13.06.2023 | Technical Terms

Industrial protection and industrial safety – the difference

Industrial protection is synonymous with all measures taken to achieve safe working, i.e. industrial safety. Employers are responsible for their employees being able to perform their work in safety.

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In fall-risk areas, the necessity for industrial protection becomes all the more clear.

Industrial protection with PPE as fall protection

Industrial protection and industrial safety are very similar-sounding terms. However, in fact, they represent two different concepts - especially from a legal viewpoint. The simplest explanation of the difference is that industrial safety is the objective of industrial protection. Accordingly, industrial protection can be viewed as the measures taken to ensure safe working. Industrial safety is therefore a component of industrial protection.

Industrial protection – definition and laws

Industrial protection is a legally specified measure. It ensures a safe working environment for all people who are working. For this, the respective workplace is subject to detailed investigation in the form of a workplace assessment. Depending on the activity and the local conditions, various measures are defined for protecting the workers. The EU has its own directives in this regard. The specific details are defined in the laws of the individual countries. 

  • For example, in Austria the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz [employee protection law] forms the legal basis. Employers must fulfil the requirements of this law. These include the appointment of safety representatives. They inform, advise, and support their colleagues, and act as representatives with respect to external bodies. Their activity does not does not absolve the employer from his obligations to comply with the protective provisions.
  • In Switzerland industrial protection is governed by the Employment Law, article 6 and by ArGV 3 Art. 2: Principles. Here, incidentally, the term “health protection” is used rather than “industrial protection”.
  • In Germany the Arbeitsschutzgesetz - ArbSchG [industrial protection law] applies. In contrast to practice in Austria, there is no safety representative here. However, in both countries there is an obligation to provide all employees with appropriate instructions and training relating to industrial protection.

Technical industrial protection in Germany

The term “technical industrial protection” exists in Germany. This is understood as “all areas which affect the safety of workers when working”, according to the Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin [German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health].The industrial protection law forms part of technical industrial protection, as do further rules and regulations. In the area of fall protection, in the Technische Regeln für Arbeitsstätten (ASR) [technical rules for workplaces], ASR A2.1 (Schutz vor Absturz und herabfallenden Gegenständen, Betreten von Gefahrenbereichen [protection from falls and falling objects, accessing danger areas]) is of particular importance.



In Germany distinctions are made between general, technical, social, and medical industrial protection.

Industrial protection in fall-risk areas

In contrast to an everyday office workplace, more risks will be recorded in fall-risk areas. A risk assessment provides clarification about these.It indicates the risks which are present, and how they can be eliminated or reduced. These are performed on the basis of the STOP principle. Collective protection - i.e. the protection of ALL persons in the respective area of risk - is the “safer” variant. However, this is not suitable for all working situations. In these cases, individual protection should be provided. In terms of fall protection systems, the bandwidth of industrial protection extends over these types:

Technical industrial protection by means of PPE on a crane
Industrial protection and industrial safety clarified by means of safety helmets

Ensuring industrial safety in a workplace is easier than you may think

Not everyone needs to involve themselves intensively with industrial protection and the resulting industrial safety. Above all, owners of new start-ups are confronted with various laws and regulations. Obtaining the corresponding knowledge can be very demanding. This makes it all the more important to rely on professional sources and partners. 


Despite largely similar understandings of industrial protection and industrial safety in general, the requirements and information in the DACH region alone differ greatly. On addition to the legal contact points and training sessions, it is recommended to put your trust in manufacturers and products whose quality exceeds basic legal requirements. A high degree of quality consciousness, many years of practical knowledge and experience in implementing the regulations form the best guarantee for industrial safety. 

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