Training concept and requirements concerning an appointment to the position of occupational safety specialist
The training for qualification as an occupational safety specialist (Sifa) is completed in the scope of engineering study programmes or as so-called Sifa courses. By taking these study programmes or courses, it is possible to acquire "expertise in occupational safety". This is not sufficient for an appointment, however, as according to the Occupational Safety Act, holding basic qualification as a foreman, technician or engineer is a further precondition for being able to work as an occupational safety specialist.
In addition to the practically-oriented provision of contemporary content surrounding the topic of occupational health and safety, the Sifa courses are primarily characterised by the modular configuration. They are currently taught according to a concept which dates from the year 2001. In partnership with BAuA however, the German Statutory Accident Insurance Association (DGUV) is currently redeveloping the concept behind the Sifa courses. The redeveloped training model is expected to be complete by 2019. The relevant framework conditions, content and structure of the Sifa training is summarised in the form of a compendium in the DGUV Report 2/2012. Special arrangements that apply to the universities sector are summarised in the report "Die Ausbildung von Fachkräften für Arbeitssicherheit an Universitäten, Hochschulen und Fachhochschulen" (The training of occupational safety specialists at universities, colleges and technical universities), which dates from 2006.
As they are taught by state institutions and/or public bodies, Sifa courses which form part of engineering study programmes or which can be completed at universities, as well as Sifa courses taught by the employers' liability insurance associations do not require special recognition from the state. Different rules apply to private educational colleges or organisations which offer Sifa courses, however. The supreme occupational safety authorities of the federal states are generally responsible for the recognition of such courses. You can find a list of recognised Sifa courses in Germany on our German Website.
The German Statutory Accident Insurance Association (DGUV) offers equivalent training in the form of a distance learning course with 11 attendance days. Information about this course is provided in two brochures, GUV 80.0 "Die Fachkraft für Arbeitssicherheit - Zeitgemäßer Arbeitsschutz" (The occupational safety specialist - contemporary occupational safety), GUV 80.2 "Ausbildung zur Fachkraft für Arbeitssicherheit - Fernlehrgang mit Präsenzphasen bei der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung" (Training as an occupational safety specialist - distance learning course with attendance stages at the German Statutory Accident Insurance Association) and in the pamphlet GUV 80.1 "Ausbildung zur Fachkraft für Arbeitssicherheit" (Training as an occupational safety specialist).
The appropriate educational services provider issues information about the dates, costs, sequence and contents of the Sifa courses. Interested persons who do not hold one of the basic qualifications as required by § 7 paragraph 1 sentence 2 of the Occupational Safety Act (ASiG) in connection with § 4 paragraph 2 DGUV regulation 2 (engineer, foreman or technician) when they assume the role of occupational safety specialist are generally to be notified by the educational services provider about limitations surrounding their future work as an occupational safety specialist. These limitations may entail restrictions to the remit of responsibility - to only one department of the organisation, for example - or temporary appointments.
An employer is only permitted to depart from the aforementioned basic qualifications as the basic requirements for the appointment of an occupational safety specialist if they have secured a certificate of exemption from the responsible authority for occupational safety. Furthermore, according to § 7 paragraph 2 ASiG, exceptions can only be made for the appointment of a person who holds an academic degree. Appropriate requests are to be made by the employer on a case-by-case basis.
For further information please refer to our German Website.