Training and requirements for appointment as an occupational safety specialist

In Germany, the training to qualify as an occupational safety specialist (Sicherheitsfachkraft, Sifa) is provided in courses offered by the accident insurance institutions (UVT), i.e. the employers' liability insurance associations and accident insurance funds, as part of engineering degree courses or in so-called Sifa courses offered by independent training providers. These courses of study or training can be used to acquire "expertise in safety technology".

However, this is not sufficient for appointment as an occupational safety specialist, because the basic qualification as a master craftsman, technician or engineer with at least two years of professional experience is a further prerequisite under the Act on Occupational Physicians, Safety Engineers and Other Occupational Safety Specialists  (Arbeitssicherheitsgesetz, ASiG) and DGUV Regulation 2 for working as an occupational safety specialist.  Only graduates of specialised degree courses in safety engineering who are entitled to use the title "safety engineer" can be appointed as occupational safety specialists without any additional qualifications, provided they have gained one year of professional experience.

The Sifa training concept

In addition to the practice-oriented teaching of up-to-date occupational safety content, Sifa courses are characterised above all by their modular structure. They are currently conducted in accordance with a concept adopted in 2012. This concept is set out in DGUV Information 251-001, entitled "The Occupational Safety Specialist - Modern Occupational Safety and Health: Understanding of Prevention, Job Profile, Training". In order to comply with it even better, the further developed Sifa qualification 3.0 will be successively introduced since 2019 at all UVT, universities and independent training providers. Until 30.06.2023, Sifa training courses 2.0 may still be started in parallel. The framework conditions, contents and structure of Sifa training 2.0 are summarised in a compendium in DGUV Report 2/2012. Special features for the area of universities within the framework of the Sifa training course 2.0 are summarized in the document "The training of occupational safety specialists at universities, colleges and universities of applied sciences" (status: 2006).

Information on the framework conditions, content and structure of Sifa training 3.0 is compiled on the DGUV homepage and can be found at "Links" (in German).

Among other things, documents on the following topics are available there:

  • the competence profile of the occupational safety specialist
  • the action situations and outcomes of the learning fields
  • the schedule
  • the sample examination regulations
  • an overview of the learning success controls

From 01.07.2023 only Sifa training courses 3.0 may be started.

Concerning the Sifa course 3.0, the previous distance learning course of the accident insurance funds (public service) has been merged with the classroom training course of the commercial employers' liability insurance associations into a joint Sifa training course with classroom and distance learning components in accordance with the above mentioned model. At the same time, the Sifa course was digitalized in the changeover from version 2.0 to version 3.0 and has now been held as a blended learning course using the so-called Sifa Learning World, an interactive learning platform. You can find an overview of the new structure and schedule of the further developed Sifa training course 3.0 under "Links".

Sifa course providers exempt from and subject to state or DGUV recognition

Since the Sifa training courses offered by the UVT are training courses offered by public law bodies, they do not require separate state recognition. The situation is different for independent training providers who also offer Sifa courses. As a rule, either the supreme occupational safety authorities of the federal states or the central recognition body of the DGUV are responsible for their recognition. You will find the contact details under "Links".

Universities and colleges occupy a special position: if Sifa courses are offered integrated in safety engineering degree programs, they do not require recognition. However, if they constitute a series of modules in an engineering course of study in other disciplines, they should be recognized by an authorized body, i.e. by the state in which the university is located or by the central recognition body of the DGUV. Since the future employers of university graduates also only act in accordance with the ASiG and DGUV Regulation 2, if they appoint a person as a specialist for occupational safety who has acquired the safety-related expertise in a recognized Sifa course, all universities that have their Sifa courses recognized act in the interest of their graduates. A list of recognized Sifa courses in Germany can be found under "Further information".

Additional requirements for appointment following the successful completion of a Sifa course

Every training provider will be able to supply information about the scheduling, costs, course plan, and content of its Sifa training. Candidates who do not hold one of the basic qualifications required by the second sentence of Section 7(1) ASiG in conjunction with Section 4(2) DGUV Regulation 2 (engineer, master craftsperson, or technician) at the time they intend to take up work as an occupational safety specialist in a company must be informed by the training provider of restrictions on their future work in this professional role. These restrictions may mean their remit is limited - to a single department within their company, for example - or it is only possible for them to be appointed on a fixed-term contract.

An employer is merely permitted to disregard the basic qualifications discussed above that are fundamental requirements for appointment as an occupational safety specialist if they have obtained a certificate of exemption from the competent occupational safety and health authority. Furthermore, exemptions under Section 7(2) ASiG can be granted solely for the appointment of individuals who hold higher education degrees. Applications for certificates of exemption are to be submitted by the employer on a case-by-case basis.

For further information please refer to our German Website.


Schaubild zur Struktur des Sifa-Lehrgangs 2.0

(PDF, 187 KB, Not barrier-free file)


Schaubild zur Struktur des Sifa-Lehrgangs 3.0

(PDF, 205 KB, Barrier-free file)


Ausbildung 2.0 von Fachkräften für Arbeitssicherheit an Universitäten, Hochschulen und Fachhochschulen

(PDF, 338 KB, Not barrier-free file)


Further Information