The top 3 most dangerous industry sectors to work at in Germany

Written by Timo Kronlöf

Germany is the largest single market in the European Union and Germans are known to produce exact numbers and statistics. So, let us take a look at some safety statistics from 2016 which are publicly available through Association of German Occupational Health Insurances, DGUV. In Germany, according to § 193 SGB VII, any accident has to be reported if a person dies or is injured with an absence of at least 3 days. This is stricter than the UK’s RIDDOR which requires reporting after 7 days but lighter than the U.S. OSHA rules, which requires organisations to report an accident after one day of absence.

General Overview 2016

In 2016, Germans had 1.06 million reported accidents and 735 people died related to their work. To put this in perspective: a total of 62.9 billion hours have been worked by 62.6 million people (40.1 million full-time equivalents) giving us an average of about 1,000 hours worked per person in 2016. It also means that only roughly 1.7% of Germans had an accident related to their work which is good news. We will look at dangerous sectors in terms of accidents and just mention the deaths shortly. With 735 deaths related to work, Germans had a 0.001 percent chance of dying during or on their way to and from work. Compared to accidents, deaths had a higher likelihood to happen outside the place of work with those deaths making up roughly 40 percent of the total. Now, let’s dive in and see which sectors are most dangerous in terms of accidents.

Accidents by Industry Sector 2016

To set up these numbers, we have to go by the categorisation of organisations into one of ten occupational health insurances, which do not reflect exact sectors, but give a really good idea about what sector the organisation is primarily active in. Looking at reported accidents per one million working hours we find:

The third most dangerous sector is Wood and Metal Production with 23.68 accidents per million working hours

The second most dangerous sector is Transportation, Parcel Logistics, Telecommunication with 27.58 accidents per million working hours

The most dangerous sector is Construction with 35.22 accidents per million working hours

For comparison, the overall rate is 13.94. This ends the short dive into the German Safety numbers, I hope you found it interesting! Scroll down to take a look at all Sectors to get a complete view.

Personal Remark

In an earlier blog, How to Eliminate Time Wasted in Field Reporting, I wrote about the relative absence of smart, intuitive and fast safety helpers  in the form of reporting and software to help avoid accidents. Looking at the numbers above, it is, of course, easy to spot which industries can benefit most from advanced software. Interestingly, many large players in the TOP 3 dangerous sectors are still relying on paper-based or Word/Excel-based reporting systems. Software Developers are on the way to change that. Meanwhile, I hope, and I am confident that the positive trend for safety culture will continue to improve in Germany and that awareness and communication regarding safety issues will continue to gain importance.

All data was taken from DGUVs web pages.