Neglected duties to instruct!

Legal risk for entrepreneurs and managers and why DigiDuck can protect you from it!

According to Occupational Safety Act §12 companies are obliged to instruct all employees (this also means trainees, apprentices, office workers, warehouse workers, drivers, etc.) about the dangers and stresses at work and the prevention of accidents at work before they start work and at least once a year thereafter. More detailed regulations on this subject are contained in the DGUV regulation 1 among other things in § 4. The same applies to the topics of first aid, fire protection and data protection. This can be done through in-house training or via suitable external service providers. The company must document proof of successful implementation for each employee in an audit-proof manner.

What many entrepreneurs do not know is that this obligation for the company already applies from “one” employee! This is often confused with “technical safety support” in the form of in-house first aiders or external consultants and company doctors. In addition to the obligatory instruction, these apply in stages only from a minimum number of employees. More detailed information is provided in Regulation 2 of the DGUV. It is fatal to confuse this and not to carry out compulsory instruction, as the employer is thus not fulfilling his legal obligation!

Entrepreneurs or managing directors who do not comply with this obligation run the risk of being held personally legally responsible for this omission in the event of damage. In the most extreme case, this can be considered as bodily injury or homicide by omission. These criminal consequences can lead not only to fines or imprisonment , but also to professional bans. This is often dismissed as saber rattling, as “it won’t come to that”. However, approximately 1 million reportable occupational accidents occur in Germany every year, about 700 of which are fatal. Anyone who then has to deal with the investigative methods of occupational health and safety monitoring authorities and public prosecutors’ offices always hears the same questions asked after an occupational accident:

  • Was there a risk assessment for the activity/workplace where the accident occurred?
  • When was the person who had the accident last instructed and where is the proof?
  • Was this person given appropriate instructions?

However, an accident does not always have to happen first. Because even an anonymous report of omission by former employees, works councils, competitors or other persons can lead to considerable problems and punishment for the manager.

Often, after a punishment of the managing director, it is not considered that only such persons are allowed to run a company who are reliable in the legal sense. This can then put the entire company in distress, not just the entrepreneur / managing director in persona.

The task now is for the entrepreneur to identify and assess the existing hazards of activities. The measures resulting from the assessment must be communicated to the employees through compulsory instructions, tested and the successful completion documented.

In a world where time has become a very precious commodity, organizing classroom training is a complex and costly issue. Let’s think, for example, of pandemic restrictions on meetings in a training room. In addition, there may be language barriers, as employees must be instructed in a language they can understand. Today, it cannot be assumed that instruction in German will reach every employee. In addition, there are room and board costs during classroom training, as well as follow-up training for all those employees who did not attend.

A cost-effective, multilingual, audiovisual e-learning tool with final tests, certificates, as well as an automated monitoring function of deadlines, topics and warranty, is quite helpful here and secures the management against organizational negligence. Enhanced with an info management tool that enables the transmission of legally required information to employees. And this also for employees via an app who do not have an e-mail address or PC, but do have a cell phone. Finally, a professional controlling system in which the participant lists, training certificates and proof of information transfer are documented for proof to the supervisors of the employers’ liability insurance association or the occupational health and safety authority.

This is exactly what DigiDuck is. Developed by us for you, so that you can concentrate fully and calmly on your business tasks and do not neglect your legal obligations.

Talk to us and let us present DigiDuck to you free of charge and without obligation!