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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.