In general, workers represent half the population in Europe and are the major contributors to economic and social development. Among the major social determinants of health are hazards and risks in the working environment. The health, working ability and well-being of the working population are some of the priority areas of a good governance pursuing health in all policies. The occupational health system in Germany has been in existence for over a century, which is based on statutory accident insurance [1,4].
By following the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Germany has a comprehensive national Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) system. Germany has ratified 83 ILO conventions and all OSH legislation is harmonized with EU directives. A the statutory basis joint German OSH strategy (‘Gemeinsame Deutsche Arbeitsschutzstrategie’, GDA) has been developed and implemented on 5 November 2008. The German federal, the 16 regional governments and the accident insurance institutions hold joint and equal responsibility for the Strategy, as well as an important role by the social partners, i.e. employers and employees (Figure 1) [1,4].
The key intentions of the Joint OSH Strategy are to maintain and strengthen employability which includes the promotion of lifelong learning, to support general health objectives, to reduce the costs of the social insurance system and to increase the competitiveness of companies [4,5].
This review papers concentrates on the characteristics and core elements of the Joint Occupational Safety and Health Strategy in Germany. After the introduction, the paper is structured as follows: next section deals with overview of the strategy targets and its implementations; followed by the list of work programmes and tools of the strategy. Then discussions on results and further improvements are being highlighted and the conclusion summarizes this review paper.
Figure 1: Institutions party to the Joint German OSH Strategy .
Joint Occupational Safety and Health Strategy
Core Elements. There are five core elements which compromises the Joint OSH Strategy (Figure 2) [1,9]:
the development of joint objectives in the field of OSH
the elaboration of joint fields of action and work programmes, and implementations are according to uniform principles
the evaluation of objectives, joint fields of action and work programmes
the improvement of the cooperation and coordination of the actions of the public OSH authorities and accident insurance funds
the establishment of a transparent, reasonable and user-friendly set of provisions and regulations.
Figure 2: Core elements of the Joint German OSH Strategy .
OSH Targets. For the term between 2008 and 2012, there were three OSH targets and objectives with common issues defined [1,2,4,7]:
i. Target No. 1: Reduction in the frequency and severity of occupational accidents (OAs). Adequate measures should be taken to reduce impairing mental stress and...