Reporting 2021

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.

The people who work for and with us play a decisive role in our shared day-to-day success. They give our expertise a face, contribute their ideas and collectively fill our values with life. Ensuring they stay safe and healthy is therefore our top priority. We fulfill this responsibility primarily by focusing on prevention – both when it comes to avoiding accidents at the workplace and ensuring that our employees stay fit and healthy. In its second year, the coronavirus pandemic continued to present us with unique challenges, which we are meeting with combined forces.

Systems and responsibilities as benchmarks

At Board of Management level, our Labor Relations Director is responsible for occupational health and safety. Our employees can address their questions and concerns to various points of contact within the company: the HR department, the central company health management system, the social counseling service and the representative body for persons with disabilities. In addition, a company physician is deployed by intercompany services at each of our locations, who is qualified pursuant to the legal requirements and is made known to all employees.

In a company like ours, occupational safety is of central importance. The central Safety and Environment department (PSU) provides valuable support here with regular facility inspections, assessing workplaces and processes from the perspective of prevention, and appropriate training. Its staff have the requisite qualifications in line with statutory guidelines. Feedback from our employees is crucial to this, because they are on the job every day, performing the activities and implementing the processes. That’s why we not only involve them in risk assessments, but also encourage them to actively share concerns and suggestions regarding occupational safety with us – anonymously via an external ombudsman if they wish. It is just as important that we regularly and comprehensively inform our employees about occupational safety measures and any changes. To this end, in addition to meetings at operational level, we are increasingly making use of our employee app.

To address this issue across the board and operationalize it even more strongly, we formulated an occupational health and safety policy in the reporting year, which is supplemented by concrete guidelines on numerous related aspects. After being signed off by the Board of Management, it came into force on January 1, 2022. The sites can also consult process descriptions as required. After certification of the BLG LOGISTICS GROUP with its central PSU department and our company BLG Cargo Logistics in accordance with the ISO 45001 occupational health and safety management system and successful completion of a surveillance audit in 2021, Kelheim is now the third location to undergo the certification process. This ensures that safety- and health-related aspects are even more firmly anchored in our processes, whereby occupational safety standards defined for all German BLG locations in the reporting year will make it even easier for us in the future to transfer our existing systems to certification. This will allow us to extend the process to other locations as well.

Tested processes and knowledge transfer ensure safety

Logistics is characterized by physically demanding manual work, and this is particularly true of activities in the port and in warehouses. Wherever, as here, there are interfaces between people and machines, special safety precautions must also be taken. Hazard assessments and regular effectiveness checks are therefore cornerstones of an effective occupational safety system. The hazard assessments are used to derive concrete operating instructions and induction guidelines that provide orientation for our employees in their daily work. Each location also has its own Occupational Safety Committee, which is responsible for implementing newly adopted measures on site. 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

Reportable work accidents

The My Ticket software is currently used to record and analyze accidents at work or during commutes. Across all German BLG companies in 2021, there were 385 work accidents requiring reporting, i.e. leading to sick leave of more than three days. This is a minimal increase over the previous year, for which we were unable to identify a universal cause despite a thorough review of each individual case. Accordingly, the 1,000-man rate – the number of reportable work accidents per thousand employees – also increased from 36 to 37. The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), which measures the frequency of injuries at the workplace, was 35 per 1,000,000 working hours and thus likewise slightly above the previous year’s figure. All accidents that result in at least one day’s absence from work are counted. In addition to our own employees, our accident statistics include those who are employed by and work for us through personnel service providers. They are trained, instructed and kitted out with personal protective equipment in the same way as our own employees. The safety regulations are also communicated to guests, suppliers and other persons who have cause to visit our locations. Through comprehensive training on various topics including fire prevention or dangerous goods handling, we continue to create the prerequisites for our employees to be able to move safely at their workplace and in the surrounding environment at all times. The training is generally provided by external instructors, for example from the Berufsgenossenschaft Handel und Warenlogistik (German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the trade and logistics industry); depending on the topic concerned supported by our central PSU department.

In the reporting year, we introduced new software to map our hazardous substances register, which provides us with a filterable and sortable overview of all hazardous substances. This is used to manage important detailed information as well as provide hazard assessments and operating instructions. This ensures legal compliance.

We see it as our central responsibility to make a positive contribution to the health of our employees. Just one of many measures: Our health day on the topic of diabetes with sound educational and screening offers.

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Protection measures during the pandemic

In the second year of the pandemic, despite the restrictions that remain, many things for us and our employees have meanwhile become routine. Our safety concepts, which range from physical protection measures to route concepts and staggered working hours, have proven effective or have been further optimized. This is all the more important as the nature of many of our activities means that we are not able to offer our employees the possibility of working from home on a broad scale. Wherever conditions allow, we continue to rely on flexible solutions, digital meetings and mobile working in accordance with statutory regulations. Since the spring, a works agreement has also governed the framework conditions under which mobile working is permitted. In the administrative departments, more than half of the employees regularly make use of this option. In the reporting year, our central crisis committee again kept a daily eye on the situation and initiated measures whenever necessary in compliance with the relevant national regulations. In addition, keeping our employees regularly informed remains an important lever for prevention. For example, manuals and leaflets were distributed at the sites covering topics such as testing, proper hand washing, use of public transportation, elevators and cafeterias, as well as contact tracing. The wearing of face masks is still mandatory in all operational areas, and in accordance with legal requirements we are continuing to enforce the 3G rule (vaccinated, recovered or tested) at the workplace – for as long as is necessary – with the help of access controls and our own testing strategy. Thanks to all these measures and a concerted effort on the part of all concerned, we have succeeded in keeping the virus at bay despite isolated infections.

We are particularly pleased that we have been able to offer our employees vaccinations against the coronavirus since mid-2021, thus contributing to their safety and to the nationwide vaccination campaign. Initially, employees at the Bremen and Bremerhaven sites were able to make appointments for their first and second vaccinations in the summer and fall at the vaccination centers there. This offer will be extended again in 2022: Together with other companies in the port industry and the AMD Hanse occupational health service, we have set up our own vaccination clinics in Bremen, Bremerhaven and Hamburg. Here, in addition to the administration of first and second doses, employees can get their additional booster jabs. The offer is available to all employees free of charge and without long waiting times. Vaccination campaigns were also conducted at other German sites such as Emmerich and Geiselwind in the reporting year.

Fit and healthy through exercise

We are committed to helping our employees stay fit and healthy over the long term. To this end, following an enforced interruption due to COVID-19, we again held health days at our sites in the reporting year, for example on the important topic of diabetes. The popularity of our “Fit & Fun” preventive health program remains high among our employees. Since spring 2020, employees have also been able to follow a safe home training regime using the qualitrain app. Take-up of this offer was so good that we decided to retain it in the reporting year. The number of partner sports studios continues to grow steadily – so in addition to yoga studios, they now also include bouldering halls, swimming pools and saunas. In the final quarter of 2021, 1,270 employees participated and took steps to stay healthy.

Ergonomic workplace design, for example with height-adjustable desks and work tables, also contributes to prevention. The use of lifting and carrying aids such as exoskeletons has not yet proved viable in our operational areas. In 2022, we will therefore launch the new Mexot project for intelligent work ergonomics.

Reintegration for a good return to work

We want to maintain our employees’ capacity for work and therefore support those who have been absent from work for more than six weeks within a 12-month period through our company reintegration management system. In close dialog with them, we design concepts to ease them back into work, for example gradually or accompanied by medical and occupational rehabilitation programs. Sick-leave talks are intended to provide us with information on whether and to what extent the workplace impacts on employees’ health and what we can do to mitigate this. 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 2021 increased again slightly on the previous year by 0.24 percent points to 8.99 percent. The rate of continued pay during sick leave fell minimally from 6.28 to 6.25 percent.

Our company social counseling service offers professional support to employees, including managers and officers, with personal issues or questions relating to their professional role. In the year under review, 2.4 percent of employees in our area of responsibility took advantage of this service.

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