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Icon: Two hands protecting three people

Our staff should be able to work in a healthy environment, and the work itself should not impact adversely on their wellbeing. That is why GIZ fosters the health of its workforce and guarantees a safe workplace.

Medical Services and the Occupational Health and Safety Team are two of the units responsible for this. Because of GIZ’s worldwide presence, some employees face particular risks, for instance if they work in crisis-affected regions. GIZ offers maximum protection, even in fragile contexts.

Occupational health and safety

Companies in Germany are required to guarantee occupational health and safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (ArbSchG) and the Act on Occupational Physicians, Safety Engineers and Other Occupational Safety Specialists (ASiG) regulate this obligation. Along with Medical Services, it is therefore the duty of GIZ’s Occupational Health and Safety Team to advise and support the employer, staff and managers on all aspects of occupational health and safety. The most important issues are fire protection, accident prevention, ergonomics and decent working conditions.

Additional legal provisions are based on this legislation, including:

  • Providing support in drafting strategies (e.g. hygiene strategies)
  • Providing support and advice on relocations, new rentals and new buildings (e.g. the construction of the Eschborn Campus)
  • Providing support and advice on procurement (e.g. air filters)
  • Providing support in conducting hazard assessments inside and outside Germany
  • Conducting inspections at locations inside and outside Germany
  • Holding meetings of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee (ASA)
  • Engaging in dialogue with Medical Services and Corporate Health Management (CHM)
  • Holding fire drills, organising training courses (including in the form of e-learning)
  • Engaging in dialogue with the accident insurance provider Unfallversicherung Bund und Bahn and acting as the contact for them
  • Monitoring premise clearance volunteers (evacuation helpers and floor officers) across Germany
  • Reporting to the Management Board
  • Providing support for the EMAS audit (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme)

Special factors outside Germany

GIZ has operations worldwide, so occupational health and safety experts not only advise GIZ at its German locations, but are available as contacts to all staff working in the field structure.

Since German occupational health and safety legislation does not apply outside the country, although field staff with a German employment contract are covered by the Unfallversicherung Bund und Bahn accident insurance policy, GIZ has come to a special agreement with the insurer. Under the agreement, GIZ also implements the guidelines set out in ArbSchG outside Germany, as far as this is possible. The accident insurance also covers accidents at work abroad provided the staff member involved has a German employment contract.

To support the field structure on matters relating to occupational health and safety, experts in this area visit the relevant country offices along with representatives of GIZ Medical Services as required. They carry out inspections and draw up hazard assessments. In this, Medical Services cooperates closely with the company’s psychosocial counselling unit (COPE), Corporate Security, the Construction Division and the Occupational Health and Safety Team so that a joint checklist can be used during a field visit and information shared.

It is not always necessary for the occupational health and safety experts to visit the partner country. They can use available papers, reports and other relevant documents. For instance, the Occupational Health and Safety Team advises the Construction Division on fire prevention, accident prevention and decent workplaces when new rentals, renovation work or removals are planned outside Germany.

Special factors during the COVID-19 pandemic

The pandemic also poses significant challenges for occupational health and safety. Those responsible are therefore involved in decision-making processes and measures relating to the pandemic, including the production and detailing of hygiene strategies to ensure compliance with all legal provisions of the federal and state governments. These strategies must be regularly updated and brought into line with the changing situation. The Occupational Health and Safety Team also supports those responsible within the individual GIZ properties to help them implement all current requirements. Against the backdrop of the hygiene provisions, advice is needed above all on issues such as air filters and how to redesign workplaces and allocate staff to workstations.

Information on the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be found on this page:

Graphic: GIZ: SDG 3 Good health and well-being

Information on the following sustainability standards can be found on this page:
GRI standard 403; UNGC 1, 2, 4; The Code 14