REWE Group Sustainability Report 2017

Occupational Health
and Safety Management

GRI 403: Occupational Health and SafetyManagement Approach

In summer 2017, from an organisational aspect, the Occupational Health and Safety Management units were split into the HR Services Occupational Health and Safety and the Centre of Expertise (CoE) Health & Innovation. In addition to classic occupational health and safety, the CoE Health & Innovation, responsible for health management, is consistently involved for the employees of REWE Group. One important goal is to promote employees’ health in the long term and increase the health quota. To reach this goal, REWE Group has extended various health-promotion measures and launched new ones. The CoE Health & Innovation also develops and coordinates concepts within the scope of company health promotion and offers the strategic business units and their employees numerous programmes, such as health screening, Fit.Netz (movement and relaxation courses) and the LoS! project (life phase-oriented self-help skills). The CoE Health & Innovation is also involved in various regional and national projects. For more health-related measures, see GRI 403-3.

Company health promotion is also integrated in the sustainability strategy of REWE International AG. It is based on three pillars: physical, social and mental wellbeing. Based on pilot projects in the branches, a programme for employees in the headquarters of the trade companies has also existed since 2010. This includes individual fitness units, advice on ergonomics at the workplace and presentations to raise awareness for health topics. In the branches, medical check-ups are supported with paid time off work to attend the check-up. Training sessions showing how to lift and carry loads properly and ergonomic orthopaedic shoes are also offered.

Uniform occupational health care is provided by a service provider for the sales lines of REWE Group (REWE, PENNY, toom Baumarkt DIY stores and DER Touristik). The service provider is coordinated nationally by the CoE Health & Innovation and in agreement with the heads of the business units and occupational safety experts in a needs-based manner that corresponds to strategic objectives.

In the HR Services Occupational Health and Safety, the full-time occupational safety experts were aggregated in a single organisational unit where they especially look after the companies in Retail Germany as internal service providers in accordance with statutory requirements. The six regional teams and their team leaders are coordinated nationally by the lead expert for occupational safety.

In compliance with governmental and employers’ liability insurance association regulations, work sites are regularly inspected, systematic analysis of accidents is conducted, evaluations of occupational safety reports by government officials (including district governments, trade supervisory centres, the German Occupational Health and Safety Agency and an employers’ liability insurance association) are performed and regular meetings of the Occupational Safety Committee are held. Another key goal is to increase employees’ awareness levels about occupational safety as well as health-enhancing working conditions and processes. As part of a continuous development process, focal points are regularly reviewed and expanded. One of the focal points is to develop “technically modern” and efficient risk assessment. The goal is to create a system that can be used to identify and evaluate risk areas and to develop recommendations for suitable implementation measures. Risk assessment is based on systematic store inspections using electronic measurement of risks. The “Online Risk Assessment” system of the employers’ liability insurance association Berufsgenossenschaft Handel und Warendistribution (BGHW) was introduced with the assistance of experts in occupational health and safety. This system was designed in particular for PENNY, toom Baumarkt DIY stores and REWE Digital (as well as the logistics locations of these companies). With the help of tablet computers or store PCs, an electronic checklist of relevant factors is accessed in the process and evaluated in terms of potential risks.

In addition, employee surveys and checklists that are documented in IT systems to the greatest extent possible are used during physical risk assessments. This process also uses employee-focused instruments like worker forums, (health) committees, work-situation analysis and other facilitated workshop processes. To serve as a fundamental instrument for training in REWE and PENNY stores, an e-learning programme on the topic of occupational health and safety was rolled out in all stores in 2012 and is attended by employees and managers. Annual reviews are held to ensure that employees remember what they learned. Special topics, particularly local conditions and the operation and use of machines and devices, are discussed by managers with users. PENNY also trains fire safety and evacuation assistants in its stores. In every store, one to two employees and the store manager complete the e-learning course. They also receive regular practical training.

In 2014 and 2015, PENNY developed an interactive programme (Azupoly) for use during initial training activities for trainees. The playful approach to conveying information in terms of an “instructional briefing” is designed to provide young people with comprehensible and practical knowledge about the topics of occupational health and safety promotion. In 2015, Azupoly was presented with the Prevention Award by the employers’ liability insurance association. Since then, the programme has become an annual standard programme that all PENNY trainees complete when they join the company; in the meantime, it has also been transferred to other companies.

GRI 403-2: Types of injury and rates of injury, occupational diseases, lost days, and absenteeism, and number of work-related fatalities

Injuries, Occupational Diseases, Lost Days, and Fatalities

The accident statistics tracked by REWE Group cover occupational accidents and the lost work days caused by them. They also facilitate an evaluation by gender and work area. Like the statistics of the employers’ liability insurance association, the figures represent reportable accidents per 1,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs).

In 2017, the rate increased to 44.4 accidents per 1,000 FTEs compared to 2016, but is still 2.3 accidents per 1,000 FTEs lower than in 2015. Unfortunately, occupational and commuting accidents increased during the reporting period; however, fortunately, no fatal accidents were reported. Sick leave at REWE Group rose once again during the reporting period. The total was 6.4 per cent in 2017 (2016: 6.3 per cent; 2015: 6.1 per cent). Paid sick leave was 4.3 per cent during the reporting period, a minimal rise since 2016 (2016: 4.2 per cent; 2015: 4.1 per cent).

REWE Group has increasingly focused on the health report covering all types of health insurance schemes since its introduction in 2008 and discusses it regularly in various committees. The health report covers cases of work incapacity in REWE Group reported to major health insurance providers. Data about occupational illnesses are not documented. However, experience has shown that only a small number of recognised occupational diseases are found at REWE Group.

As for the entire retail business, robberies remain an issue at REWE Group. The affected employees can suffer physical and psychological damage as a result of such incidents, causing them to miss work for a significant period of time. Acute intervention following traumatic events can provide major assistance. In 2017, 155 employees in Germany and Austria were affected by robberies, 37 fewer than in the previous year. Use of acute intervention, a process that provides professional psychological support following a traumatic event, rose above 60 per cent at REWE and PENNY during the reporting period as a result of increased educational campaigns and process optimisation (the total throughout the area covered by the employers’ liability insurance association BGHW was about 20 per cent).

REWE Group service providers are generally independent, decentralised contract partners. As a result, data about accident rates, sick days and fatalities involving external service providers are currently not collected.

Accidents, robberies and fatalities

Total (scope of application of the sustainability report) Germany Austria
Type Gender  2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017
Accidents 1,000 FTE* Female 47.3 43.2 43.5 59.5 54.7 55.8 18.5 16.1 13.9
Male 53.8 51.3 53.9 60.4 56.7 61.0 30.1 31.9 28.1
Result 49.7 46.2 47.4 59.9 55.5 57.9 22.0 20.9 18.2
Number of employees injured in accidents (occupational and commuting) Female 3,552 3,271 3,379 3,140 2,907 3,062 412 364 317
Male 2,334 2,295 2,515 2,048 1,982 2,235 286 313 280
Result 5,886 5,566 5,895 5,188 4,889 5,297 698 677 598
Number of employees injured in accidents (occupational accidents) Female 2,663 2,458 2,571 2,663 2,458 2,571 - - -
Male 1,813 1,774 1,961 1,813 1,774 1,961 - - -
Result 4,476 4,232 4,532 4,476 4,232 4,532 - - -
Number of employees injured in accidents (commuting accidents) Female 477 449 491 477 449 491 - - -
Male 235 208 274 235 208 274 - - -
Result 712 657 765 712 657 765 - - -
Employees who experienced robberies Female 116 114 104 116 114 104 - - -
Male 57 56 39 57 56 39 - - -
Result 189 192 155 173 170 143 16 22 12
Fatal accidents Female 1 1 - 1 1 - - - -
Male 2 2 - 2 1 - - 1 -
Result 3 3 - 3 2 - - 1 -

Austrian law does not require a distinction to be made between occupational and commuting accidents. For this reason, this distinction is not available in the systems and cannot be evaluated. Only the total number of accidents (both occupational and commuting accidents) are reported for Austria. As a result, the figures for Austria are not included in the total for the scope of the sustainability report in the columns “Occupational accidents” and “Commuting accidents”.

* FTE = full-time equivalent

Excluding EHA Austria, Mayflor, Commercetools and Zoo Royal.

Total number of missed workdays due to accidents

Total number of missed workdays due to accidents 2015 2016 2017
Total (scope of application of the sustainability report  Female 65,916 67,658 68,068
Male 39,841 37,711 42,632
Result 105,757 105,369 110,719
Germany Female 60,285 62,202 64,017
Male 35,576 33,481 37,678
Result 95,861 95,683 101,694
Austria Female 5,631 5,456 4,051
Male 4,265 4,230 4,954
Result 9,896 9,686 9,025

Excluding EHA Austria, Mayflor, Commercetools and Zoo Royal. Due to rounding, there may be deviations in totals.

Sick days

2015 2016 2017
Total number of sick days Total number of sick days Total number of sick days
Region Gender % % %
Total (scope of application of the sustainability report)  Female 6.5 6.8 6.9
Male 5.5 5.5 5.6
Result 6.1 6.3 6.4
Germany Female 7.3 7.8 7.9
Male 6.0 6.1 6.1
Result 6.8 7.1 7.1
Austria Female 4.6 4.6 4.8
Male 3.8 3.9 4.2
Result 4.4 4.4 4.6

GRI 403-3: Workers with high incidence or high risk of diseases related to their occupation

There is no indication that employees have a high illness rate or health risks as a result of their jobs.

To encourage health-conscious behaviour among the company’s employees, various projects are carried out. For example, the prevention courses offered by Fit.Netz, the company’s occupational health management in Cologne, enjoyed high levels of participation: In 2015, 2016 and 2017, a total of about 4,000 course slots were filled. The issue of workplace ergonomics plays a major role in the company’s stores and logistics operations. The repetitive movements that employees perform in these areas as well incorrect ways of lifting, carrying and standing frequently result in pain and missed days at work. For this reason, the ergonomics training courses “Lifting and carrying” and “Cash register” were conducted in many regions during the reporting period with the aim of promoting the proper arrangement and design of workstations. Special days promoting back health were held as well. On a regional level, in the sales lines many different preventive offerings are available, such as personal consultations at all administration locations, health days, fitness checks, skin screening, flu vaccinations, nutrition courses, courses to help people stop smoking, massage at the workplace, individual courses and workshops, and online coaching courses in collaboration with DAK Gesundheit. The project “Voll im Leben – Kenn Dein Limit” (Living Life to Its Fullest – Know Your Limit) aims its addiction prevention activities directly at adolescents and young employees in the full-range region Southwest. It was conducted in 2013 for the first time with about 350 trainees and was honoured as a “project with role model character” by the employers’ liability insurance association BGHW. As a result of the strong response among young employees, “Voll im Leben – Kenn Dein Limit” became a permanent part of training at REWE Southwest in 2014.

Other examples of health promotion programmes include the following:

  • Gyms are being set up successively in the logistics warehouses in the South region.
  • Training courses on “handling stress”, “progressive muscle relaxation” and “healthy management” were carried out for employees and managers in the West region.
  • In addition, the “Tour de REWE” was organised once more in the North/Lehrte region. In this programme, the REWE Health Vehicle visited various stores and offered check-up and information modules, such as cardiovascular and vein scans for employees.
  • Since 2017, in PENNY LIVE (in-store radio) the “Gesundschreiber” is played twice per week before the stores open. In this, experts and doctors give tips on how to improve health, etc.

In 2016, toom Baumarkt DIY stores decentralised health promotion. As part of this effort, local addiction counselling provided by trained experts was offered in all regions, and meeting hours for personal consultation were introduced at the administrative office of the headquarters. In addition, the health-promotion programmes include seminars on “healthy management”, health days at some logistics locations and health olympics at some DIY stores.

In health promotion activities, dealing with stress and mental strain plays an important role. Mental strain can sometimes have a devastating effect on people’s employability, motivation and job performance. For this reason, REWE Group worked with the Institute for Health Promotion in 2011 to develop a project called “LoS! – Lebensphasenorientierte Selbsthilfekompetenz” (Life Phase-Oriented Self-Help Skills). From 2013 to 2017, initial advisers on a coworker-level were trained during ten multiplier courses. As a result, the company now has 140 LoS! programme advisers as points of contact for employees going through difficult phases in their lives. New aids are regularly developed to assist the voluntary advisers.

The activities of the company health-promotion programmes in REWE headquarters companies in Austria focus on the biopsychosocial health of employees and managers. They are broken down into the categories of workplace ergonomics, nutrition, psyche/relaxation, sports/exercise, prevention and work-schedule flexibility. In this context, one focus of REWE International AG is to raise employees’ awareness for physical and mental health factors. Measures include the management academy, which is mandatory throughout the Group, with one module focussing on “healthy management” and the BILLA Burnout Prevention Curriculum. Managers also have the option of individual coaching, while employees have the option of work psychology coaching.

For its high level of commitment in the area of health promotion, REWE International AG (Austria) received the “company health promotion” seal of approval for the third time.

Company integration management assists employees who return to work after long health-related absences. It focuses on legal regulations and takes account of company conditions like location and employee structures. Furthermore, all employees in the Region South can use the rehabilitation network Netzwerk Reha REWE, a partnership project organised by REWE, the German State Pension Agency Bavaria South, Swabia and Northern Bavaria as well as a number of rehabilitation hospitals. The network enables employees to receive systematic, high-quality and work-related rehabilitation.

In 2017, company integration management (part-time reintegration) was also introduced in Austrian law. REWE Austria promotes this model, which several employees have already taken advantage of.

More topics:

GRI 401


GRI 402

Labor/Management Relations

GRI 404

Education and Training Programmes

GRI 405

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

GRI 406