What is an unexpected danger in Germany

B. Measures in the event of particular risks

§ 21 (1)

The entrepreneur must take precautions to ensure that all insured persons who are or may be exposed to a significant immediate danger are informed as early as possible about this danger and the protective measures taken or to be taken. In the event of significant immediate danger to their own safety or the safety of other people, the insured must be able to take appropriate measures to avert danger and limit damage if the responsible superior cannot be reached; the knowledge of the insured and the available technical means must be taken into account.

The term "immediately significant danger" describes a situation in which the occurrence of damage is very likely without additional protective measures or its occurrence can no longer be averted and the type and extent of the damage is particularly severe. For the insured, these situations are often associated with mortal danger or significant risk of injury (danger to life and limb). Such situations are also characterized by the fact that they represent exceptional states that rarely occur. To avert danger, immediate action according to a defined plan with defined aids may be necessary, depending on the type of particular danger. Where immediate action is required, there is usually no time to talk to the line manager. The insured must then be able to act independently. This independent action is not required of the insured person unprepared, since they must be informed by the entrepreneur about the existing or possible immediate significant dangers, and also about which protective measures have been taken or must be taken when the hazard occurs.

Examples for this are:

  • unexpected disruptions when testing large technical systems,
  • Fire brigade operations,
  • unexpected attacks by prisoners on prison staff,
  • unexpected attacks by mentally altered people on the staff of care facilities and services,
  • Robbery, possibly with hostage-taking,
  • unexpected gas leaks during pipeline construction or drilling for oil / natural gas,
  • unexpected water ingress during tunneling.

Suitable precautions within the meaning of Section 21 (1) of the accident prevention regulation “Principles of Prevention” can be assumed if the specific rules of the DGUV or the relevant service regulations are observed.

§ 21 (2)  

The entrepreneur must take measures that enable the insured to get to safety by leaving their workplaces immediately in the event of significant immediate danger.

This assumes that z. B.

  • Escape routes and emergency exits are available in the required number and location,
  • Escape routes and emergency exits are clearly recognizable and permanently marked,
  • in the event of a power failure, there may be an automatically activated safety lighting,
  • In the case of non-permanent, difficult-to-access, high-level workplaces, facilities are available that enable the danger zone to be left independently.

See Section 4, Paragraph 4, Section 3.2 as well as the BG rule “Use of personal protective equipment for rescuing from heights and depths” (BGR 199).


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