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2020 Sustainability Report
published 2021/08/02

Safety is a top priority

Health and safety in the workplace are important to us. Our primary focus is on prevention and employee training.

Avoiding accidents and occupational illnesses

We invest in quality training for our employees and safe technologies in order to avoid workplace accidents and occupational illnesses. With the help of our streamlined yet effective internal occupational safety organization, we ensure that risks are recognized early and that we find solutions with preventative measures.

Professional support from experts

An external expert for occupational safety and a company physician advise and support VAUDE in the conception, implementation and review of all aspects of fire protection and occupational safety.

Altogether, eight employees serve as Safety Officers to ensure the safety of employees across all company divisions – they are deeply familiar with the processes in their own departments, are confronted daily with the working conditions there, and are familiar with the problems or dangers that can arise. They motivate their colleagues to engage in safe work practices and immediately inform their managers of any defects or hazards. 

They also participate in regular inspections throughout the company to monitor adherence to regulations and assess risks. 

Company emergency responder officers available

We take strict care to provide the number of company emergency responder officers (EROs) required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act. We hold annual on-site first aid courses in cooperation with regional associations such as the German Red Cross in order to qualify new EROs and to provide retraining for our existing EROs at least every two years. In 2020 we trained a total of 43 employees in 2 courses.

Top-priority: occupational safety and fire protection

Together with her team, our Head of Human Resources and Organization is responsible for occupational safety. As a contact person for internal and external groups, this person keeps VAUDE's occupational health and safety systems running.

To this end, she moderates the quarterly meetings of the Committee for Occupational Safety (ASA), which includes the external Occupational Safety Specialist, Safety Representatives and the senior management, as well as employees from Logistics, Maintenance and Manufacturing, the Occupational Health Management Coordinator and the company physician. 

Occupational Safety

Recognizing potential for physical and psychological hazards

All managers receive regular training on occupational safety and health protection. Both legal requirements and safety-related expertise are conveyed. With guidance from the Occupational Safety Specialist, managers also address potential physical and psychological stress at work that could lead to accidents or occupational illnesses.
Vested with this prior knowledge, they discuss specific risks and document results and action needed on the basis of a “traffic light system” with their respective employees. In this way, employees gain insight into the risks of their work and can directly participate in the evaluation and establishment of preventive measures. Risk assessments are updated regularly and reviewed during inspections with the company doctor and the Occupational Safety Specialist.

In late 2018 and late 2020, we also conducted a detailed mental risk assessment using a holistic health-related online survey. We were supported by the Institute for Occupational Health Consulting with its "Employee Barometer". From this anonymous survey, we were able to identify which aspects of the working environment and working conditions were rated more favorably or less favorably by our employees. Since the beginning of 2021, we have been working on the implementation of important measures to reduce mental stress in the areas identified.

The Corona pandemic: protective and hygiene measures

Ever since Germany was hit hard by Corona in the spring of 2020, our senior management team has met daily or weekly to discuss the pandemic status in Germany in order to be able to take the necessary precautions at a moment’s notice for VAUDE.
This has allowed us to successively establish the infection protection measures recommended by the Robert Koch Institute at VAUDE and provide information about them via our intranet or in direct communication with individual departments. We have encouraged all employees who had the opportunity to perform their work from a mobile work location to use this as often as possible. At our corporate headquarters, we made arrangements for those who needed to be present so that minimum distances of at least 1.5 meters could be maintained between each other, provided masks and hand sanitizer. Meetings were held as videoconferences wherever feasible. Last summer when the pandemic was weak, meetings (on issues such as continuing education) were held on-site under strict hygiene precautions.

Occupational reintegration

Managers and employees are trained in risk assessment so that they can recognize early signs of physical or psychological stress at work and take counter measures. 

All employees who have missed more than six weeks of work due to illness in the past 12 months are offered an occupational reintegration program. An open discussion takes place covering any needs the employee has for reintegration into their job and what can be done to avoid future absences. 

Occupational safety

Company medical support is available

An external company physician is regularly available to us on-site as a contact person. In addition to required medical examinations for certain occupational groups, a variety of voluntary preventative services are offered: health protection for travel to regions with special climate-related conditions (n.a. in 2020 due to the Corona pandemic), computer monitor vision assistance, as well as employee vaccinations can all be discussed and treated during working hours.

Nevertheless, if health issues arise, employees, the manager involved, the company physician and the personnel department work together to find constructive solutions and to address the causes and symptoms.

No serious industrial accidents

VAUDE keeps a digital record of accidents. Each injury or accident that occurred during working hours or on the way to work is documented here. These are evaluated annually by the Occupational Safety Committee and measures for prevention are defined.

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GRI:   103
Management approach
GRI:   403-2
Types of injury and rates of injury, occupational diseases, lost days, and absenteeism, and number of work-related fatalities
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