Occupational Health and Safety, and Health Management

  • GRI 403

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, diseases, 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. The policies and measures described in this section apply to all of the United Internet Group’s German locations.

All issues relating to these two areas are discussed at annual meetings. Issues covered include current developments and organizing hazard assessments, plus compliance with all statutory requirements such as capturing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • GRI 403-2

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020, the focus has been on establishing and implementing processes and measures in line with the enhanced occupational safety requirements set out in Germany’s Coronavirus Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. This was achieved in close cooperation with occupational medicine and occupational safety experts. Broadly speaking, measures were taken to address the following topics: 

  • Regular COVID-19 hazard assessments (inspections, a list of measures, ongoing updates to measures and processes) together with our external service providers for preventive health care, safety engineering, occupational medicine, and occupational safety

  • Processes for handling suspected cases and infections

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

  • Internal communications and training designed to ensure transparency and awareness-raising, and to provide information (COVID-19 health care portal and COVID-19 intranet page, FAQs, news ticker, and safety and hygiene plan)

  • Advisory and support offerings (e.g., provision of advice to risk groups by the Company medical staff, webinars on coping with COVID-19, the offer of vaccinations, crisis hotlines, and recommendations on how to ensure ergonomic home offices)

  • Mobile working processes and structures

Occupational Health Management

  • GRI 403-1
  • GRI 403-8

We implemented an occupational health management system at all German locations in 2017 by setting up a Company medical service and appointing Company physicians. This involves providing a wide range of support, health promotion, and preventive measures above and beyond the requirements of the German Health and Safety at Work Act (Arbeitsschutzgesetz – ArbSchG) .

  • GRI 403-3
  • GRI 403-8

Occupational health management includes hazard assessments, occupational medical care, health promotion offerings, and preventive measures. These are designed to reduce the risk of mental and physical stress, to enhance employees’ health and wellbeing, and to improve their work-life balance. The health care topics given top priority are exercise, ergonomics, nutrition, stress management, and enhancing resilience. These offerings can be taken up by all core employees in Germany.

Our occupational health management activities in 2022 focused on the following areas, which are largely aimed at prevention:

  • Implementation of a follow-up process for the group-wide hazard assessment of potential stress factors in the workplace. The spotlight this time round was on specific areas of the Company. What is more, 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 has been successfully rolled out in the period since 2020.

  • Additionally, we aim to reduce employee stress (e.g., in our call centers) by providing resilience training and teaching them how to ensure conversations remain calm and to deescalate.

  • Since many of our employees mainly work sitting down, workplaces are regularly checked and adapted, and seated workstations are 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. The Consumer Access, Consumer Applications, and Business Applications segments at our German locations offer a range of ergonomics-related services such as advice on ergonomic seating options, specialist literature on the intranet, health care videos, and downloadable documents containing recommendations on how to work ergonomically and on compensating exercises.
  • GRI 403-6
  • Above and beyond this, all locations provide professional health promotion and support measures that are performed by external service providers. These include flu vaccinations, support from our occupational medicine staff, check-ups, and relaxation and exercise offerings such as yoga and back-strengthening courses. A virtual health week was introduced in 2022 in cooperation with German health insurance provider Techniker Krankenkasse. In addition, company runs were organized at our major locations in Germany with the assistance of service providers B2Run and Berliner Teamstaffel.
  • GRI 403-4
  • United Internet helps all employees in Germany achieve a positive work-life balance even in challenging situations through its Employee Assistance Program, which is run in partnership with an external, independent provider. Service provider contacts are available by phone around the clock to provide confidential advice on three core topics/offerings: parental counseling/childcare, care for relatives, and life coaching to cope with personal challenges. The Employee Assistance Program offers prevention and support services such as resilience training, mindfulness and relaxation courses, and webinars on healthy eating. In addition, our external service provider supports employees experiencing difficult personal situations such as stress, illness, addiction, or financial crises by providing remote counseling, emergency psychotherapy, and crisis support, and by helping to find medical assistance, therapists, and clinics in acute cases. Intranet posts are used to inform staff regularly of the service and of other health-related measures.

  • We also use the intranet and onboarding events for employees and managers to inform them of our health promotion measures and offerings, and provide a health mailbox and intranet discussion channels that they can use to submit suggestions and ideas. Occupational Health Management team also offers staff and managers in the Consumer Access, Consumer Applications, and Business Applications segments advice, both personally and via internal structures such as Vertrauenspersonen (designated persons of trust).

  • We continuously enhance and expand both our occupational health management activities themselves and our internal communications about them at a strategic level. For example, we perform regular evaluations of our health promotion offerings, which enable us to obtain feedback from employees and enhance the formats used.

  • The visibility of the Company’s Occupational Health Management program is to be enhanced by introducing a logo featuring the corporate design (“UI Health & Care”) and strategically including it in our existing communications channels. With effect from 2022, hybrid health promotion formats are being implemented that combine face-to-face and online offerings. The goals are to leverage the benefits of both formats for employees, to further improve coverage at our smaller locations, and to combat any pandemic-related cancellations of face-to-face events.

Occupational Health and Safety, Including Data Center Safety

Annual safety inspections in line with health and safety agency/statutory rules and regulations are performed at all German locations together with experts from our external service providers. Our health and safety activities are being continuously enhanced in line with statutory/health and safety agency rules and regulations.

  • GRI 403-5

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

  • Emergency First aid 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 are also assisted by 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 the rules and regulations to be followed. Signature logs are used ensure that the relevant safety regulations have been taken on board.

Occupational Health and Safety in Figures

  • GRI 403-9

The objective of the measures described above is to reduce stress-related absences and avoid accidents at work. We will continue to pinpoint the causes of absences and accidents in future so as to identify any other measures that may be necessary. The following table gives a breakdown of absences due to illness in Germany. The increase in the percentage to 5.0% in the reporting period mirrors the general trend in Germany but is still below the national average, as is common for our sector (1) .

(1) See the sector-specific statistics compiled by the umbrella association for German occupational health insurance funds: www.bkkdachverband.de/statistik/monatlicher-krankenstand.

Absence due to illness (in %)




Number of accident reports




on the way to and from work




Absentee rate (1)




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