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Sign 101 of the traffic sign catalog of the German road traffic regulations: "Hazardous point"
Danger sign
  •  Diamond warning sign.svg
  •  Triangle warning sign (red and white) .svg
  •  Triangle warning sign (red and yellow) .svg
  •  Triangle warning sign (black and yellow) .svg
  •  Triangle warning sign (red and white) .svg (old Triangle warning sign (red and blue) .svg)
  • A danger (abbreviation Gef. ) Is a situation that can have a negative impact. This negative effect of a hazard can affect people , things , facts , animals or the environment .


    The word danger comes from the Middle High German gevāre " ambush , fraud", derived from the Old High German fāra, which appeared between 863 and 871 . Today's concept of danger has a slightly modified content in several specialist areas , all of which have in common that the person at risk is threatened with harm ( personal injury and / or property damage ) or some other disadvantage.

    As a danger sign about a is danger symbol ( pictogram ) or other acoustic or visual danger signal as a warning used Root ( danger number ) of a danger scale than danger level or hazard class , danger zone or other classifications of risk threat, danger or risk .


    A general distinction must be made between:

    • Hazard ( English hazard ): a potential source of danger (source of harm).
    • Danger ( English danger ): The potential damage of the hazard or condition of a threat by a hazard.
    • Damage ( English harm; damage, injury ): The concrete damaging effect of the source of danger, as a possibility or reality.
    • Risk ( English risk ): compound or combination of the probability of a loss and the extent of damage.

    Danger and risk are often used synonymously in the insurance industry.


    Insurance protection is the insured risk assumed by the insurer in the insurance contract , i.e. the protection of the policyholder or an insured person against insured risks. Insured risks are those events , the occurrence of which constitutes an important part of the insured event according to the contract . From a legal point of view, the insurance contract obliges the insurer to bear the insured risk against payment of an insurance premium according to the risk theory . In risk theory, the risk is characterized by the uncertainty and - in the event of occurrence - by the economic disadvantage for the risk taker. The “underwriting risk” is the “risk and the possibility that the number or scope of the claims exceeds the extent on which the premium calculation is based”.


    In the engineering sciences , VDE 31000 / VDE1987 / includes general principles for the safe design of technical products: "Danger is a situation in which the risk is greater than the limit risk ."

    Occupational safety

    In the case of occupational safety, the following applies: A hazard arises when a person can come into spatial and temporal contact with an injury-causing factor. Several dangerous conditions can interact. Technical, organizational and personal measures are intended to prevent hazards and the effect of hazards.

    • As a residual risk hazards are designated with a risk below the risk limit s. So these dangers are tolerated.
    • Marginal risk describes the highest acceptable risk under which a situation is still safe. The limit can be determined by legal, social or personal norms.
    Legal situation in Germany

    The hazards associated with a specific workplace are included in the risk assessment, e.g. B. determined and logged by the employer or the person responsible in accordance with Section 13 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (ArbSchG). The employer decides on the occupational safety measures to be taken; However, it is based on the level of ergonomic knowledge i. S. v. Section 4 ArbSchG. The company doctor and the occupational safety specialist do not belong to the line within the company organization and generally only provide advice with regard to the assessment of the working conditions.

    Signal word Danger'

    The signal word Danger is used in written communication (e.g. instructions for use ) to draw the reader's attention to a specific passage in the text. Danger may only be used to warn of dangers that already exist at the time of the warning (e.g. hot surfaces, sharp edges, pinch points, etc.). It is only used when there is a risk of personal injury .

    The labeling of hazardous substances under the global system GHS calls for attaching a signal word on the label, depending on the risk category: Caution (Engl. Warning , abbreviation Achtg. ) Or danger ( danger , abbr. Found. , All with no exclamation marks). Here 'danger' stands for the “serious” hazard categories.

    Social sciences and social philosophy

    In the social sciences , especially in sociology , u. a. differentiated between the indefinite "danger" and the calculable " risk ". See the sociology of disasters .

    Another definition of these terms goes back to Niklas Luhmann's systems theory . To him, “danger” means the possibility of future damage or disadvantage, the occurrence of which is attributed to the environment regardless of my behavior or decisions. For him, “risk”, on the other hand, is a self-attribution, ie it depends on one's own decision .

    Business administration

    In business administration cause risks are difficult to calculate risk costs . If the existing risk is greater than the limit risk , there is a risk :


    Security is accordingly in place, if


    Technically and economically, security only begins below the limit risk and is highest when there is no longer any risk. If, on the other hand, the existing risk is greater than the acceptable limit risk, there is a danger.


    Danger is also a legal term that is very often used in criminal law (e.g. § 34 StGB in the case of emergency , § 21 StPO in the case of imminent danger ), civil law ( § 446 BGB on transfer of risk , § 644 BGB on price risk ), commercial law ( § 410 HGB on Dangerous goods ) or insurance law ( § 23 VVG in the event of increased risk ).

    The administrative law aimed at police-and regulatory task security from. "There is a danger when a situation or a behavior will damage a legally protected legal asset in the foreseeable future and with sufficient probability if the objectively expected events proceed unhindered." The decisive factor is whether a situation or behavior is given from which the Probability of damage based on proven experience follows ( objectively given risk ). The danger here is a state of affairs that, with sufficient probability , would lead to damage to public safety in the foreseeable future . A distinction must be made between concrete and abstract danger. There is a specific risk if in the specific individual case to be assessed, the occurrence of damage can be expected with sufficient probability in the foreseeable future; An abstract danger is given if a general-abstract consideration of certain types of behavior or conditions leads to the result that there is a sufficient probability that damage will occur in individual cases and that there is therefore reason to use general-abstract means, i.e. a legal proposition to fight; This means that there is no need to provide evidence of the risk of damage occurring in individual cases. If the acting officer is allowed to assume a danger on the basis of indications, one speaks of an apparent danger which is equal to the concrete danger. The concrete risk is therefore the risk existing in an individual case, the abstract risk the merely imagined occurrence on which the enactment of legal norms is based. For example, the non-corrosion-proof heating oil tank of owner X is specifically dangerous, non-corrosion-proof heating oil tanks in general are abstractly dangerous. The defense of impending dangers and the elimination of any disturbances in public safety is the task of the police and regulatory authorities , whereby a specific danger must be present in individual cases as a prerequisite for police or regulatory authority measures .

    Many other areas of law also use the term without defining it in connection with hazard class , hazardous substance or environmentally hazardous substances . Depending on the aim of the regulation, you consider the concept of danger to be slightly modified and not congruent.

    Types of danger

    • Types of danger in jurisprudence
    Real danger
    A concrete danger includes any situation which, if the objectively expected events proceed unhindered , leads to a violation of the protected assets with a sufficient probability .
    Example: A person is sitting next to a petrol pump, has a cigarette and lighter in his hand. There is a risk of the gasoline igniting.
    Abstract danger
    The abstract danger does not precede the concrete danger. Abstract and concrete danger do not differ in terms of the probability of damage occurring. In the case of abstract danger, it is rather the case that the source of the danger is not a specific, individual fact, but an imaginary, typified life circumstance from which a danger to the protected interests of public safety or order can arise.
    Example: For the heavily frequented pedestrian area of ​​a city center, there is an (abstract) danger that adults, children or other dogs located there will be bitten by large dogs or attack dogs running around freely. A city can now counter this abstract danger through an ordinance (based on a legal authorization basis) on a leash constraint.
    Apparent danger
    The occurrence of damage is sufficiently probable, but in retrospect there was no real risk. According to the prevailing opinion, the apparent danger is a full risk under police law. However, there are also views which, with well-defensible arguments, reject the existence of the category of apparent danger and regard such cases as situations in which there is no danger because there is actually no threat of damage.
    Example: A police officer is told that a suitcase in the marketplace contains a bomb. He then orders the evacuation of the marketplace; afterwards it turns out that the suitcase was empty.
    Putative risk (also apparent risk)
    Erroneous assumption of a risk, whereby the misjudgment is based on an unacceptable assessment. There is no danger under police law. The putative danger does not authorize the use of hazard prevention measures. Such are therefore illegal.
    Example: A police officer sees a child handling a toy gun that is clearly recognizable as such. He steps in and confiscates the toy.
    Suspected danger
    A danger is considered possible, even if there are still subjective doubts. The occurrence of damage is not sufficiently likely, but possible.
    It is a danger i. S. d. Law, however, in the context of proportionality, initially only slightly incisive measures are to be taken (e.g. risk research )

    Classification and labeling of danger

    Danger levels in law:

    Present danger
    The damaging event is imminent or in the very near future with a probability bordering on certainty , or has already begun (increased nearness in time). The presence of the current danger is a prerequisite for certain powers to come into force.
    Example: A drunk person takes a seat in a car and shifts into gear.
    imminent danger
    a situation in which damage would occur if another authority or person did not act in place of the competent authority or person.
    Urgent danger
    occurs when a situation or behavior with an unimpeded course of an objectively expected event will with sufficient probability damage an important legal asset. The urgent danger does NOT require any urgency.


    • A person's first reaction to difficulties and dangers is to collect and tense up all vital energies so that they are awake and ready for action against the hostile circumstances .
    • The soldier is convinced that he has been given a certain period of time, which can be extended indefinitely, before he is killed, the thief before he is caught, and people in general before they have to die. This is the talisman that protects the individual - and sometimes the peoples - not against the danger itself, but against the fear of the danger, more precisely against the belief in the danger and in certain cases helps to accept the danger, without being brave .

    See also


    Web links

    Commons : Danger  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
    Wikiquote: Danger  - Quotes
    Wiktionary: Danger  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Wiktionary: Danger to life  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

    Individual evidence

    1. Gerhard Köbler , Etymological Legal Dictionary , 1995, p. 146
    2. ISO / IEC Guide 51
    3. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden (ed.), Compact Lexicon Economy , 2014, p. 586
    4. Fred Wagner (ed.), Gabler Versicherungslexikon , 2011, p. 697
    5. Fred Wagner (ed.), Gabler Versicherungslexikon , 2011, p. 697
    6. Max Gürtler, Risk and Reinsurance , in: Rudolf Lencer / Paul Riebesell / Heinrich Lippert (eds.), Deutsche Versicherungswirtschaft, Volume II, 1936, p. 445 ff.
    7. ^ Hennig, Tjarks: Dictionary for technical communication and documentation . tekom. 1998.
    8. Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 ( pdf (PDF) , EUR-Lex )
    9. Art. 20 Signal Words EG 1272/2008 (PDF, p. 16)
    10. Appendix VI Identification codes EG 1272/2008 (PDF, p. 333)
    11. Art. 2 Definitions 4.a) EG 1272/2008 (PDF, p. 9)
    12. Heinz Olenik / Karl-Heinz Malzahn, Safety lighting systems , 1998, p. 1
    13. Federal Administrative Court , judgment of February 26, 1974, Az .: IC 31.72 = BVerwGE 45, 51 , 57
    14. Volkmar Götz, General Police and Ordinance Law , 2001, p. 61
    15. BVerwG, judgment of June 26, 1970, Az .: 4 C 99.67 = NJW 1970, 1890
    16. BVerwGE 45, 51, 58
    17. Elmar Krüger, The concept of danger in police and regulatory law , in: Juristische Schulung, 2013, p. 989
    18. Volkmar Götz, General Police and Ordinance Law , 2001, p. 62
    19. ^ José Ortega y Gasset , Construction and Disintegration of Spain , 1921
    20. Marcel Proust , In the Shadow of Young Girls , 1927, p. 182; ISBN 3-51857875-8