Who is liable for accidents in the sauna?

A visit to the spa is a great way to relax and rejuvenate. No one expects to end up in the hospital afterwards. Although slip and fall accidents are not usually reported in the media, they do occur. The costs associated with unforeseen incidents can add up quickly. If it can be shown that carelessness played a role in the incident, the defendant may be held liable for the damages.
What is the legal situation in case of accidents in the sauna facility?

What is the legal situation in the event of accidents in the sauna facility?

For most people, a visit to the sauna is associated with pure relaxation: Sweating is healthy, keeps us fit, gets the blood circulation going and ensures rosy skin. Nevertheless, unfortunately, health or bodily injuries of sauna visitors occur again and again. The reasons for this can be manifold: If you slip and injure yourself or burn yourself due to an improper infusion, after the initial shock the question arises for the sauna visitor as to who is responsible – and who is liable.

Accidents in the sauna: Who is liable?

The question of who is liable in the event of an accident in the sauna cannot be answered in such a general way – because it always depends on the individual case. Basically, the person who creates a hazardous situation for third parties – for example, by setting up a sauna facility – has a general legal obligation to ensure that appropriate safety precautions are taken. This means that he must ensure that the sauna is safe in order to prevent harm to third parties as far as possible. Now, however, there are a number of possible accidents that do not always make it easy to determine liability. We present some practical examples in more detail below.

Circulatory collapse in the sauna – can the operator be held liable?

Again and again we hear about people who have circulatory problems in the heat of the sauna. If a complete circulatory collapse occurs, this can have serious consequences. For older people in particular, this can be life-threatening if they suffer burns as a result. In fact, however, the operator has only limited liability in such a case. If the sauna is equipped with an emergency switch and is checked at regular intervals, which is also recorded, the operator cannot be held responsible. This is because the sauna visitor is responsible for his or her own physical well-being and decides on his or her own whether to visit the sauna.

Safety standards in the sauna area – what is fundamentally important

It doesn’t matter whether it’s in fitness studios, spas or adventure pools: If a sauna is offered for public use somewhere, the operator must ensure that it complies with safety standards. This includes, for example, the installation of an emergency switch and a fire safety grate, as well as regular checks on the functionality of all elements. The German Sauna Association (Deutscher Sauna-Bund e.V.) recommends intervals of half an hour for this purpose – these are very important for visitors for medical reasons alone.

Slipping on a wet floor: Is the sauna operator liable in this case?

It is not uncommon for the floor in a sauna to be frequently damp and slippery. Here, guests generally have to be very careful and move around accordingly. This also means an adapted walking style. In general, a wet floor in the sauna does not represent a neglect of the so-called duty of care. Only if there is a danger that goes beyond the regular sauna operation, the operator must protect his guests accordingly more comprehensive. If a fall occurs due to slipping during normal operation, the operator cannot be held liable for this.

Accidents caused by the sauna heater and the legal situation in this respect

The heater of a sauna is always a potential source of danger: An incorrect infusion product can lead to the release of toxic fumes and, in the worst case, be life-threatening. Time and again, however, people disregard the importance of caution here: it often happened in the past that people made careless infusions – such as with high-proof alcohol – and this then got directly into the respiratory tract. In the worst case, poisoning caused in this way can be fatal – and of course no sauna operator is liable for this! Nevertheless, sauna operators are always obliged to organize their operations in such a way that an infusion is provided exclusively by trained staff.

How can the safety of a sauna operation be recognized?

Anyone visiting a public sauna for the first time should first take a leisurely look at the premises and ask the staff about safety measures. These include, for example, the presence of emergency call buttons, the type of infusions and also the inspection intervals. Opinions of other visitors, which can usually be easily viewed on the Internet, can also be very helpful before visiting a sauna.

Last but not least, the most important thing to remember is that when you visit a sauna, you are to some extent responsible for yourself. If you do not feel fit or suffer from circulatory problems, you are strongly advised not to visit a hot sauna cabin. If you are healthy, you can of course visit it – but as long as you feel comfortable in it. On average, a sauna session should last no more than 15 to 20 minutes. After that, it is time to cool down the body before taking a second sauna session, if you wish.


If you follow these tips and consciously pay attention to safe use of the sauna, you won’t have to worry about anything and you can enjoy relaxation all around!


Did you like the article? We would be delighted if you shared it and helped us to make our sauna magazine accessible to a wider audience, to inspire even more people with the beneficial properties of the sauna.