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Abschnitt 6 BGI/GUV-I 506 E, VI. Safety at home and abroad -...
Abschnitt 6 BGI/GUV-I 506 E
In good hands. Your Statutory Accident Insurance Functions, services and organization (BGI/GUV-I 506 E)
Titel: In good hands. Your Statutory Accident Insurance Functions, services and organization (BGI/GUV-I 506 E)
Normgeber: Bund
Amtliche Abkürzung: BGI/GUV-I 506 E
Gliederungs-Nr.: [keine Angabe]
Normtyp: Satzung

Abschnitt 6 BGI/GUV-I 506 E – VI. Safety at home and abroad - where we are.

Working throughout the world: in the age of globalization, a job posting many miles from home or the assignment of employees abroad is no longer unusual. In internationalized markets, it is also natural for foreign investments to be made or for companies in neighbouring countries to be contracted with work. Under certain circumstances, however, this may mean that other regulations and legislation apply than those at home. Increasingly often, employers and personnel managers face issues of cross-border insurance cover.

The statutory accident insurance institutions provide support here: the liaison office processes cross-border insurance claims and provides advice to companies and insured individuals. It co-operates both with partner organizations in other countries within the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA), and with organizations in countries with which social insurance agreements have been concluded.

The emphasis lies upon the implementation of European subordinate legislation and of the provisions of the applicable social insurance agreements. In addition to numerous other functions, one focus of activity is organization and assurance of the medical care of persons entitled to it in the partner country.

Beyond these arrangements, the statutory accident insurance institutions co-operate with international organizations and those of other countries. Their common objective is the pooling and dissemination of experience and an agreed procedure, for example in the area of occupational safety or the legislation governing occupational disease.

The German statutory accident insurance system abroad

  • The foreign liaison office of the German accident insurance institutions

    The DGUV serves as the liaison office for the German statutory accident insurance institutions.

  • International social legislation

    International social legislation covers issues such as bilateral and multilateral co-operation between countries in the context of social insurance agreements, or issues of European law.

  • International social policy

    The DGUV works together with numerous international and national institutions in other countries, and advises other countries' accident insurance systems.

  • Representation of the German social insurance system at the EU

    Together with the other umbrella associations of the German social insurance system, the DGUV maintains an EU liaison office in Brussels.

  • The European Forum of Insurances against Accidents at Work and Occupational Diseases (FORUM)

    In FORUM, numerous European national umbrella associations of institutions for insurance against occupational accidents and diseases have joined together to promote the concept of insurance against occupational accidents and diseases throughout Europe.

  • International Social Security Organization (ISSA)

    In the ISSA Technical Commission on Insurance against Employment Accidents and Occupational Diseases, the DGUV organizes the global exchange of good practices in this area of insurance. The beneficiaries of such practices are German companies active internationally and their employees, and employees in developing and threshold countries.

Insurance protection abroad

The principle is as follows: an employee who is posted abroad temporarily by their company on a national contract of employment; an entrepreneur doing business across international borders; a cross-border commuter; a schoolchild on an international school trip; or a student spending a term abroad as part of their degree (such as "Socrates") - all are covered by statutory insurance against occupational accidents and diseases.

In each case, the employer and employee or schoolchildren and students should obtain comprehensive information beforehand, and carry the relevant certificates with them in order to ensure smooth processing in the event of an emergency. It must also be considered that the scope and form of the insurance cover may differ from one destination country to another.

Assignments within the European Union, countries of the European Economic Area, and Switzerland

Under EU law (the regulation on the application of social security schemes to employed persons and their families moving within the Community), persons who are employed by a company in Germany and are posted to another EU Member State, an EEA member state (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway), or Switzerland continue to be subject to German social insurance legislation. A condition for this is that the anticipated length of the assignment does not exceed 12 months. Should the planned assignment period not suffice and this not have been predictable, application may be made for an extension for a maximum of a further 12 months. Application for exceptions to these principles may be made to the foreign liaison office of the German health insurance institutions (

Postings to countries with which agreements have been concluded

These agreements contain provisions under which the protection provided by the statutory accident insurance continues to apply during a temporary assignment. The periods vary between 24 and 60 months according to the country. Agreements exist with: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel, Kosovo, Croatia, Morocco, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey and Tunisia.

Postings to countries without agreements

These are countries which are subject neither to EU law, nor nor bilateral agreements (e.g. Brazil, South Africa). In these cases, statutory accident insurance cover continues to apply on the basis of the provisions of the German Social Code.

For periods of employment abroad which are not limited to individuals and a few days, we recommend that contact be made with the responsible accident insurance institution.

Benefits during assignments

Should medical aid be required following an occupational accident or disease during a foreign assignment, the following applies:

In EU/EEA Member States and countries with which bilateral agreements exist, care is provided on the same basis as if the person concerned were insured in the host country in accordance with the regulations in force there. The costs of treatment must not generally be disbursed by the person concerned. Where applicable, an excess must however be paid.

In foreign countries with which no agreement exists, medical aid must first be obtained by the affected person themselves or by their employer, and the costs disbursed. Application for reimbursement of the costs is then made to the accident insurance institution.

Short-term cash benefits, such as injury benefit for the duration of a period of incapacity for work and a pension for an occupational disease or occupational accident suffered during the foreign assignment are paid in accordance with German law in the same way as if the occupational accident or disease had occurred in Germany.

Sven Böhme, qualified civil engineering foreman, RAKW GmbH & Co. KG:

"Accidents are always possible on a construction site, not least because many people share it as their workplace. But with proper protective measures, we can reduce the risk to a minimum."

Occupational safety and health regulations

The following principle applies: the employer has legal occupational health and safety obligations to his employees throughout their foreign assignment. This means that employees assigned abroad may generally expect the statutory accident insurance regulations to be observed during their foreign assignment. Where persons insured in Germany are assigned abroad for a limited period only (up to 12 months without interruption), they continue to be subject to the relevant accident prevention regulations, in addition to the regulations of the country in which they are working. The prevention experts of your statutory accident insurance institution will therefore be happy to assist you in organizing support in the area of safety from Germany.

Occupational safety and health in Europe

In past years, the European Union has adopted a number of directives governing occupational safety and health. Familiar examples are the directives governing vibration, noise and optical radiation, and the Machinery Directive. The Member States have transposed these directives into national law. As a result, the OSH legislation of all EU Member States contains similar provisions. During transposition of the relevant EU directives, the Member States may however enact stricter provisions, since the directives serve only to specify minimum standards for national legislation. Depending upon the country, OSH institutions may also permit a certain degree of flexibility. A hazard assessment which a company has drawn up in accordance with German standards may therefore be accepted in one country but give rise to problems in another. Advice is available from the statutory accident insurance institutions or a national "focal point" of the host country (

The foreign liaison office of the German accident insurance institutions (DVUA) on the Internet:, Webcode d1227

The German focal point on the Internet: