What are occupational, school and commuting accidents?


Source: Dorothea Scheurlen / DGUV

Every year, numerous accidents occur at workplaces, in schools and in children’s daycare facilities. Restoration of the affected individual’s health and capacity for work to the greatest possible extent following such an accident or occupational disease is the task of the German Social Accident Insurance.

In contrast to the risks in many other areas of life, which must be covered by private insurance policies, insurance cover in working life and during education and training is provided under German law by the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions. Whether in children’s daycare facilities or schools, at workplaces, or during voluntary work: the accident insurance institutions have the task of protection, rehabilitation and compensation. The insurance cover applies irrespective of age, level of income, or whether a job is permanent or temporary.

Besides all dependent employees, a large number of persons not in employment are also covered by the German Social Accident Insurance. These include:

  • Children in schools and children’s daycare facilities, and students Blood and organ donors, lifesavers, rescuers during accidents and similar incidents
  • Persons working in aid and/or development organizations
  • Persons working in the health and welfare services
  • Unpaid carers
  • Persons undergoing rehabilitation
  • Persons performing voluntary work on behalf of the German federal, regional or local authorities; court witnesses
  • Under certain circumstances also employers, self-employed persons and members of the liberal professions
Employees in Germany are also insured against accidents when assigned by their employers to work abroad. A condition for this is that the foreign assignment is undertaken under a pre-existing German contract of employment, and is of limited duration.

With the exception of employers who have taken out insurance on their own account and others who have done so voluntarily, no charge is made to the insured individuals themselves for the German Social Accident Insurance. The costs are borne solely by the companies, or in the case of students and children in educational establishments and daycare facilities, by the state.

The German Social Accident Insurance Institutions provide cover for their insured individuals during all journeys to and from their workplaces (commuting accidents), in the event of accidents and diseases caused by their work, in children’s daycare facilities and educational establishments, and during voluntary work. Insurance cover also extends to accidents occurring during sporting activities or social events organized by companies for their employees.