Evaluation of the readability of standard letters by the BGs to insured individuals

Project No. BGAG 7600100728


completed 03/2006


Insured individuals receive various standard letters from the institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention responsible for them following occupational accidents and in connection with compensation payments. The readability and comprehensibility of the various letters were to be evaluated. Criteria were to be developed by which the readability of the letters can be improved.


Following a literature survey on the subject, the readability and comprehensibility were to be reviewed by reference to a survey involving insured individuals.


The results of the study showed that the texts examined were already formulated very clearly. Nevertheless, scope for improvement exists even with well written texts. Some general points can be derived from the study for writing comprehensible German. These may appear trivial in places, but are in fact difficult to implement in practice:

- Write short sentences
- Avoid using jargon or foreign words, or explain them
- Avoid long compound words
- Use verbs instead of nouns
- Use the active mood
- Address the reader directly
- Avoid embedded clauses

Last Update:

24 Jan 2007


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut Arbeit und Gesundheit - BGAG
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut Arbeit und Gesundheit - BGAG

printing industry

Type of hazard:



Informationssystem, Qualitätssicherung, Arbeitnehmer

Description, key words:

criteria for readability, improvement of readability and comprehensibility of standard letters