What is a CRES?
A chief responsible electrical specialist (CRES) assumes the technical and supervisory responsibility otherwise incumbent on the entrepreneur in the company, a department or an area.
Do I have to or should I appoint a CRES as a contractor?
Normally, the entrepreneur or managing director of a company bears full responsibility, not only for electrotechnical occupational health and safety. Pursuant to Section 13 of the ArbschG, the employer may“appoint reliable and competent persons in writing to perform tasks incumbent upon him under this Act on his own responsibility“; the employer may therefore relinquish this responsibility and the associated tasks. This also makes a lot of sense, especially if the employer is
- itself does not have any capacities free for this,
- is not an electrical specialist and has little knowledge of the subject or
- has to or wants to divert his focus entirely to other tasks.
It is up to the employer whether he wishes to bear full responsibility for all electrical safety requirements himself or whether he “appoints” a suitable electrical specialist for this purpose, as it is officially called.
Do I have to create a whole (new) job for this?
The creation of a full position is not mandatory. The approximate scope of the task of the chief responsible electrical specialist (CRES) must be determined in advance. This number of hours may be assigned to an existing employee to perform this activity as part of their job responsibilities. However, this must also be available to this extent; this is also not a subordinate activity, which one must “also still nebenzu erledigen”.
Does the CRES even have to be an employee?
No, the CRES task can also be performed by an external provider. This can also be useful, especially for small companies.
Can any electrical specialist be appointed as chief responsible electrical specialist?
No, there are several requirements here. First and foremost, the person in question must do so voluntarily; no one can be made a CRES against their will. In addition, professional requirements must also be met. As a rule, the CRES must be at least a master craftsman, engineer or technician in electrical engineering. Special attention must also be paid to personal suitability; electrical engineering expertise is of course very good, but is not sufficient on its own.
Does the CRES then just take the rap?
Here, one must not answer with just “yes”, even though this is a centrally important point. The chief responsible electrical specialist has the technical and supervisory responsibility; the entrepreneurial full responsibility for all electrical work and equipment and thus also for all electrical safety in occupational health and safety. This means that not only electrical specialists are affected, but also electrotechnically instructed persons as well as all employees and visitors. If an accident occurs related to electrical safety failure, the CRES is responsible. It assumes full entrepreneurial responsibility, but thus also has full entrepreneurial decision-making power. In terms of electrical safety, the CRES is therefore both authorized to issue instructions (to all employees, including all managers) and free of any instructions; no one can issue an instruction to the CRES for its area of responsibility.
How far does the CRES’s competence extend?
To put it bluntly, if the CRES says “We’re stopping production here, I can’t justify continuing to work here,” then so be it. However, this is rare and the very last step and indeed the worst case. In addition, the limit of a CRES’s decision-making power is reached where electrical safety is no longer an issue. The CRES cannot decide which products are manufactured or make other business decisions.
What is the procedure for appointing a CRES?
As a business owner, you should sit down with a potential candidate. The chemistry must also simply be right, because you work together. Before you appoint someone as CRES, a framework of the area of responsibility should be defined: What all is it about anyway? Is it just one production line, or the whole production? Just one location or several? Is it only about the equipment or also about the building installation? When it comes to an appointment to the CRES, you should also jointly determine a budget that the CRES can decide on independently. This creates legal and operational security for both of you.
Chief responsible electrical specialist – The audiobook
Our audiobook publication “The chief responsible electrical specialist: CRES structure and operational electrical safety for entrepreneurs, specialists and managers”, available since February 2021 under ISBN 9783943247039, covers the most important topics of responsibility in electrical safety in 108 minutes. It is available for you on popular audio portals like Thalia (link), Audible (link), GooglePlay(link), Amazon ( link) or other platforms. Whether you’re on a long car trip or in the bathtub; whether you’re a manager, a specialist in occupational safety, or a trainee with ambitions – this audiobook was written for you. Included are also several templates for CRES working practice. These are available to listeners password-protected on our site under Downloads.
As a participant in our CRES training courses and day coaching sessions, you will receive the audio book and CRES work templates free of charge.
Get the audiobook at: Thalia, Audible, Amazon, GooglePlay, Weltbild, BookBeat, Rakuten kobo, spotify, iTunes
From now on also the script to it available, everywhere where there are books.
Note all our publications
Our audiobook “What every electrical specialist needs to know – Fundamentals of technical knowledge for electrical technicians, electricians and electrical engineers” is also available as of March 31, 2022. Also get this audiobook at: Thalia, Audible, Amazon, GooglePlay, Weltbild, BookBeat, Rakuten kobo, spotify, iTunes,
Likewise, the script is also available in printed form and as an ebook wherever books and ebooks are available (example – print version or ebook).
All publications in the overview (link).