An external expert for occupational safety and a company physician advise and support VAUDE in the design, implementation and review of all aspects of fire protection, occupational safety and occupational health aspects.
We have safety officers in all areas of the company – 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. Furthermore, in addition to joint inspections of their areas, they spend at least four hours a year in intensive exchange with the occupational safety specialist. Regular inspections in all parts of the company check whether all regulations are being complied with and whether risks exist.
The safety officers also participate in regular inspections throughout the company to monitor adherence to regulations and assess risks. Of course, employees also have the option of contacting our external or internal experts directly and anonymously if they see a need for action in the area of occupational safety.
Our company physician is regularly available as a contact person. In addition to the mandatory examinations for certain occupational groups, she offers various voluntary preventive measures including health protection when traveling to regions with special climatic conditions, visual aids for computer monitors and vaccinations; employees can seek preventive advice during working hours. In 2022, our company physician conducted about 80 hours of preventive medical checkups and consultations.
If health impairments nevertheless occur, a constructive solution is found together with the employees, the respective manager, the company physician and the HR department to tackle the causes and symptoms.
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 the Manufaktur, the Occupational Health Management Coordinator and the company physician.
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 2020, we also conducted a comprehensive 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. On this basis, and of course on the basis of current observations and feedback from the company, we have been working on the implementation of important measures to reduce mental stress in the areas identified.
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.
Our sickness rate averaged 5.4% in 2022 (calculation: total sick days in 12 months / [average number of employees in 12 months] * total working days in 12 months). Compared to 2021 (4.3%), it has increased slightly, which we mainly attribute to the fact that in 2021 strict Corona protection measures still prevented a large part of all possible infections in many areas of life. This development largely coincides with statistics from the statutory health insurance funds on the group of German employees nationwide (cf. e.g. the article "Sickness rate in the statutory health insurance", statista.com – in german).
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.