Promoting Health and Safety
Vonovia uses its professional health and safety management policy to minimize potential hazards and promote a working atmosphere in order to effectively protect all employees from health risks in the workplace. We also focus on the well-being of our older employees as the shortage of qualified staff means it is becoming more and more important to ensure they remain productive. We systematically design working processes and structures that are conducive to good health as part of our corporate approach to health management. This includes a broad range of fitness and preventive health care programs.
Internal coordinators for occupational health and safety meet four times a year. These meetings are run by the company representative. Additional meetings can also be arranged on an ad hoc basis. In line with our Group policies, the Management Board is informed once a year about occupational health and safety measures and the accident figures for the previous year. Our Group Occupational Health and Safety Guideline has now been translated into English and will also be introduced in Sweden as soon as a coordinator is available.
All other measures and activities are based on risk assessments, which were updated during the year under review. Risk assessments, regular inspections and training for employees ensure that we have an effective occupational health and safety system across the Group. These measures, as well as the provision of role-specific personal protective equipment, prevent accidents and contribute to keeping our employees healthy. A range of mandatory and voluntary medical examinations are available from company physicians. Flu vaccinations, colorectal cancer examinations and advice on ergonomics in the workplace are also made available in partnership with certified external service providers. These have been extremely popular with our employees.
External safety coordinators are responsible for ensuring that our construction sites are safe to work on. We are committed to making sure that site regulations are complied with. Team meetings are held to discuss safety on construction sites. This topic is also covered as part of our TEOX training module. Our sites also meet the training quotas of the DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance) for first aiders and fire safety personnel. Additional training is provided by external providers in certain areas. Fire safety officers in the Central Technology department provide the Vonovia Technical Service with support when required. We believe that an effective approach to occupational safety involves providing appropriate personal protective equipment, running relevant safety training courses and using documented instructions to operate equipment and machinery, all with the ultimate aim of preventing accidents and illness. The purpose of everything that we do in this area is to reduce accidents, with a particular focus on keeping the number of work-related fatalities at zero.
We make continuous adjustments to our safety measures and communicated these to employees throughout the Group in 2021 to reflect changes in official COVID-19 safety requirements. Thanks to our efforts, the regional administration found no issues with our approach despite a number of unannounced official inspections. In addition to digital health and safety measures, we also run a number of in-person schemes. These included a number of coronavirus testing facilities, as well as vaccination and booster shot drives to keep our employees as safe as possible. We also continued to provide masks and disinfectant at all of our premises and made sure that access to buildings and workplaces was controlled. The pandemic was an enormous challenge for some areas, particularly our craftsmen’s organization. Despite this, over 80% of employees across the Group said that they were very satisfied with how we have managed the pandemic.
We will continue to use a hybrid model to make employees aware of the importance of keeping themselves healthy. We provided employees with information about stress, relaxation and mindfulness, managing the psychological challenges of working at home and information about mobile working. We also provided employees with guidance about how to best set up their workspace at home. All of our measures are based on the foundation that our employees are responsible for their own health. We provide them with information about what they should do, such as using disinfectant and wearing a face mask.
We also made progress in the area of preventive health management. Under a Group works council agreement in Germany, we launched a bicycle leasing program for our employees on June 1, 2021. This program was implemented in direct response to the findings of the most recent employee survey. We received 190 orders for bicycles as soon as the scheme opened. We are also expanding our range of fitness partnerships, in addition to providing more and more information and support related to health issues. Our Intranet site now includes information about pregnancy, working for caregivers and nutrition, as well as videos to provide our employees with guidance about economics and mobile working. Our employees also have access to psychosocial counseling as part of the Employee Assistance Program.