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Our approach to health and occupational safety

Our contribution to the SDGs

The Board of Management assumes overall responsibility for occupational health and safety, and environmental protection. We combine and control our programs for “Safety and Health at Work” at Group level; health and safety managers are responsible for implementing these programs locally. The general responsibilities, duties, and programs for health and safety management are outlined in the Health & Safety Environment handbook. The handbook serves to harmonize and align our management systems with common targets across the Group.

Occupational health and safety is effectively incorporated into our structures via certified management systems and appropriate policies and guidelines. The basis for this is the ISO 45001 standard. We were one of the first DAX companies to have our health and safety management systems certified according to ISO 45001. By the end of the reporting year, 92 German and international locations were audited according to ISO 45001 and ISO 14001. Their certification was renewed in all cases.

We support our employees in maintaining and promoting their health with a host of target-audience-specific measures and extensive programs. At the same time, safety in the workplace is our highest priority. We view occupational health and safety legislation as minimum requirements. Awareness-raising, prevention, and individual responsibility are our top priorities. Our portfolio of occupational health and safety measures also includes a wide range of voluntary measures to promote health within the company.

These include, for example:

  • An annual, comprehensive health check by the company doctor
  • Vaccinations and hygiene measures
  • Bowel cancer screening    
  • Seminars on recuperation ability, health-oriented leadership
  • Online training on health and occupational safety
  • Driver safety training

Effectiveness of our health and safety measures

We systematically evaluate the effectiveness of our measures. This includes reviewing the results of our employee survey, evaluating stress prevention measures under collective agreements, competitor analyses, and other indicators. We analyze this data each year to derive measures that exceed the statutory requirements.

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

  • At Deutsche Telekom in Germany, the health rate for 2019 (including long-term illnesses) was 94.0 percent (prior year: 93.6 percent). Excluding long-term illnesses, the health rate in 2019 stood at 95.5 percent (prior year: 95.3 percent). The health rate is reported to the Board of Management at the end of each quarter. We aim to bring the Group-wide health rate up to 95.9 percent by 2020 (excluding long-term illnesses).
  • The total number of work-related accidents continued to decline in the reporting year in comparison with the previous year. The accident rate in Germany for 2019 was 6,8 accidents (resulting in over three days of absence) per thousand employees, well below the industry average.
  • The Group-wide health index – calculated in 29 countries as part of the last employee survey in 2019 – remained stable at 3.6 (on a scale from 1.0 to 5.0). Despite the stress experienced, and against the backdrop of the transformation processes, the well-defined, available resources had a buffering effect.

In 2019, Health & Safety Management was honored at several international locations. Among others, the OTE Group Greece, T-Systems Iberia, and IT Services Hungary received awards.

Psychosocial counseling as part of change management

Psychosocial counseling for transformation processes by the Employee and Executive Advisory Service plays an important role throughout Deutsche Telekom AG. The goal is to help affected employees, managers and teams deal with professional and private changes, and prevent psychosocial crises.

To this end, we offer free and anonymous individual counseling and consultation hours. Once they are registered, employees can take advantage of personal counseling sessions. They can receive immediate telephone advice via the TALKTIME hotline and, if necessary, will be put straight through to local experts or specialist offices. The counselors have a duty to maintain confidentiality and are familiar with the specifics of the company.

We also support specialists and managers with appropriate tools, such as presentations and workshops on the topics of “Change”, “Addressing change constructively”, “Shaping change successfully” and coping with psychological stress factors. We provide specific information about the availability of these services at the locations affected by change processes. 

Transformation programs such as “Shaping the future” at DT Technik GmbH not only lead to changes in the organization of the companies, but also alter the duties and ways of working. This can result in stressful situations for the employees. The focus of our psychosocial counseling services in 2019 was therefore on the impact of the transformation programs. Another issue was the transformation into an agile organization. Various training modules were held for managers to prepare them for their changed leadership roles.

Necessary restructuring activities also led to site closures during the reporting period. Employees often took the resulting change of location as an opportunity to take advantage of individual counseling.

Digitalization and health – joint project launched with health insurer BARMER

In 2017, we launched a model project “Digitalization and Health” together with health insurer BARMER. With scientific support from the University of St. Gallen and the University of Cologne, among others, we are working on solutions to improve the health, motivation, and performance of employees in the context of digitalization. Deutsche Telekom is thus the first company to systematically tackle this range of topics together with a health insurer, in this case, BARMER. Over a period of three years, we will develop and evaluate different innovative apps, solutions, and measures that will undergo intensive field testing by Deutsche Telekom employees.

In 2019, our employees also tested the “Digital Health Guide”, an online platform that helps employees select suitable health services and makes them easier use. Employees were also able to test an app called NutriAssist. It analyzes individual requirements for micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids, and provides corresponding nutritional advice. The pilot project “Healthy and mindful leadership” was also launched in 2019. Its goal is to improve employees' digital health literacy. It is aimed at managers as important disseminators. Based on the results of the pilot projects, a decision will be made whether and how the programs will be used at Deutsche Telekom in the future.

Health rate KPI

Nationally, the health rate for the Deutsche Telekom Group in 2019 showed a slight improvement of 0.4 percent year-on-year, and stood at an average of 94 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. We aim to bring the Group-wide health rate up to 95.9 percent by 2020 (excluding long-term illnesses).

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 PwC. 


Reporting against standards

In combination with data on work-related accidents, the health rate data partially covers the GRI 403-2 (Types of injury and rates of injury, occupational diseases, lost days, and absenteeism, and number of work-related fatalities) GRI performance indicator. This data is also relevant for criterion 15 (Diversity and health) of the German Sustainability Code.

Work-related accidents in Germany KPI

The number of work-related and commuting accidents was lower than in 2018. The accident rate is well below the average at comparable companies.

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.