REWE Group Sustainability Report 2018

Occupational Safety
and Health Management

Safe jobs and the promotion of every employee’s good health are top priorities at any company. This work includes avoiding work accidents and promoting preventive health measures, in order to prevent large numbers of lost days and protect employees. To facilitate safety and good health as effectively as possible, these aspects must be well integrated into company structures.

To permanently integrate sustainability into its company processes, REWE Group has developed an all-encompassing sustainability strategy that is made up of four main pillars: Green Products; Energy, Climate and the Environment; Employees; and Social Involvement. Five areas of action have been defined for the pillar Employees: values and culture; training and professional growth; health and safety; job and phases of life; and diversity and equal opportunity. With its activities in the area of action health and safety, REWE Group has set the goal of facilitating occupational safety and maintaining and promoting the health of employees.

GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety

Management Approach

REWE Group takes special care to ensure that all valid laws and standards related to occupational health and safety are followed. It also provides a safe, hygienic work environment. As part of this effort, the retail company analyses and monitors relevant work processes for potential health and safety risks and takes steps to reduce them.

Health Management
In addition to classic occupational health and safety, the Centre of Expertise (CoE) Health & Innovation is responsible for health management at REWE Group, working constantly on behalf of the company’s employees. One important goal is to promote employees’ health over the long term and to increase the health quota. To achieve this goal, the CoE Health & Innovation develops and coordinates concepts, projects and opportunities for individual sales lines and their employees. This work includes preventive health screenings, Fit.Netz activities (exercise and relaxation courses) and an initiative called LoS! – Lebensphasenorientierte Selbsthilfekompetenz (Life Phase-Oriented Self-Help Skills).

Uniform occupational health care is offered by a single cross-company service provider for the sales lines 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.

The health-promotion programmes of REWE International AG are based on three areas: physical, social and mental well-being. Based on pilot projects in the branches, a programme for employees in the headquarters of the trade companies has also existed since 2010. The activities of company health-promotion programmes focus on the biopsychosocial health of employees and managers. They are broken down into the categories 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 of physical and mental health factors.

Occupational Health and Safety
The HR services occupational health and safety have combined experts in occupational safety into a single organisational unit. Acting as internal service providers and in accordance with legal requirements, they provide support in particular to the companies of Retail Germany, toom Baumarkt DIY stores, retail and warehouse services and REWE Digital Fulfilment Services. The six regional and holistically supporting 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 employers’ liability insurance associations) are performed, regular coordination meetings with managers in sales or the construction department, etc. are conducted and meetings of the Occupational Safety Committee are held. Another key goal is to increase managers’ and employees’ awareness levels about occupational safety as well as health-enhancing working conditions and processes. As part of a continuous development process, possible areas of action are presented, and focal points are regularly reviewed and enhanced in a coordinated process.

Systematically Tracking and Evaluating Risks

One success factor in the systematic monitoring and evaluation of risks is efficient risk assessment. This work involves a system that helps to record and evaluate risks as well as to develop solutions. The electronic tracking of risks helps occupational safety officers during the systematic store inspections that they conduct. A system called “Online Risk Assessment” of the employers’ liability insurance association Berufsgenossenschaft Handel und Warendistribution (BGHW) has been introduced nationally in particularly at PENNY, toom Baumarkt DYI stores and REWE Digital Fulfilment Services (as well as the logistics locations that are part of them): With the help of a tablet, laptop or a PC in the store, an electronic checklist that contains relevant issues is opened and appropriate measures are developed.

In addition, employee surveys and checklists, that are documented in IT systems to the greatest extent possible, are used during psychic risk assessments. This process also uses employee-focused instruments for different target groups, like employee forums, (health) committees, work-situation analysis and other facilitated workshop processes.

To serve as a fundamental instrument for training in REWE and PENNY stores, e-learning programmes on the topic of occupational health and safety have been used at all stores since 2012. They are attended by employees and managers (with an additional module on responsibility). 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 regularly by managers with users on site. The interactive training document “Azupoly” teaches the required information in an entertaining manner to trainees at PENNY. In 2015, Azupoly was presented with the Prevention Award by the employers’ liability insurance association Berufsgenossenschaft Handel und Warendistribution (BGHW). Since then, the programme has become a standard training course conducted annually. It has also been introduced nationally in other sales lines, including REWE and toom Baumarkt DYI stores.

Legally required fire safety and evacuation assistants as well as first-aid providers are trained in all stores. The training programme for fire safety assistants has been conducted as a specific e-learning course (PENNY) and as a classroom course (REWE). Both sales lines have enhanced it with practical instruction like fire extinguishing drills. First-aid training is offered by certified providers.

REWE International AG conducts legally mandated occupational safety training and regularly inspects its locations of operations. In addition, safety training for cars and lorries is continuously conducted. Every employee who receives a new company car must attend a driver safety course.

GRI 403-2:

Types of injury and rates of injury, occupational diseases, lost days, and absenteeism, and number of work-related 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 involve reportable accidents per 1,000 full time equivalents (FTEs).

In 2018, compared with 2017, the rate increased to 46.1 accidents per 1,000 FTEs but remained under the goal of 48 accidents per 1,000 FTEs.

KPI Target Status
Accidents per 1,000 full-time equivalents To maintain or improve the level of 48 accidents per 1,000 FTEs through 2022 46.1

Unfortunately, the number of occupational and commuting accidents rose during the reporting period. The accidents were fatal in five cases. Sick leave at REWE Group rose slightly during the reporting period. The total was 6.7 per cent in 2018 (2017: 6.4 per cent). Paid sick leave was 4.5 per cent during the reporting period, a slight rise since 2017 (4.2 per cent).

REWE Group has regularly 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.

Robberies remain an issue at REWE Group, just as they do for the entire retail industry. The affected employees can suffer physical and psychological harm as a result of such incidents, causing them to miss work for a significant amount of time. Acute intervention following traumatic events – that is, professional psychological counselling – is systematically provided at REWE Group.
In 2018, 180 employees in Germany and Austria were the victims of robberies, 15 more than in the previous year.

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 2016 2017 2018 2016 2017 2018 2016 2017 2018
Accidents per 1,000 FTEs* Female 40.1 40.7 44.5 47.5 48.7 52.2 16.1 13.9 18.6
Male 47.1 49.5 49.0 50.6 54.2 53.3 31.9 28.1 28.9
Total 42.6 43.8 46.1 48.6 50.7 52.6 20.9 18.2 21.7
Number of employees injured in accidents (occupational and commuting) Female 3,820 4,035 4,549 3,456 3,718 4,114 364 317 435
Male 2,488 2,751 2,863 2,175 2,471 2,570 313 280 293
Total 6,308 6,786 7,412 5,631 6,189 6,684 677 597 728
Number of employees injured in accidents (occupational accidents) Female 2,926 3,137 3,475 2,926 3,137 3,475 - - -
Male 1,938 2,166 2,244 1,938 2,166 2,244 - - -
Total 4,864 5,303 5,719 4,864 5,303 5,719 - - -
Number of employees injured in accidents (commuting accidents) Female 530 581 639 530 581 639 - - -
Male 237 305 326 237 305 326 - - -
Total 767 886 965 767 886 965 - - -
Employees who experienced robberies Female 119 108 104 119 108 104 - - -
Male 60 45 65 60 45 65 - - -
Total 201 165 180 179 153 169 22 12 11
Fatal accidents Female 1 1 4 1 1 4 - - -
Male 2 - 1 1 - 1 1 - -
Total 3 1 5 2 1 5 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) is 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

Gender 2016 2017 2018
Total (scope of application of the sustainability report) Female 85,270 89,237 99,789
Male 42,969 50,475 54,473
Total 128,239 139,711 154,262
Germany Female 79,814 85,186 93,559
Male 38,739 45,521 50,155
Total 118,553 130,706 143,714
Austria Female 5,456 4,051 6,230
Male 4,230 4,954 4,318
Total 9,686 9,025 10,548

Excluding EHA Austria, Mayflor, Commercetools and Zoo Royal. Deviations in totals may occur due to rounding.

Sick days

2016 2017 2018
Region Gender % % %
Total (scope of application of the sustainability report) Female 6.8 6.9 7.3
Male 5.4 5.5 5.7
Total 6.3 6.4 6.7
Germany Female 7.6 7.6 8.0
Male 5.8 5.8 6.0
Total 6.9 7.0 7.2
Austria  Female 4.6 4.8 5.1
Male 3.9 4.2 4.3
Total 4.4 4.6 4.9

Excluding EHA Austria, Mayflor, Commercetools and Zoo Royal. Deviations in totals may occur due to rounding.

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.

Systematically Promoting Good Health and Preventing Illness
REWE Group conducts a range of projects to encourage employees to live healthy lives. Fit.Netz, the prevention courses offered by the company’s occupational health management in Cologne, enjoys high levels of participation: From 2016 to 2018, a total of 2,715 course slots were filled – including 1,044 slots in the 2018 financial year. 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, many different preventive offerings are available in the sales lines, 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 health insurance provider. The health-promotion programmes offered by toom Baumarkt DIY stores also include seminars on the topic “Healthy management” and a health olympics in individual DIY stores.

The programme offered by REWE International AG 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 to attend the check-up. In addition, training sessions showing how to lift and carry loads properly and ergonomic orthopaedic shoes are also offered.

Staying in Shape Together: “Gemeinsam.topfit”

By offering an online platform, an app, printed material, an e-learning programme and a video, REWE Group began in 2019 to help employees to live healthy lifestyles. From stress management to nutrition tips and pedometers, employees can choose from a range of programmes offered by “Gemeinsam.topfit”. From the job-information module, employees receive valuable tips about daily work and manual labour, including lifting and carrying heavy products, stocking shelves and sitting at the till, in addition to video and audio courses, nutrition plans, recipes and other information. In autumn 2018, about 1,100 employees of REWE Group tested the platform during a pilot phase.

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. As a result to the very good response to it, the project has been a permanent part of training programmes at the entire REWE since 2014.
In 2016, toom Baumarkt DIY stores decentralised their health-promotion programmes. As part of this change, addiction counselling offered locally by trained experts was introduced. Personal psychosocial counselling sessions were also added. Since April 2016, this support has been offered to employees who work at the headquarters locations in Cologne.

Other examples of the health-promotion programmes offered by REWE Group include:

  • Gyms are being set up step by step 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.
  • The programme JobRad (Job Bike) was introduced for employees of REWE Group at the end of 2016. This programme enables employees to buy a company bicycle as part of a deferred-compensation model. It has been used by more than 3,000 employees since being introduced.
  • Since 2017, the “Gesundschreiber” is played twice per week on the in-store radio PENNY LIVE before the stores open. In this programme, experts and doctors give tips on how to improve health. The topic of health is also discussed by the in-store radio offered by BILLA, MERKUR and PENNY in Austria: Exercise and nutrition tips are offered as part of the programmes “Fit for Spring” and “Fit for Fall”.
Measures offered by REWE International AG in Austria include the management academy, which is mandatory throughout the Group, with one module focusing 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. The research project “Enable 50+” conducted by the University of Graz is examining the topic of age-appropriate work at REWE International AG, with a focus on store employees. For its high level of commitment in the area of health promotion, REWE International AG (Austria) has received the “company health promotion” seal of approval for the third time.

Dealing with stress and mental strain also plays an important role in health promotion. 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 2018, initial advisers on a co-worker level were trained during 12 disseminator courses. As a result, the company now has 170 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.

Facilitating the Return to Work: Company Integration Management
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, among other things.

In 2017, company integration management (part-time reintegration) was also introduced in Austrian law.

Further topics in this area:


GRI 401

Labour/Management Relations

GRI 402

Education and Training Programmes

GRI 404

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

GRI 405


GRI 406