In many noisy working environments, wearing hearing protection is prescribed by the employer. Therefore you should always use customised otoplastics when carrying out work that could damage your hearing. However, customised hearing protection is expensive. In this blog article, we therefore address the following questions:

Who pays for my customised otoplastic hearing protection?

If the wearing of hearing protection is legally prescribed at your company, in accordance with the German Occupational Health and Safety Act, your employer must cover 100% of the costs. It is up to the employer to decide how to finance these costs.

All commercial companies have two options for financing your customised hearing protection:

  • Occupational safety premiums from the Berufsgenossenschaft der Bauwirtschaft (Construction industry employers’ liability insurance association, BG BAU)
  • Subsidy from the Verwaltungs-Berufsgenossenschaft (Administrative Employer’s Liability

The BG BAU offers the occupational safety premium to commercial companies. In this case, 50% of the purchasing costs for the customised hearing protection is paid out as a premium, however the maximum subsidy amount is €100 – based on the annual BG contribution.

Since 2015, the VBG has offered some measures to prevent work-related accidents as part of a premium scheme. This means that 40% of the purchasing costs for the otoplastics are borne by the company.

The occupation safety premiums are part of the preventive services of statutory accident insurance, as through the use of specific protective work wear, work-related accidents, illnesses and health risks at any company can be reduced or even prevented.

However, your company must meet various criteria before one of these associations will cover your costs.

What criteria must my company meet?

Only commercial companies who are members of the Berufsgenossenschaft der Bauwirtschaft (BG BAU) and meet the following criteria are eligible for BG BAU subsidies:

  • Companies with at least one employee
  • BG contribution of at least €100
  • Operational area in which hearing protection must always be worn
  • The application must be made in the year of purchase

In addition, sole traders with voluntary insurance from BG BAU may receive a subsidy of up to €250 annually.

To receive a premium from the Verwaltungs-Berufsgenossenschaft, your company must belong to a specific sector in which the accident rates and average costs associated with accidents are at least 50% higher than the VBG average.

These sectors are:

  • Security companies
  • Temporary employment agencies
  • Sports companies with paid sportspeople
  • Companies in the glass and ceramics industries
  • Motor vehicle companies, railway services

If you meet the above-mentioned criteria, it must still be checked whether the otoplastics you have purchased are eligible for subsidies.

What kind of otoplastics are subsidised? – Requirements and notes

Not all customised hearing protection meets the criteria for a subsidy. You should therefore check, prior to purchase, which otoplastics are eligible.

The otoplastics must meet one of the following specifications:

  • In-ear otoplastics with cord and passive filter
  • Otoplastics with additional electronic accessories
  • Otoplastics with metal insert for detection

Whether your otoplastics are eligible for a subsidy is decided by a functional check in accordance with the TRLV Lärm (Technical Rules for Noise and Vibration Protection at Work Ordinance). This check is usually carried out before initial use, but within 6 months of delivery and then every 3 years. This is required because the ear canal may change over the years, resulting in the otoplastics no longer fitting correctly. The functional check tests the correct fit of the otoplastics in the ear canal.

Otoplastic hearing protection check by BG BAUCustomised hearing protection check by VBG

If your company and your customised hearing protection meets all the criteria, the only thing left to do is to apply for the subsidy.

How do I receive the occupational safety premium for customised hearing protection?

Whichever association you would like to apply to in order to receive a subsidy, you must observe the following steps:

  • Find the receipts for the purchased otoplastics
  • Fill in the corresponding application form
  • Send the application with all receipts to the association by post

All applications require company-specific information and precise details about the hearing protection product. The attached invoices must be made out to the applicant company and the invoice date must be within the application year.

With BG BAU, you also have the option of saving up your subsidy payments. This option is particularly attractive for smaller businesses. Companies can save their subsidy amount over several years, in order to then receive a higher subsidy amount. The amount of the subsidy that you ultimately receive depends on your company’s contribution to BG BAU and the resulting classification.

Level A

  • BG contribution: € 100 to € 250
  • Subsidy amount: € 100

Level B

  • BG contribution: € 251 to € 25,000
  • Subsidy amount: 10 % of the contribution (€ 100 – € 2,500)

Level C

  • BG contribution: € 25,001 to € 50,000
  • Subsidy amount: 7.5 % of the contribution (€ 2,500 – € 3,750)

Level D

  • BG contribution: € 50,001 to € 100,000
  • Subsidy amount: 5 % of the contribution (€ 3,750 – € 5,000)

Level E

  • BG contribution: from € 100,000
  • Subsidy amount: 2 % of the contribution (€ 5,000 – € 20,000)

BG BAU therefore pays you 50% of the purchase price of your otoplastics or, if this exceeds your maximum subsidy amount, only this maximum amount will be paid to you.

The VBG on the other hand will pay you 40% of the purchase price. As a uvex customer, you won’t need to collect individual receipts throughout the year – because at the end of the year we will give you an invoice journal with all purchased products, created in accordance with VBG requirements.

BG BAU subsidy application for customised hearing protectionVBG application for otoplastics subsidy

Tell us about your experiences with occupational safety subsidies in the comments – all opinions welcome!

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