Occupational Health and Safety

  • NfS: Occupational Health and Safety and Risk Prevention
  • 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, plus compliance with all statutory requirements such as surveying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 has led to a focus on establishing and implementing processes and measures ensuring compliance with the enhanced work safety standard, the German SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, and the health and safety rules. This was achieved in close cooperation with occupational medicine and occupational 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, and recommendations on how to ensure ergonomic home offices)

  • Modifications to mobile working processes and structures

Occupational Health Management

  • NfS: Health Protection
  • 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. The structure of 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. In addition, we implemented a large number of measures for health promotion and disease prevention above and beyond the statutory requirements.

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. Central interfaces have also been implemented to permit them to exchange information at an overarching level with the staff 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.

  • 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. Additionally, we aim to reduce employee stress in our call centers by providing anti-stress training, and teaching them how to ensure conversations remain calm and to deescalate.

  • Above and beyond this, all locations provide professional health promotion and support measures that are performed by third parties. These include flu vaccinations, support from our occupational medicine staff, check-ups, and relaxation and exercise offerings such as yoga and back-strengthening courses.

  • New, largely virtual health promotion formats were developed and implemented in response to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, health courses that could no longer take place on-site due to the restrictions on social contact were offered in digital form. In addition, a virtual health week was held together with statutory health insurance fund BARMER as an alternative to local health day events. “B2Mission 2021” – an app-based jogging and exercise challenge – was offered instead of the normal company races. “B2Fit 2021” – a digital program on health topics such as exercise, nutrition, resilience, and sleep designed to help employees live more healthily in the long term and to enhance their wellbeing – was also piloted. In addition to the thrill of the challenge, the initiatives were designed to motivate employees to keep healthy and fit during the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the same time to strengthen the idea that we are in this together. Above and beyond this, a coronavirus healthcare portal on the intranet allows staff to obtain a sound overview and rapidly access relevant webinars and web-based courses, along with other self-help offerings and key internal information.

  • One of the findings to clearly emerge from our most recent employee survey was the wish for even more health promotion offerings. To achieve this, the Health team liaised closely with departments such as the UI Learning & Organizational Development Team 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 and intranet channels that they can use 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.

  • United Internet helps all employees in Germany achieve a positive work-life balance even in challenging situations through its Employee Assistance Program (EAP), in partnership 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.

In 2022, 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 enhance the healthcare portal and internal communications. Plans exist to enhance the visibility of the Company’s Occupational Health Management program by introducing a logo using the corporate design and strategically including it in the relevant channels. In addition, hybrid health promotion formats are being planned: These aim to combine face-to-face and online offerings to leverage the benefits of both formats for employees and to combat any pandemic-related cancellations of face-to-face events.

We are also planning a hazard assessment follow-up process for potential stress factors in the workplace. This will build on the results of the multi-location hazard assessment and will focus in particular on individual areas of the Company and locations. Furthermore, we are continuing to offer the training format for managers supporting employees who are suffering from psychological stress that was developed as a result of the hazard assessment and successfully rolled out in the period since 2020.

Occupational Health and Safety, Including Data Center Safety

  • NfS: Occupational Safety
  • GRI 403-5
  • GRI 403-7

Annual safety inspections complying with health 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 is held. 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 then attend regular courses. We also receive support from an external specialist for occupational 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.

The beginning of 2022 will see the successive implementation of the hazard assessment process, with BAD GmbH acting as the process manager, and central documentation of all work areas and areas of activity. At present, the relevant documents and workflows are being adapted to current requirements together with our service provider. We also plan to increase the number of volunteer firefighters and hold a new training course.

Employee Absences in Figures

  • NfS: Nonfinancial Key Performance Indicators
  • 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 together 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.