Guest Artic­le By Dr. Harald Olschok-Tau­ten­hahn: Body Cams As A Cen­tral Ele­ment Of Occu­pa­tio­nal Health And Safety 

Pro­per­ty and plant secu­ri­ty is the lar­gest mar­ket seg­ment for pri­va­te secu­ri­ty ser­vices, accoun­ting for 60 per­cent of sales. In the last 20 years, num­e­rous new tasks have been added in public are­as, such as retail, local public trans­port, as city pat­rols in muni­ci­pa­li­ties or for event and order ser­vices. But the­re is also an incre­asing need for secu­ri­ty staff in hos­pi­tals, public buil­dings and job cen­ters. The Coro­na pan­de­mic has crea­ted addi­tio­nal tasks for the secu­ri­ty indus­try through ent­rance or distance checks at public faci­li­ties, fever mea­su­re­ment and the pro­tec­tion of order ser­vices in vac­ci­na­ti­on cen­ters. Reve­nue in Coro­na years 2020 and 2021 increased by 6.8 and about 9 per­cent, respec­tively. Over­all, the secu­ri­ty indus­try is expec­ted to gene­ra­te more than 10 bil­li­on euros in reve­nue for the first time this year. 

The Secu­ri­ty Indus­try Is Growing

The num­ber of employees has risen from 80,000 in 1990 to around 260,000. Of the­se, around 25,000 work in avia­ti­on secu­ri­ty and 10,000 in cash and valu­ables ser­vices. In addi­ti­on, the­re are 4,000 detec­ti­ves and 9,000 employees in com­pa­nies of sur­veil­lan­ce and alarm sys­tems; this mar­ket seg­ment is beco­ming incre­asing­ly important. Against the back­ground of the­se dif­fe­ren­tia­ti­ons, around 212,000 secu­ri­ty per­son­nel are employ­ed in the “clas­sic secu­ri­ty ser­vices”, 130,000 of whom are employ­ed in the 1,000 mem­ber com­pa­nies of the Fede­ral Asso­cia­ti­on of the Secu­ri­ty Indus­try (BDSW). The BDSW is the only employ­ers’ asso­cia­ti­on in the indus­try that con­cludes coll­ec­ti­ve agree­ments with the trade unions. 

I assu­me that the importance of the secu­ri­ty indus­try will con­ti­nue to grow in the future. The need for pro­tec­tion on the part of citi­zens, busi­ness, the sta­te and govern­ment insti­tu­ti­ons will con­ti­nue to grow. Self-pro­vi­si­on will also beco­me incre­asing­ly important in secu­ri­ty mat­ters. Secu­ri­ty per­son­nel are incre­asing­ly deploy­ed to pro­tect their fel­low citi­zens in “con­flict-pro­ne” acti­vi­ties and are thus often them­sel­ves expo­sed to an increased risk of occu­pa­tio­nal acci­dents. The pro­pen­si­ty for vio­lence in socie­ty is on the rise. Figu­res from the Ger­man Sta­tu­to­ry Acci­dent Insu­rance Fund show that more and more employees in the sec­tor are beco­ming vic­tims of “con­fron­ta­tio­nal acci­dents”. To pre­vent the­se, the­re are some mea­su­res that have been put in place and are part of the acci­dent pre­ven­ti­on regu­la­ti­ons. The body cam could also be part of this packa­ge of mea­su­res in the future. 

What Does The Acci­dent Pre­ven­ti­on Regu­la­ti­on For Guard And Secu­ri­ty Ser­vices Contain? 

In Ger­ma­ny, the sta­tu­to­ry acci­dent insu­rance (DGUC) plays a major role in occu­pa­tio­nal health and safe­ty. It is finan­ced exclu­si­ve­ly by employ­er con­tri­bu­ti­ons. In order to pro­tect the safe­ty and health of employees and pre­vent acci­dents at work, the DGUV issues acci­dent pre­ven­ti­on regu­la­ti­ons that spe­ci­fy pre­ven­ti­ve mea­su­res and employ­er obli­ga­ti­ons. They thus also indi­rect­ly influence the way in which ser­vices are provided. 

The secu­ri­ty indus­try is gover­ned by DGUV regu­la­ti­on 24 for guard and secu­ri­ty ser­vices. In addi­ti­on to the eli­mi­na­ti­on and ade­qua­te pro­tec­tion of hazar­dous are­as, employees in the secu­ri­ty indus­try are also requi­red to moni­tor their acti­vi­ties if they are expo­sed to par­ti­cu­lar hazards. In addi­ti­on, the objects to be secu­red must be regu­lar­ly che­cked for hazards. Spe­ci­fic hazards must be taken into account during the brie­fing on the­se objects. In addi­ti­on, equip­ment used by secu­ri­ty per­son­nel must be in pro­per working order.   
Occu­pa­tio­nal acci­dents can have a varie­ty of cau­ses, but the increase in con­fron­ta­tio­nal acci­dents, which will be dis­cus­sed below, is striking.

Con­fron­ta­ti­ons As A Fre­quent Cau­se Of Occu­pa­tio­nal Accidents 

Employees of pri­va­te secu­ri­ty ser­vices are — as alre­a­dy men­tio­ned — incre­asing­ly enga­ged in “con­flict-pro­ne” acti­vi­ties, which also leads to an increase in occu­pa­tio­nal acci­dents. In the public sec­tor, 5% and in the com­mer­cial sec­tor, 1.8% of occu­pa­tio­nal acci­dents can be assi­gned to the cate­go­ry “vio­lence, attack, thre­at”. If we take the VBG Secu­ri­ty Report 2018, which ana­ly­zes acci­dent occur­ren­ces in the “secu­ri­ty ser­vices” indus­try, we see that con­fron­ta­ti­ons have increased signi­fi­cant­ly as a cau­se of acci­dents (1988: 6.8% of acci­dent cau­ses, 2018: 34.95%). This refers to all phy­si­cal attacks on secu­ri­ty per­son­nel by third par­ties. Par­ti­cu­lar­ly many con­fron­ta­ti­on acci­dents are felt by depart­ment store detec­ti­ves (25%), public trans­port employees (22%) and secu­ri­ty per­son­nel in resi­den­ti­al homes or initi­al recep­ti­on faci­li­ties for refu­gees (18%).  

Konfrontationen als häufige Ursache von Arbeitsunfällen

A total of 15,000 peo­p­le are employ­ed as depart­ment store detec­ti­ves or store guards. Their main task is to appre­hend offen­ders (main­ly thefts) and record their per­so­nal details. Often the offen­ders try to escape or beco­me assaul­ti­ve towards the detec­ti­ves, who may use irrit­ant gas in their defen­se. In addi­ti­on to fal­ling and trip­ping acci­dents while pur­suing fle­e­ing thie­ves, 76% of all work­place acci­dents fall into the “con­fron­ta­ti­on” category. 


The public trans­port sec­tor employs 8,000 peo­p­le who, among other things, work as ticket inspec­tors, escort buses, sub­ways, com­muter trains and trains, or check sta­ti­ons and stops. In all the­se acti­vi­ties, con­fron­ta­ti­ons can occur in which per­son­nel are inju­red. 74% of all acci­dents in public trans­port fall under the hea­ding of “con­fron­ta­ti­ons”. Staff are par­ti­cu­lar­ly at risk when coming into cont­act with into­xi­ca­ted pas­sen­gers; enfor­cing house rules also invol­ves an increased risk of con­fron­ta­ti­ons with groups. 

The VBG Pre­mi­um Procedure 

To pre­vent occu­pa­tio­nal acci­dents, the VBG employ­ers’ lia­bi­li­ty insu­rance asso­cia­ti­on has for many years reward­ed its mem­ber com­pa­nies that, in addi­ti­on to legal obli­ga­ti­ons, under­ta­ke spe­cial acci­dent-pre­ven­ti­on and health-main­ten­an­ce mea­su­res. The maxi­mum amount of this pre­mi­um is 10,000 euros plus 1/1,000 of the repor­ted wage and sala­ry total, up to a maxi­mum of 50,000 euros. Medi­cal or invest­ment cos­ts of 40% are reim­bur­sed. The pre­mi­um pro­ce­du­re pro­vi­des for the fol­lo­wing mea­su­res, among others: spe­cial dri­ver safe­ty trai­ning for pre­cinct and pat­rol dri­vers. For secu­ri­ty forces in con­flict-pro­ne acti­vi­ties, de-escala­ti­on trai­ning to redu­ce stress and keep a cool head in an emer­gen­cy. VBG also pro­vi­des finan­cial sup­port for per­so­nal pro­tec­ti­ve equip­ment, inclu­ding stab and impact ves­ts and ank­le-high safe­ty shoes. But a hepa­ti­tis A and B vac­ci­na­ti­on for secu­ri­ty employees is also eli­gi­ble for fun­ding. An addi­tio­nal part of the pre­mi­um pro­cess includes per­so­nal emer­gen­cy signal sys­tems, acci­dent data log­gers, and col­li­si­on war­ning sys­tems. The aut­hor has alre­a­dy poin­ted out in seve­ral places of the VBG that, in a revi­si­on of the pre­mi­um pro­ce­du­re, body cams should defi­ni­te­ly also be finan­ci­al­ly sup­port­ed due to their pre­ven­ti­ve effect if the pre­re­qui­si­tes are met. 

What Does The DSK Gui­dance For Data Pro­tec­tion Super­vi­so­ry Aut­ho­ri­ties Say About The Use Of Body Cams By Pri­va­te Secu­ri­ty Companies? 

On Febru­ary 22nd, 2019, the Data Pro­tec­tion Con­fe­rence (DSK) published gui­dance on the use of body cams by pri­va­te secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies. It sta­tes that the recor­ding of images and sound with the aid of a body cam must cor­re­spond to a legi­ti­ma­te inte­rest. Befo­re using the body came­ra, it is the­r­e­fo­re neces­sa­ry to check which pur­po­se is to be pur­sued with the body cam recor­ding. The gui­dance men­ti­ons the fol­lo­wing legi­ti­ma­te inte­rests: “The pro­tec­tion of one’s own per­son­nel against assaults, the sub­se­quent iden­ti­fi­ca­ti­on of a crime suspect and the secu­ring of evi­dence for the pro­se­cu­ti­on of civil claims.” In con­trast, law enforce­ment assis­tance does not con­sti­tu­te a sepa­ra­te legi­ti­ma­te inte­rest in the deploy­ment of body cams. Howe­ver, the use of body cams is pos­si­ble in situa­tions whe­re per­sons behave aggres­si­ve­ly or a situa­ti­on threa­tens to esca­la­te immediately. 

In its gui­dance, the DSK sta­tes that it must be pos­si­ble to objec­tively jus­ti­fy that body cams are sui­ta­ble for achie­ving the abo­ve-men­tio­ned pur­po­ses. It is ques­tio­ned whe­ther body cams can effec­tively pre­vent a crime through a sub­jec­tively pos­si­ble deter­rent effect. In addi­ti­on, a con­ceiva­ble pro­vo­ca­ti­ve effect on poten­ti­al offen­ders should also be taken into account. 

The gui­dance advi­ses that inte­rests such as per­so­nal rights should be weig­hed up careful­ly and that body cams should only be used if their use is sui­ta­ble and neces­sa­ry. Fur­ther­mo­re, it empha­si­zes the importance of trans­pa­ren­cy: the per­sons being recor­ded should, for exam­p­le, be made awa­re of the start-up of the body cam befo­re recor­ding begins. 

What Needs To Chan­ge For Body Cams To Play A Grea­ter Role In Occu­pa­tio­nal Safe­ty And Health? 

Body cams must be given grea­ter importance in occu­pa­tio­nal health and safe­ty, as they are an effec­ti­ve means of pro­tec­ting employees. It is the­r­e­fo­re urgent that they be included as a mea­su­re in acci­dent pre­ven­ti­on regu­la­ti­ons. In addi­ti­on, more dis­cus­sions need to take place with data pro­tec­tion aut­ho­ri­ties in order to joint­ly chan­ge the view of body cams for the more posi­ti­ve. The­re are alre­a­dy num­e­rous examp­les of body came­ras being used in a pri­va­cy-com­pli­ant man­ner, and many secu­ri­ty offi­cers and their employ­ers report a signi­fi­cant decrease in attacks sin­ce they star­ted wea­ring the body cam. Every secu­ri­ty guard should be able to draw on the­se posi­ti­ve expe­ri­en­ces to pre­vent even more con­fron­ta­tio­nal acci­dents in the future. 

About The Person:

Dr. Harald Olschok-Tau­ten­hahn was Chief Exe­cu­ti­ve Offi­cer of the Fede­ral Asso­cia­ti­on of the Secu­ri­ty Indus­try (BDSW) and the Fede­ral Asso­cia­ti­on of Ger­man Money and Value Ser­vices (BDGW) from Decem­ber 1992 to March 2022. Sin­ce 2018, he has also been an exe­cu­ti­ve mem­ber of the BDSW’s exe­cu­ti­ve com­mit­tee. After his reti­re­ment, he has been working as a free­lan­cer for HOT-Con­sul­ting — — sin­ce April 1st, 2022. In the sum­mer of 2022, he gave a pre­sen­ta­ti­on on “Body cam as a cen­tral ele­ment of occu­pa­tio­nal health and safe­ty” at NetCo’s first Body Cam Con­fe­rence in Cologne. 

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