Occupational Health and Safety

  • GRI 403
  • GRI 403-2

Ensuring health and safety in the workplace is part of our duty of care towards our employees. Our goal as a responsible employer is to minimize accidents, illness, and risks as far as possible and to promote the health of our employees. We focus on two areas here: occupational health management and occupational health and safety, including data center safety.

All issues relating to these two areas are discussed at annual meetings. These include current developments and organizing hazard assessments as well as compliance with all statutory requirements such as surveying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 led from the beginning of 2020 onwards to a focus on establishing and implementing processes and measures ensuring compliance with the enhanced work safety standard and the SARS-CoV-2 health and safety regulations. This was achieved in close cooperation with occupational medicine and work safety experts. Broadly speaking, measures were taken to address the following topics:

  • The development and establishment of a company policy on the subject and preparations for crisis scenarios

  • A COVID-19 hazard assessment (inspections, a list of measures, ongoing updates to measures and processes); these were given a seal of approval by BAD GmbH, our external service provider for preventive healthcare and safety engineering

  • The establishment of processes for handling suspected cases and infections

  • The use of behavioral and hygiene measures and rules to prevent infection

  • Internal communication and training for transparency and awareness-raising and implementation of a coronavirus healthcare portal

  • Advisory and support offerings (e.g., provision of advice to risk groups by the Company medical staff, crisis hotlines, recommendations on how to ensure ergonomic home offices)

  • Modifications to processes and structures for working from home

Occupational Health Management

  • GRI 403-1
  • GRI 403-3
  • GRI 403-4
  • GRI 403-6
  • GRI 403-8

We implemented an enterprise-wide occupational health management system in 2017 by setting up our Company medical service and appointing Company physicians for all locations. This Group-wide system complies with the requirements of the German Health and Safety at Work Act (“Arbeitsschutzgesetz” – ArbSchG). The latter clearly sets out the tasks that companies have to perform and their responsibilities, which were implemented by United Internet. Compliance with these statutory requirements is verified by supervisory authorities and the competent occupational health and safety agency, with the latter also providing technical advice on how to implement specific measures.

Among other things, occupational health management at United Internet includes hazard assessments, occupational medicine, health promotion offerings, and preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of mental and physical stress and to improve employees’ work-life balance. These measures cover all core employees in Germany.

Our occupational health management activities are constantly being strategically optimized and extended. For example, we have set up bodies such as the Health and Safety Committee, whose regular meetings are used to define, evaluate, and modify measures. In addition, coordinators have been appointed at the individual locations to help with the implementation of Company-specific and preventive measures. Standardized processes have been created to help staff order specific equipment. In addition, central interfaces have been implemented to permit them to exchange information at an overarching level with the colleagues responsible for our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and the Health and Safety and Workplace Reintegration Management functions.

Our health management activities focus on the following areas, which are largely aimed at prevention:

  • Facility Management regularly performs hazard analyses at our premises and holds fire safety drills, including evacuations.

  • We work together with occupational medicine specialists to provide occupational healthcare. Since many of our employees mainly work sitting down, workplaces are regularly checked and adapted, and seated workstations replaced by adjustable-height desks where necessary. When fitting out new buildings, we take care to ensure that meeting areas in particular offer space for both sitting and standing. In addition, we provide a range of offerings on ergonomics. These include blog entries, health videos, and downloadable PDF files containing recommendations on how to work ergonomically, and on compensatory workplace exercises. We also aim to reduce the strain on employees in our call centers by providing stress management training, and teaching them how to ensure conversations remain calm and to deescalate conflicts.

  • Above and beyond this, all sites provide professional health promotion measures that are performed by third parties. These include influenza vaccinations, occupational medical support, check-ups, and virtual relaxation and exercise offerings that have been adapted to the new conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We also performed a hazard assessment for the first time in 2018 that looked at potential stress factors in the workplace. This survey of all workplace types was completed in the same year and a structured follow-up process to implement the resulting measures was launched in 2019. For example, we developed and tested a training format for managers to support employees suffering from psychological stress that was rolled out and successfully implemented in 2020.

  • One of the findings to clearly emerge from our 2018 employee survey was the wish for even more health promotion offerings. To achieve this, the Health team is liaising closely with departments such as People & Organizational Development to continuously extend our occupational health management and health communication policy to incorporate strategic aspects and expand our offering. Exercise, nutrition, stress management, and enhancing resilience during the COVID-19 period have top priority here. We use the intranet to inform employees of our health promotion measures and offerings, and also provide a health mailbox for them to submit suggestions and ideas. In addition, we perform regular evaluations of our health promotion offerings so as to obtain feedback from employees, and regularly enhance the formats used.

  • Since June 1, 2019, United Internet has helped all employees in Germany achieve a positive work-life balance even in challenging situations using its EAP, which is run in cooperation with an external, independent family service. Service provider contacts are available by phone around the clock to provide confidential advice on three core topics: parental counseling/childcare, care for relatives, and personal emergencies. The parental counseling/childcare support offered covers everything from tips about the German statutory parental allowance through finding age-appropriate vacation childcare down to school counseling and emergency childcare. Advice on caring for relatives addresses issues associated with how to finance care and other background information on this topic, as well as finding household help and shoppers. In addition, our Family Service supports employees experiencing difficult personal situations such as stress, illness, addiction, or financial crises. It offers both preventive and support measures such as remote counseling, resilience training, mindfulness and relaxation courses, emergency psychotherapy and crisis support, plus help finding medical assistance, therapists, and clinics in acute cases. Employees are regularly informed of the service and of other health-related measures using intranet posts.

  • New, largely virtual health promotion formats were developed and implemented in response to the new situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, “B2Mission 2020” – an app-based jogging and exercise challenge – was offered as an alternative to the normal company races. This allowed employees at all locations in Germany to join together as the 1&1 team and compete against other companies from the rest of the country over a four-week period. In addition to the thrill of the challenge, the initiative was designed to motivate employees to keep moving, and therefore fit, during the COVID-19 pandemic and to strengthen the idea that we are in this together. We also implemented a coronavirus healthcare portal on the intranet to allow staff to obtain a sound overview and rapidly access relevant webinars and other web-based courses, along with other self-help offerings and key internal information.

In 2021, our occupational healthcare management activities will focus on strategically enhancing our offerings, measures, and health-related communications. Among other things, the aim is to introduce a communications policy that uses multipliers to expand the healthcare portal and internal communications. Other virtual formats such as health days are also being planned to compensate for any face-to-face events that may have to be canceled because of COVID-19.

Occupational Health and Safety, Including Data Center Safety

  • GRI 403-5
  • GRI 403-7

Annual safety inspections complying with healthy and safety agency/statutory rules and regulations are performed at all locations together with BAD GmbH’s experts. Public authority reports are also evaluated and implemented, and a central Health and Safety Committee meeting. Meetings are also held at locations that have significant numbers of staff. Our health and safety activities are continuously enhanced in line with statutory/healthy and safety agency rules and regulations.

Only authorized employees have permanent access to our data centers. All such employees are obliged to attend training on the following subjects:

  • How to behave if there is a fire

  • How to behave in an emergency

  • First aid courses run by the DGUV (Germany’s statutory accident insurance scheme) that are specially tailored to data center environments

  • First aid emergency training in the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs)

  • Fire prevention training that is specially tailored to data center environments

  • Safety training for electrical equipment

  • Practical training in category III personal protective equipment (PPE)

In addition, we organize appropriate training for those employees who are responsible for powering up and booting servers. We work together with Verwaltungs-Berufsgenossenschaft (VBG), the German occupational health and safety agency, to train safety officers for each operations team, who attend regular courses. We also receive support from an external specialist for work safety and physical fire protection. We use an internal communications platform to provide employees with emergency manuals, work instructions, and rules to be followed. Signature logs ensure that the relevant safety regulations have been taken on board.

For 2021, we are planning to further develop the processes for, revise, and adapt hazard assessments. This will be done with the detailed involvement of the managers concerned. In addition, we intend to hold in-depth training for our fire safety team.

Employee Absences in Figures

  • GRI 403-2
  • GRI 403-9
  • GRI 403-10

The goal of the measures described above is to reduce stress-related absences and accidents at work. We want to continue analyzing the causes of absences and accidents with our occupational medicine specialists, so as to identify any other measures that may be necessary.

Absentee rate(1)




Absence due to illness (in %)




Number of accident reports




thereof on the way to and from work (in %)




(1) Figures refer to our all core employees in Germany.

(2) Fluctuations in accidents on the way to and from work are due to the weather, among other things.