Reporting 2020

Occupational Health and Safety Management

We take responsibility for providing a safe working environment with a focus on accident prevention. Prevention also means we support our employees in staying healthy.

Our employees are crucial to our success – they represent our expertise and fill our values with life. Ensuring they stay safe and healthy is therefore a top priority for us. We assume this responsibility from all perspectives as part of our health management and focus first and foremost on prevention – both when it comes to avoiding accidents and ensuring and promoting our employees’ well-being. In the reporting year, the coronavirus pandemic placed entirely new demands on us and our duty of care in this context.

Systems and responsibilities form the framework

At top management level, our Labor Relations Director is responsible for occupational health and safety. Direct contacts for our employees are the HR department, the central company health management system, the social counseling service, the representatives of persons with disabilities and our company physicians. The latter are deployed at each location by intercompany services, are qualified to perform their duties in accordance with the German Occupational Safety and Health Act (Arbeitsschutzgesetz – ArbSchG) and are made known to the employees. The important area of occupational safety is supported by the centralSafety and Environment department (ZBA_SU): Its staff, who are also qualified in accordance with the ArbSchG, regularly conduct inspections of workplaces and processes to check preventive safety measures and organize training courses. Over and above this, we encourage our staff to share any occupational health and safety concerns and suggestions they may have with us – if they wish, risks can be reported anonymously via an external ombudsman. Conversely, we keep the workforce informed through a variety of channels, including the new app for employees, and regular meetings at operational level. We also involve our employees in the preparation of hazard assessments, because they know the work processes to be evaluated best.

In addition to the BLG LOGISTICS GROUP with the central ZBA_SU department, our company BLG Cargo Logistics is also certified according to the occupational health and safety management system ISO 45001. This ensures that occupational health and safety aspects are integrated even more closely into our processes.

UN goal: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

We are responsible for ensuring a safe work environment. In this context, accident prevention is a central goal. Thoroughly tested work processes, regular risk assessments and improvements based on them help us achieve this goal.

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Processes and knowledge ensure safety

In logistics, physically strenuous manual work is common. Above all in the ports and warehouses, work is intensive, fast and fatiguing. Special precautions must also be taken wherever there are interfaces between people and machines. Regular hazard assessments are a key element of a systematic and effective occupational safety system. They are used to derive concrete operating instructions and induction guidelines that offer our employees orientation and reassurance. As part of this process the staff from the central ZBA_SU department inspect all workplaces, areas and processes as well as all activities, work equipment and hazardous substances. The Occupational Safety Committees at our locations are responsible for bringing newly designed measures to implementation. Each site also has an alarm and hazard prevention plan, which includes procedures in the event of an accident or fire and instructions for first aid.

Reportable work accidents

Number per 1,000 employees

Meldepflichtige Betriebsunfälle, Anzahl pro 1.000 Mitarbeitende

We use the software My Ticket to record and systematically analyze accidents at work or during commutes. In the reporting year, across all German BLG companies there were 382 work accidents requiring reporting, i.e. leading to sick leave of more than three days. In 2019, this figure was 10 percent higher. Accordingly, the 1,000-man rate, which measures the number of reportable work accidents per thousand employees, decreased from 42 to 36. An especially positive trend in accident numbers was reported by the company BLG AutoTransport as well as the industrial logistics business area – each at around 50 percent below the previous year’s figure. Contributing factors here were, among others, more detailed process instructions and manager training courses. Additionally, in the AUTOMOBILE Division management modules on key occupational Health and Safety Managementprocesses are being rolled out, so as to make the assignment of responsibilities even more transparent. However, in the case of all these developments, a link to the short-time work partially introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic cannot be ruled out. For this report, we for the first time included the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), which lies at 32 per 1,000,000 working hours. This provides information on the frequency with which injuries occur at the workplace and thus on the general safety for employees. All accidents that result in at least one day's absence from work are counted.

Our accident figures include not only our own employees, but also those of personnel service providers who work for us. External personnel are trained, instructed and kitted out with personal protective equipment in the same way as our own employees. Guests, suppliers and other persons who have cause to visit our operating sites are informed about the safety regulations.

Responsibility for ensuring the physical well-being of our employees also includes enabling them to move safely in their working environment at all times. To this end, we offer comprehensive training on various topics – including fire prevention and the handling of dangerous goods as well as first responder training. Depending on the topic concerned, these are organized and held by our central ZBA_SU department or by external trainers. Here, for example, we take advantage of the offering of the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the trade and logistics industry.

Occupational safety during the pandemic

Due to our field of activity, we are not one of the companies that can offer mobile working from home to all of their employees. However, wherever this was feasible, we created the appropriate technical prerequisites and procured additional hardware. We conducted meetings online and only took business trips if they were absolutely indispensable. The bigger challenge was without a doubt to create a safe working environment for on-site employees in this exceptional situation. We took action from an early stage, set up a crisis committee with representatives from all divisions and rolled out safety concepts at our locations, which we adapt to the latest requirements as and when needed. Depending on location, in addition to hygiene measures such as hand sanitizer stations, plexiglass screens and temperature measuring devices, these also encompassed the partial redesign of workstations and route concepts aimed at minimizing contact. We have also rearranged the start and end times of shifts in order to avoid employees coming into contact with one another as far as possible. For the same reason, during peak times we have, for example, introduced a third shuttle bus at our Bremen site to transport the employees to their workplace. Masks are mandatory in all operational areas.

The measures of the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs have been implemented at all BLG locations. We keep all employees informed via regular updates and training sessions and also use the intranet and our internal e-mail distribution list to answer frequently asked questions about rules and measures. We are, of course, fully aware that both – although necessary to protect everybody – imply considerable constraints and adaptations on the part of us all.

In the reporting year, the responsible health and regulatory authorities in Bremen, Bremerhaven, Elsdorf and Hörsel conducted audits of our pandemic plan and our hygiene specifications. There were no complaints; on the contrary, our protective measures were praised. There were no general quarantine orders for BLG locations. The responsible authorities judiciously ordered a necessary quarantine for individuals when the criteria of category I – equivalent to an increased risk of infection (according to the risk classification of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)) – were present.

Keeping people fit and healthy

We are committed to helping our employees stay fit and healthy. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictions, numerous sporting events and health days had to be canceled in the reporting year. In place of our popular “Fit & Fun” prevention program, which in normal times encourages our employees to visit the gym, we were able to offer a digital alternative via the qualitrain app, which supports a safe home training regime. Our own in-house staff app additionally provided employees with exercises when working from home, along with recipes for a healthy lifestyle.

UN goal: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

We actively support our employees to stay healthy, with a focus on prevention. Where this is not enough, we offer individual options for reintegration into the workplace.

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Of course, ergonomic workplace design, for example with height-adjustable desks, also contributes to preventive health care. In the operational areas, we use lifting and carrying aids in the warehouses, for example, and are currently testing the use of exoskeletons.

Starting over together

We support our employees with a special reintegration management scheme that eases them back into work after a longer period of absence due to illness. We extend this program to anybody returning to work after sick leave of longer than six weeks within a twelve-month period. In close consultation with them, we develop individual assistance options such as gradual reintegration or medical and occupational rehabilitation programs. Sick-leave talks are intended to clarify whether and to what extent the workplace has impacts on the employee’s health and what we can do to restore and sustain their capacity to work. With these instruments, we aim to promote the long-term health of our employees, thereby reducing absenteeism due to sickness. The work incapacity rate in 2020 increased on the previous year by 0.4 percent to 8.75 percent. At the same time, the rate of continued pay during sick leave remained unchanged at 6.3 percent.

Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

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