To ensure the health and safety of employees when at work, the Arbeitsschutzgesetz (Act on the Implementation of Measures of Occupational Safety and Health to Encourage Improvements in the Safety and Health Protection of Workers at Work) includes the obligation to regularly instruct employees.

The instruction carried out is to be documented. This is important, because it means that you can provide proof at any time that you have fulfilled your legal obligation and you have an overview of when you instructed which employee on what topic. You can then plan further instructions more specifically.

Instructions inform employees about work sequences, risks and protective measures, and should

  •  indicate hidden risks,
  •  fill in any knowledge gaps,
  •  provide, strengthen or improve skills,
  •  explain and practise safe behaviour,
  •  explain prohibitions and instructions.
 Who provides the instruction?

The employer or direct superior, e.g. department head, master craftsman, team head, etc.

When should instructions be given?
  • The first instruction takes place when an employee is newly hired or changes his/her position, before work is commenced.
  • Safety instructions must take place at least once a year for all employees (at least every six months for those under 18).
  • Additional instructions must be carried out for special occasions, such as following an accident, changes to technology, materials or working procedures, or if employees have any questions.        
 Which topics and contents?

The topics that the instruction deals with result from the particular operational circumstances and are dependent on the risk assessment.

To support you, PowerPoint presentations are available to download. We would like to point out that the presentations must be adapted to meet the operational circumstances and necessary instruction topics.

Checklist for employees' first instruction

 Proof of instruction.doc

Instructions for office and computer work stations.ppt

CAU-Instructions for employees in chemical laboratories.ppt

More information can be found in the information document "Unterweisung - Bestandteil des betrieblichen Arbeitsschutzes" (instruction - part of occupational safety, in German) (DGUV-Information 211-005).

Information on planning and performing instructions can be found in the brochure "Unterweisungen planen und durchführen" (planning and performing instructions, in German) from the BG ETEM.