Sharing of information

General information

Effective occupational safety can only be achieved with the cooperation of all those involved. Adequate information is a prerequisite for active collaboration of employees in order to reduce or eliminate risks and burdens.

The information has the objective of making employees aware of existing risks, the available opportunities for eliminating or reducing risks and why they are required. Providing employees with information is therefore of crucial importance.

Employees must be informed about the risks to health and safety and about the measures for risk prevention.

They must be provided with this information during working hours.

Please note

In the event of a corresponding hazard situation, individual employees must be provided with information. In areas with lower risk, it is sufficient to inform the safety representatives or the works council. They then pass on the information to the employees.

All employees that may be exposed to a direct significant risk must be informed immediately about this risk and the protective measures that have been or are to be taken.

  • The information must be provided prior to commencing the task.
  • The information must be provided in the native language or another language that can be understood by the employees.
  • Employers must make sure that the employees have understood the information.

In many areas it is not sufficient or appropriate to provide this information verbally. Instead of or in addition to providing the information verbally, the employee can also be provided with appropriate documentation. Operating instructions, package leaflets and safety data sheets must also be provided.

These documents are to be put up in the workplace if required.

Special obligations to inform apply for the following areas, for example:

All employees in the place of employment must be informed in relation to their respective area:

  • about behaviour in the event of an emergency (for example, by clear posters in suitable, readily accessible positions)
  • about the meaning of alarm signals if there is an alarm system in the place of employment
  • about any storage bans and storage restrictions
  • about the location and handling of firefighting equipment
  • about the locations of first aid equipment.

All employees concerned must be informed about the significance of the health and safety signs and about the protective measures to be taken in relation to this.

Information about work equipment must at least be provided in relation to the following:

  • operating conditions of the relevant work equipment
  • foreseeable faults
  • conclusions drawn from the experiences gained when using work equipment if need be.

If knowledge of certain data is required in order to use, fix or attach tools – such as a maximum permissible speed, dimensions, information on the materials to be processed or storage and expiration periods – employees must be informed of this data. If necessary, they must also be provided with this data.

Employees working at VDUs must be informed about the following:

  • if VDU work is required in the workplace
  • the right to have their eyes and vision tested
  • the right to have special visual aids provided
  • the right to take breaks and change tasks.

In all cases, information about the use of biological agents must refer to:

  • possible health risks
  • hygiene and disinfection measures to be taken by the employees
  • measures to prevent exposure to be taken by employees
  • the wearing and use of personal protective equipment.

Employers must ensure that employees to whom vaccines are made available are informed about the advantages and disadvantages of vaccination and non-vaccination.

Enterprises affected

Essentially all establishments, apart from agricultural and forestry establishments, administrative departments and federal, province and municipal schools as well as private households.

Competent authority

The locally competent labour inspectorate ( BMAW)German text

Legal bases

Expert information

Instruction and information for employees ( BMAW)

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy

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