EU-OSHA Director Christa Sedlatschek visits SÜDWESTMETALL in Baden-Württemberg
SÜDWESTMETALL is one of the Germany's largest Employers' Associations in the Metal and Electrical Industry, representing the interests of more than a thousand member organisations who employ around half a million workers in businesses of all sizes. More than 80 per cent of the member organisations have less than 500 employees.
Along with EU-OSHA Governing Board Member Mr Eckehart Metze, I was invited by Mr Kai Schweppe, head of the department for labour policy, to see how this employers' organisation offered assistance to its members, particularly to small and medium enterprises.
SÜDWESTMETALL not only supports the companies in the implementation of collective agreements (Tarifverträge) between social partners. Within the area of labour policy, occupational safety and health plays a key role. SÜDWESTMETALL is assisting enterprises in the organisation of preventive measures in close co-operation with the responsible person at company level and is initiatiating research in the field of health and safety at work to develop the knowledge-base in both practical and policy-level approaches.
SÜDWESTMETALL works closely together with the Institut für angewandte Arbeitswissenschaft (ifaa) and the Institut für Arbeitsmedizin, Sozialmedizin und Versorgungsforschung of the University Tübingen in its research activities and it was a please to meet the Director of ifaa, Professor Sascha Stowasser. The focus of the institute is to maintain and improve the competitiveness of companies by supporting the employability of employees. Their model clearly indicates that a major success factor for achieving these goals is the creation of a good company culture.
Baden- Württemberg is one of the most prosperous regions in Europe and is one of the economically leading Länder in Germany with a low unemployment rate. There you can find the headquarters of many well-known multinational enterprises like Daimler AG, Porsche, Robert Bosch, SAP and FESTO. Most of them are members of SÜDWESTMETALL.
I was offered the opportunity to visit FESTO, one of the world-wide leading enterprises in the production of pneumatic and electric automation technology. In 176 countries more than 15.5000 employees are working in 59 independent national companies. I had the pleasure to get an insight view of their outstanding H+S activities, including an innovative workplace health promotion programme.
My mission to Germany was completed by a visit in the University of Tübingen where Profesor Monika Rieger, Director of the Institut für Arbeitsmedizin, Sozialmedizin und Versorgungsforschung (Institute for occupational medicine and health services research) and the multidisciplinary staff presented their focus areas and reasearch goals in areas such as teaching, training and services for companies and patients.
The institute aims at transferring the results of evidence-based research to the company level, but also looks to get companies actively involved in their research activities. One way in which this is achieved is through co-operation with SÜDWESTMETALL, which facilitates the contact between University and the members of the association.