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Risk Assessment

A key element of occupational safety and health

The risk assessment is the key element of occupational safety and health (OSH). It provides a basis for the systematic and effective management of health and safety.

Construction worker on a roof © Uwe Völkner, FOX photo agency

As set out in the Safety and Health at Work Act (ArbSchG) and the accident-prevention regulation "Principles of Prevention" (DGUV Regulation 1), all employers are required to conduct a risk assessment - regardless of the number of employees. Section 5 of the Safety and Health at Work Act regulates the employer's duty to identify and assess hazards and sets out potential causes of hazards and subjects of the risk assessment. Section 6 requires employers to document the results of the risk assessment, the OSH measures they have determined, and the outcome of their review. Employers can conduct the risk assessment themselves or assign the task to other persons with professional expertise, such as managers, safety and health specialists or company doctors, although the employer retains responsibility for conducting the risk assessment and implementing the results.

You will find assistance with conducting the risk assessment on the following pages. The content is divided into four main sections:

  • Basic knowledge
  • Expert knowledge
  • "Practical guide to risk assessment" database
  • Service

Basic knowledge

The Basic knowledge section is aimed at users with little or no experience in dealing with the risk assessment. In order to convey a basic understanding of the subject matter, it describes the essential topics and aspects of the risk assessment in an easily understandable manner. Readers learn about characteristics of the risk assessment process as a whole, the arguments in favour of risk assessment, and the steps necessary to satisfy the requirements of the Safety and Health at Work Act. This last aspect is based on the "Risk assessment and documentation" guideline adopted by the institutions of the Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA). This guideline sets out the risk assessment process in concrete terms on the basis of seven steps.

Risk factors

In order to identify and assess possible workplace hazards, all fundamentally possible risk factors must be examined. This requires basic knowledge of the causes, types and effects of hazards, as well as of assessment criteria, to allow the employer to introduce suitable OSH measures. Regardless of the industry in question, the Expert knowledge section provides users with information on all relevant hazard factors that can occur at work. The hazard factors are classified in accordance with the overview set out in annex 1 to the guideline "Risk assessment and documentation". The content in the "Risk factors" section is updated on an ongoing basis by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA).

"Practical guide to risk assessment" database

With our database, we hope to make it easier for you to access guidance on risk assessment with a variety of search tools. In addition to the free-text search, you can also perform more targeted database queries using extended search criteria, such as provider, industry and hazard type. As the database was developed in close coordination with the institutions of the GDA (the federal government, federal states and accident insurance organisations), users can assume that the guidance provided satisfies the quality principles of these institutions.


The Service section contains useful additional information and content relating to all aspects of risk assessment. To clarify current issues, the subsection "Questions and answers" refers users to content provided by BAuA's OSH experts, the federal states' OSH authorities, and the accident insurance organisations. These free and convenient resources allow users to carry out their own research and/or to put their questions to the providers directly if necessary. As consulting contracts should be awarded only to competent persons, a further subsection helps users to search for suitable points of contact. The content in this section is rounded off with a collection of literature from external providers.



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