Simplified Operating Instructions

Project No. FF-FP 0320


completed 12/2011


It seems that migrant staff is more accident-prone than their German colleagues due to communication problems. Misunderstandings are also caused by lack of instructions, particularly in small-and medium-sized companies (SME). In order to rectify these problems, selected operating instructions should be simplified, illustrated and reduced to a basic language level.


During the course of the project several activities have been conducted. Supported by project management and BGHM, the participating enterprises selected the operating instructions to be revised. On the basis of previously developed questionnaires, the comprehension of "classical" operating instructions was verified by project management and enterprises in a test group chosen from their own workforce and also, for quality assurance purposes, in a test group selected from participants in language courses. Both groups had the same language level (A2). In cooperation with the participating enterprises and the BG Holz und Metall (the institution for social accident insurance in the woodworking and metalworking industries), the Initiative für Beschäftigung OWL e.V. (IfB) developed first suggestions for the revision of the operating instructions. A service provider ensured the compatibility with A2 language level. The IfB OWL e.V. revised the new operating instructions accordingly. The revised operating instructions were scrutinized for learning success control on the basis of previously developed questionnaires with the same test groups. Simultaneously, Facility Security Officers (FSO) tested the practical applicability of the process developed in one of their regularly scheduled trainings.


The project results show that operating instructions can be simplified in line with linguistic, didactic and modular aspects. The comparison of the comprehension of "classica" and "simplified" operating instructions vividly illustrates a better understanding of simplified operating instructions. The need for requirements as well as the applicability of the process developed has been formulated by practitioners of occupational safety. To ensure sustainability, a brochure was developed, which describes the process developed and makes it applicable for further use.

Last Update:

2 May 2016


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaft Holz und Metall
  • Initiative für Beschäftigung OWL e. v. Bielefeld

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

work organization/safety and health management


prevention, migration, plant safety

Description, key words:

operating instructions, cross-cultural