Our approach to health and occupational safety

Our contribution to the SDGs

We take our obligation to ensure the health and safety of our employees very seriously. The Board of Management assumes overall responsibility for occupational health and safety, as well as for environmental protection. We bundle and manage our occupational health and safety programs at Group level; health and safety managers (H&S managers) are responsible for implementing these programs locally. The general responsibilities, duties and programs for health and safety management are outlined in the Management System Manual for Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental Protection. The manual serves to harmonize and align our management systems with common targets across the Group. Our Conditions for Purchasing also include agreements on occupational health and safety, which our suppliers must fulfill.  

Occupational health and safety in the Group is firmly anchored in our structures through certified management systems and through suitable policies and guidelines. We conform to the ISO 45001 standard in this connection. In 2018, we were one of the first DAX-listed companies to have our H&S management system certified according to the standard. Before that, we had been certified to OHSAS 18001 img from 2011. In 2022, we successfully completed the audits img for recertification pursuant to ISO 45001, ISO 14001 img, and ISO 9001 img. As a result, Deutsche Telekom AG’s umbrella certificates for occupational health and safety, environmental protection, and quality are valid through September 2024. They cover Deutsche Telekom sites both in Germany and internationally. At the end of the 2022 financial year, 18 sites were certified pursuant to ISO 9001, 86 sites pursuant to ISO 14001, and 79 sites pursuant to ISO 45001. The certificates certify that we have systematic procedures and processes in place to ensure and continually improve occupational health and safety as well as environmental protection.

We promote health awareness and health literacy among our employees, with targeted measures and comprehensive programs. At the same time, safety in the workplace is our highest priority. We view legally mandated occupational health and safety standards as minimum requirements. Awareness-raising, prevention, and personal responsibility are of particular importance to us. As such, we offer training courses on all relevant topics, such as for first-aiders and driver safety training.

We regularly determine risks to health and safety. We produce risk assessments for all activities and use them to derive appropriate measures – for example, mandatory fire safety instructions for all employees. When we collaborate with external service providers, it is important that our safety standards be met.

Our portfolio of occupational health and safety measures also includes many voluntary measures to promote health within the company. These include, for example:

  • An annual, comprehensive health check by company doctors
  • Vaccinations and hygiene measures
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Exercise/fitness activities
  • Programs for recovery and resilience, mindfulness, health-oriented leadership
  • Increasingly, digital training

The impact assessment of our materiality analysis identified potential risks to health and safety in the work and process steps of Deutsche Telekom’s upstream and downstream value chains. Insufficient hygienic measures, deficient safeguards, and a lack of preventive measures can result in accidents or damage to employee health. Our measures to improve occupational health and safety are aimed at reducing these risks. They also have a positive effect on the environment. A structured occupational safety process for handling hazardous materials, for example, ensures that hazardous materials cannot leak out or pose a risk to the environment.

We also work together with certified waste disposal companies, to ensure that the disposal of our electronics products does not harm the environment or the health of the local population.   

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403 3-3 (Management of material topics)
  • GRI 403-1 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-4 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-5 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-6 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-7 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-8 (Occupational Health and Safety)


Effectiveness of our occupational health and safety measures

In line with the PDCA cycle (plan, do, check, act), we systematically investigate and measure the effectiveness of our measures. We endeavor to continuously develop our management system. To this end, we regularly investigate how occupational health and safety are integrated in management and leadership activities and derive improvement strategies as needed. This includes reviewing the results of our employee survey, evaluating stress prevention measures under collective agreements, competitor analyses, and other indicators. We analyze this information on an ongoing basis and use it to develop suitable measures to promote the health and well-being of our employees. In addition, all employees can actively help shape our measures for occupational health and safety, in line with the requirements of ISO 45001.

Different indicators reflect the effectiveness of our corporate health management activities:

  • At Deutsche Telekom in Germany, the health rate for 2022 (including long-term illnesses) was 93.8 percent (prior year: 95.3 percent). Excluding long-term illnesses, the health rate in 2022 stood at 95.2 percent (prior year: 95.3 percent). The worsening of the figure in 2022 is presumably a result of the gradual return to normality as pandemic protection and hygiene measures came to an end. The health rate is reported to the Board of Management at the end of each quarter.
  • The total number of work-related accidents increased in the reporting year in comparison with the previous year. The accident rate in Germany for 2022 was 5.5 accidents (resulting in over three days of absence) per thousand employees (prior year: 4.2). This figure includes occupational accidents associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Without these COVID-19 cases, the accident rate in Germany was 4.4.
  • The Group-wide health index img – which was last measured as part of the 2021 employee survey in almost all countries with Telekom employees – stood at 69 (on a scale from 0 to 100). This represents a slight increase of four points with respect to the previous survey in 2019. Preparations for determining the next health index will take place in 2023.

Measures during the COVID-19 pandemic
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided the opportunity to work from home, whenever possible, to protect our employees. Together with the Bonn Hygiene Institute, we also developed a comprehensive hygiene concept. It enabled employees to return to their offices – when the numbers of infections so permitted. Our Chief Human Resources Officer Birgit Bohle regularly informed employees about our extensive safety measures. To maintain vaccination protection against Covid-19, employees in Germany were offered booster vaccinations (a third vaccination dose) at the turn of the year 2021/2022. In this context, 4 908 vaccination doses were given in the first quarter of the reporting year. The vaccination program has been discontinued in the interim. Although we do not offer coronavirus vaccinations presently, we monitor and assess the situation continually, which means a needs-based resumption of the vaccination program is possible anytime, at short notice.

Also, the company once again held its annual flu-vaccination campaign in fall 2022. We completed our flu-vaccination campaign for the turn of the year 2021/2022 in the first quarter of the reporting year, with 9,593 flu shots. Between October and December 2022, 7 140 of our employees in Germany had received their flu shots as part of the campaign.

The My Health Journey health program
In the reporting year, we continued our “My Health Journey” company health program for emotional and mental fortitude, which is available to all employees in Germany. In addition to workshop series on mental resilience, mindfulness, and self-care in the digital environment – with tips and exercises for shaping everyday virtual life – it also offers scientifically based mindfulness training for executives and managers. Its aims include promoting self-reflection and self-organization. We expanded our existing offers in 2022 with programs from all fields of prevention. In addition to the focus topic “Emotional and mental fortitude,” we now also offer courses on good nutrition, regular exercise, and relaxing sleep. Among other elements, we organize action days such as Sleep Day, Nutrition Day, Mindfulness Day, and Mental Health Day. We have also established a series of open lectures and targeted individual offerings such as sleep or nutrition consultation.

Awards in the occupational health and safety area
We once again won multiple awards for our occupational health management in the reporting year. T-Systems in Germany, for example, won a BBGM Best Practice Award from the Federal Association of Occupational Health Management for its #ausruhezeichen sleep campaign. Among our national companies, the OTE Group won several awards for its “health and safety” initiatives.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-2 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-3 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-6 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-9 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)


Psychosocial counseling as part of change management

We attach great importance to the psychosocial support that the Employee and Executive Advisory Service (MFB) provides for various transformation processes across the Group. The goal is to help affected employees, managers, and teams deal with professional and private changes, and to prevent psychosocial crises. In the event of an acute crisis, our crisis intervention takes action: The party concerned, along with family members when needed, can make use of professional counseling from an experienced team of experts.

In Germany, we also offer free and anonymous personal counseling and consultation hours. Employees can obtain personal counseling from experts. Immediate phone counseling is available through the “TALK TIME” hotline from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. If necessary, employees seeking help are referred directly to local experts or specialist agencies. The counselors have a duty to maintain confidentiality and are familiar with the specifics of the company.

During the coronavirus pandemic, they counseled our employees on problems resulting from reduced social contacts, as well as coping with burdens caused by closed schools and care facilities, among other subjects. A selected team of occupational health specialists also offered immediate counseling for health issues from March 2020 through the end of December 2022, for instance, on pandemic-related processes and rules. The percentage of COVID-19-related concerns declined from 10 percent in the previous year to 3.8 percent in the reporting year, however. Overall, a total of755 queries from Deutsche Telekom employees were processed. Compared to 2021, call volumes declined by around 36 percent (as of December 2022), nearly matching the pre-pandemic level between 2016 and 2019.

With this in mind, and in the face of new crises, we defined new focuses for our “TALK TIME” hotline in the reporting year. For example, we offered special psychosocial counseling to our international employees and helpers who were exposed to the extreme events of Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine.

Also, for many years now we have provided special additional support to managers, in the form of presentations and workshops on healthy leadership, conflict management, mindfulness, and self-leadership, as well as on strategies for dealing with changes and mental stress.
Courses on virtual leadership are also part of these offerings. Working in hybrid or distributed teams has long been part of everyday life for some parts of Deutsche Telekom. Nevertheless, the increasing shift of workplaces to home offices poses an additional challenge: executives have to be sensitive to changes in teams and individuals and provide enough time for personal exchange, for instance, by planning regular video conferences.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-3 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-6 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)


Digitalization and health

In 2017, and in cooperation with one of our health partners, the BARMER health insurance company, we launched the “Digitalization and Health” model project, with the University of St. Gallen and the Institute for Organizational Diagnostics and Social Research (IfOS) in Cologne, among others, providing scientific support. In this effort, and in the context of digitalization, we have developed solutions that can improve employee health and enhance their motivation and performance. Also, we have introduced various measures in the cooperation project and tested them together with Deutsche Telekom staff. The model project is now being continued on a regular operational basis.

In 2019, the pilot project “Healthy and mindful leadership” was launched. This is a multimodal course designed to improve the digital health literacy of employees. The course was initially aimed at executives, who are important multipliers. In the course of the pilot project, we were able to scientifically demonstrate the positive training effects on health, stress perception, and mindfulness. For this reason, in 2020 we expanded the project to the national level, under the “My Health Journey” program. To date, the course has been proven to have additional positive effects that remain significant three months after the end of the training period. The effects for participants included improved performance, a better sense of well-being, and enhanced health literacy. In light of these results, we made the training course available to the managers of nearly all German entities in 2021 and continued the project in 2022.

The “My Health Journey” program was expanded in 2022 to include additional elements involving resilience and mindfulness: The virtual sessions of the series ”Kopfsalat und Bauchgefühl” (Brain Turbulance and Gut Feeling) give our employees positive food for thought and practical assistance for strengthening their own resilience. The one-hour sessions are hosted by a neuroscientist and also give our employees a space where they can interact and share with one another.

In addition, since 2020 our employees in Germany have access to the FITMIT5 (fitwith5) app img which is also integrated in the annual “My Health Journey” program. The training app includes an algorithm that puts together 5-minute workout programs tailored to users’ needs. In addition, it provides further exercise and meditation resources, as well as a nutritional tips. In light of the positive feedback received, this offer was continued in the reporting year and is now available to all company employees free of charge. We also launched a collaboration with SHENTISPORTS in 2022 that enables our business customers to offer the FITMIT5 app to their own employees.   

The topic of mindfulness attracted particular interest on our Mindfulness Day in 2022. During this action day in September 2022, our employees had the opportunity to take part in online meditation and virtual yoga sessions, as well as follow presentations on non-violent communication and emotional labor. Our employees in Germany can also attend regularly held live workshops as well access online videos and handouts under the motto #myMoment that help them integrate mindfulness practices in their everyday (working) life.

Virtual 3D parkour courses on the health topics “stress and digital balance,” “sleep,” and “nutrition,” which we offered our employees for the first time in 2021, were continued in 2022. Moreover, the T-Systems segment offered additional resources in this context, such as podcasts and workshops on the topic of “sleep” as part of the company health management. This took place as part of the  #ausruhezeichen sleep campaign, which was launched in 2020 and developed by the BARMER health insurance company, the Institut für Betriebliche Gesundheitsberatung (IFBG; Institute for in-company health counseling), and Deutsche Telekom. Our Gesunder Schlaf (healthy sleep) campaign once again give our employees tips from sleep research during the reporting year. In addition, we opened a sleep and relaxation room at our Bonn headquarters in 2022. This concept, which we developed for our employees the previous year as part of innovation scouting, includes a relaxation corner and a day bed for power naps. Evaluations of usage figures showed that our employees used the relaxation corner more often than the day bed. The pilot phase has been extended through February 2023, to gather further insights on how this offer is used.  

With support from BARMER, we also continued to address the topic of nutrition in 2022. In 2020, we sponsored a pilot project that offered virtual presentations by nutritionists and top athletes, team workshops, and additional offers such as Weight Watchers Online. Following the Group-wide rollout of the project in 2021, we continued it in the reporting year and added additional campaigns and offerings.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-6 (Occupational Health and Safety)


Health rate KPI

Nationally, the health rate for the Deutsche Telekom Group in 2022 slightly dereased by 1.5 percent year-on-year, and stood at an average of 93.8 percent (including the long-term sick). Musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory diseases, and mental health problems account for the bulk of illness-related absenteeism at Deutsche Telekom AG.

The health rate is reported to the Board of Management at the end of each quarter. The 2022 health rate excluding the long-term sick is 95.2 percent. The worsening of the figure in 2022 is presumably a result of the gradual return to normality as pandemic protection and hygiene measures came to an end. Our aim is to improve the health rate.

Targeted health protection programs were implemented in the individual companies. Across all segments, management training courses on the topic of “healthy leadership” were either introduced or continued. The aim is to raise managers’ awareness of this issue and train them accordingly. Additionally, a structured absence management system will be put in place to ensure that employees and managers regularly communicate about illness-related absences so that appropriate action can be taken early on.

  Data assured by Deloitte. 

You can find further information in the HR Factbook.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-9 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)

German Sustainability Code

  • Criterion 15 (Equal Opportunity)


Work-related accidents in Germany KPI

In 2022, the accident rate remains at a low level overall. The accident rate in Germany for 2022 was 5.5 accidents (resulting in over three days of absence) per thousand employees, which is well below the industry average. This figure also includes occupational accidents associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Excluding these Covid-19 cases, the accident rate in Germany was 4.4.

Deutsche Telekom has a health and safety management system in place to reduce the number of work-related accidents. This certified system makes it possible to map the entire health and safety process and to develop sets of measures to further improve employee safety.

You can find further information in the HR Factbook.

Reporting against standards


Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

  • GRI 403-9 (Occupational Health and Safety)
  • GRI 403-10 (Occupational Health and Safety)


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