the lowest level reasonably practicable taking account of technical progress, and any limits fixed shall be complied with.

Any unnecessary exposure to noise shall be avoided. Therefore, the noise level during work shall be reduced to the lowest level reasonably practicable taking account of technical progress, and any limits fixed shall be complied with. 

15. Any unnecessary exposure to radiation shall be avoided. Therefore, the effect of radiation during work shall be reduced to the lowest level reasonably practicable taking account of technical progress, and any limit values fixed shall be complied with.

16. Any unnecessary effect of substances and materials shall be avoided. Therefore, the effect of substances and materials during work shall be reduced to the lowest level reasonably practicable taking account of technical progress, and any limit values fixed shall be complied with.

17. Any unnecessary physical loads and inappropriate postures or movements shall be avoided. Therefore, the load during work shall be reduced to the lowest level reasonably practicable taking account of technical progress, and any limits fixed shall be complied with.

Part 4 - Training and instructions

18.-(1) The employer shall ensure that each employee – irrespective of the nature and duration of the employment relationship – receives adequate and appropriate training and instructions in performing the work safely. Information shall be given about any risks of accidents and diseases specific to their jobs, including information about any occupational-medicine studies that the employees have access to. Training and instructions shall particularly be given:

  1. on recruitment;
  2. in the event of a transfer or a change of job;
  3. in the event of the introduction of new work equipment or a change in equipment;
  4. in the event of the introduction of any new technology.

(2) The training and instructions mentioned in subsection (1) above shall be adapted to the development taking account of new risks and shall be repeated periodically if necessary.

19. The employer shall pay any expenses connected with the training referred to in section 18, which shall take place during working hours.

20. The employer shall ensure that employees from outside enterprises engaged in work in his enterprise receive appropriate instructions regarding the health and safety conditions of the enterprise which are relevant to their activities in his enterprise.

21.-(1) An enterprise employing persons whose services have been hired out to the enterprise or otherwise made available to the enterprise by an outside enterprise shall be under an obligation to ensure that the work is planned, organised and performed so as to ensure safety and health and in accordance with the rules laid down by the working environment legislation.

(2) Prior to the commencement of such employment the enterprise shall give the outside enterprise the following information which the latter shall be under an obligation to communicate to the persons to be employed:

  1. the required professional level, including whether special qualifications are required;
  2. any requirements of health certificates; and
  3. the special nature of the work, including any risks.

Part 5 -Inspection of the working environment

22. In order to ensure safe and healthy working conditions at all times, the employer shall ensure

  1. that the assessment, cf. section 6b(4) and (5) and section 8(4), is in the possession of the enterprise and is revised whenever this is of particular importance to health and safety at work;
  2. that expert assistance is obtained where necessary to ascertain whether the working conditions are safe and healthy; and
  3. that a list is kept and reports prepared on any occupational accidents in accordance with Executive Order on the Reporting of Occupational Accidents, etc. to the Danish Working Environment Authority.

23. -(1) The employer shall ensure

  1. that rules of work for cleaning, repairs and maintenance are drawn up to the extent necessary to ensure that the work can be performed safely and without risks to health;
  2. that the necessary measures are taken in the enterprise with regard to first aid, fire fighting and evacuation of employees taking account of the nature of the work and the size of the enterprise. If necessary, the enterprise shall obtain the external specialist expertise; and
  3. that emergency, evacuation and exercise plans are drawn up in cases where there may be a specific risk of leakage of dangerous substances or where there may be a specific risk of fire, explosion, accidents or the like.

(2) The employer shall select the persons responsible for introducing the measures and plans under paragraphs 1) and 2) of subsection (1) above, and they must have received the necessary training, make up a sufficient number and have adequate equipment at their disposal taking account of the nature of the work and the size of the enterprise. The employees of the enterprise shall be informed of the contents of the aforesaid measures and plans.

(3) Effective inspection and supervision shall be conducted to ensure that the rules, measures and plans mentioned in subsection (1) above are complied with. Such inspection and supervision shall be conducted by persons having the necessary insight in the field concerned.

24. Effective inspection shall be carried out to ensure that the harmful effects mentioned in sections 13 to 16 are prevented. Where gases, vapours and dust arising from substances and materials or noise and radiation may present a health hazard, the employer shall see to it that inspection is carried out regularly or, where necessary, continuously to ensure that conditions are in order and that in this connection such measurements are made as are necessary to carry out inspection. The results of such measurements shall be kept and presented on request to the Danish Working Environment Authority.

Part 6 - Detailed rules and exemptions

25. -(1) The Director General of the Danish Working Environment Authority shall be authorised to lay down detailed rules concerning the performance of work in accordance with the aforesaid provisions.

(2) In addition, the rules may contain provisions:

  1. concerning special welfare measures and other occupational health and safety measures necessary for the prevention of diseases, wearing-down, accidents, etc. in connection with work which must be deemed to have a physically or mentally stressful effect in the short or the longer term;
  2. concerning posting of notices or adequate marking;
  3. concerning limit values, including noise limits, weight limits, temperatures, radiation, etc., as well as control of compliance with such limit values;
  4. to the effect that work which may involve a substantial risk of accidents or diseases may only be performed by persons having received specified training, passed a test or attained a certain age;
  5. concerning employment of persons suffering from bodily or mental defects or diseases which may involve an increased risk of accidents or diseases in connection with certain jobs;
  6. concerning restrictions on the access to let employees work alone.

(3) The rules may include references to acknowledged norms and standards provided that they are specified clearly and include dating.

(4) In the rules the Director General of the Danish Working Environment Authority may authorise the regional inspectorates to permit, to a specified extent, derogations from the detailed rules, cf. section 28.

26. The Director General of the Danish Working Environment Authority shall issue WEA guidelines and guides specifying how the provisions of the Executive Order and the detailed rules can be met.

27. Where the performance of work is also subject to other legislation, no rules may be laid down in pursuance of the aforesaid provisions without prior consultation with the respective authorities.

28. In special circumstances, the Director General of the Danish Working Environment Authority may permit derogations from the provisions of this Executive Order where this is deemed to be reasonable and fully acceptable and to the extent it is compatible with Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the health and safety of workers at work, Directive 91/383/EEC of 25 June 1991 supplementing the measures to encourage improvements in the health and safety at work of workers with a fixed-duration employment relationship or a temporary employment relationship, and Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the health and safety at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.

Part 7 - Right of appeal

29. Any decisions made by the Danish Working Environment Authority under this Executive Order may be appealed in accordance with section 81 of the Working Environment Act.

Part 8 - Penalty provisions

30. -(1) Unless a more severe penalty is prescribed by the Working Environment Act or any other legislation, anyone who

  1. contravenes section 4, section 5, section 6a, section 6b(1) to (5), section 6c, section 7(1), section 8(1) to (4), section 9a and sections 10 to 24;
  2. fails to comply with any improvement notice or prohibition notice issued in accordance with the provisions of this Executive Order.

(2) For contravention of section 4, section 5, section 6a, section 6b(1) to (5), section 6c, section 7(1), section 10, section 11, sections 13 to 17 and sections 22 to 24 an employer may be held liable to pay a fine even if he has not acted intentionally or negligently. The liability to pay a fine shall be on condition that the contravention may be ascribed to one or more persons associated with the enterprise or the enterprise per se. There shall be no alternative sentence in lieu of the fine.

(3) Companies, etc. (legal persons) may be held criminally liable pursuant to the rules set out in Part 5 of the Danish Criminal Code.

31. Any detailed rules laid down in pursuance of this Executive Order may provide for punishment for contravention of provisions thereof in pursuance of section 84 of the Working Environment Act.

Part 9 - Entry into Force, etc.

32. -(1) This Executive Order shall enter into force on 1 July 2004, cf. however subsections (2) and (3) hereof.

(2) Paragraph 3 of section 6b(3) shall enter into force on 1 January 2005.

(3) For employers who have drawn up a workplace assessment by 31 December 2004, paragraph 3 of section 6b(3) shall enter into force when the workplace assessment has to be updated, cf. section 6b(4).

(4) Executive Order No. 492 of 20 June 2002 on the Performance of Work shall be repealed on 1 July 2004.

The Danish Working Environment Authority, 17 June 2004

Jens Jensen/Charlotte Skjoldager

1) This Executive Order contains provisions implementing Directive 89/391/EEC of the Council of 12 June 1989, Official Journal 1989, no. L 183, p. 1, as last amended by Regulation (EC) no. 1137/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008, Official Journal 2008, no. 311, p. 1, Directive 91/383/EEC of the Council of 25 June 1991, Official Journal 1991, no. L 206, p. 19, as amended by Directive 2007/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2007, Directive 92/85/EEC of the Council of 19 October 1992, Official Journal 1992, no. L 348, p. 1, as amended by Directive 2007/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2007 and Directive 2010/32/EU of the Council of 10 May 2010, Official Journal 2010, no. L 134, p. 66.