The Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA) - Modern occupational safety in Germany
The GDA is an initiative of the federal government, the federal states and accident insurance institutions. With the aid of the GDA, these three institutions organise the prevention work more systematically and more closely. Joint occupational safety objectives, fields of action and work programmes support entrepreneurs, managers and employees on all matters relating to health and safety at work.
GDA is the nationwide strategy for the safety and health protection of employees at work, which is shared by the Federal Government, the federal states and accident insurance institutions. It forms the basis for a concerted action to achieve jointly defined occupational safety objectives. The aim of this strong alliance is to modernise the occupational health and safety system in Germany. The companies are also to be given incentives to increase the safety and health of workers at work. The cooperation of the supervisory authorities of the statutory accident insurances and the health and safety authorities of the federal states in the consultation and supervision of the enterprises is to be improved and the regulations and rules in the field of occupational safety are to become more user-friendly and transparent.
Cooperation is the motto of GDA. The Federal Government, the federal states and the accident insurance institutions have committed themselves to improving the practical cooperation between the national labour protection authorities and the accident insurance institutions in advising and supervising the enterprises. To this end, they have agreed on joint occupational health and safety objectives and have developed up-to-date consulting and monitoring concepts. This also includes transparent and practice-oriented rules and regulations for occupational safety and health.
The "core elements" of the GDA are in detail:
Under the umbrella of the GDA, the Federal Government, the federal states and accident insurance agencies have agreed on common priorities in the form of occupational health and safety objectives. These goals are implemented in nationwide work programmes. These GDA work programmes are aimed particularly at the company level. They therefore support entrepreneurs, executives, employees and in-company occupational safety experts in the specific design of the occupational safety and health.
The GDA contributes to improve the practical cooperation between the national labour protection authorities and the accident insurance providers in advising and supervising the enterprises. The goal is a coordinated approach of the supervisory services. For example, advising and supervising should be based on uniform assessment criteria (GDA guidelines) and data and information exchange on company inspections.
The complex rules and regulations of the state and accident insurance agencies in the area of occupational health and safety are optimised and coordinated. Thus, GDA creates legal certainty for companies and employees. The GDA Guidelines on the Reorganisation of the Rules and Regulations make it clear that national law takes precedence. There are new accident prevention regulations for accident insurance providers only in exceptional cases after strict requirements testing. There should be no double regulations. The task of the accident insurance institutions in this area will be to concretize the national laws and regulations in a sector-specific and practical manner with "industry rules".
The statutory foundations of the GDA and the cooperation of its institutions have been laid down in the Labour Protection Act (ArbSchG) and in the Social Code VII (SGB VII) since November 2008.
With the GDA, Germany fulfilled a key requirement of the EU Community Strategy for Occupational Safety and Health 2007 - 2012. In order to achieve the Community objectives, the EU strategy foresees the development of national occupational safety strategies in the Member States. The Strategic Framework of the EU for Health and Safety at Work 2014 - 2020 recommends to further consolidate and strengthen the national occupational health and safety strategies.
The central decisions on the planning, coordination and evaluation of the implementation of the GDA are made by the NAK. It develops specific joint occupational health and safety objectives and areas of action and, in coordination with the stakeholders, derives common areas of action and key points for work and action programs. The NAK is composed of three representatives entitled to vote of each the Confederation, the federal states and the accident insurance institutions. It is advised by three representatives of each the top organisations of employers and employees.
In carrying out their tasks, the NAK is assisted by the NAK office, which is located at the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) in accordance with section 20b ArbSchG. In accordance with the NAK's guidelines, the office has to prepare proposals for workplace targets and areas of action, evaluate results of work programmes, collect and evaluate data for evaluation, prepare, organise and record NAK meetings and coordinate the NAK's co-operation with its committees.