The Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA) - Modern occupational safety and health in Germany
GDA is an initiative of the federal government, the federal states and accident insurance institutions. With the aid of GDA, these three institutions organise the prevention work more systematically and more closely. Joint occupational safety and health objectives, fields of action and work programmes support entrepreneurs, managers and employees on all matters relating to safety and health and at work.
GDA is the nationwide strategy for the safety and health protection of employees at work. It is shared by the Federal Government, the federal states and accident insurance institutions. GDA 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 safety and health system in Germany. The companies are also to be given incentives to increase the safety and health of their employees at work. In order to improve consultation and supervision of the enterprises, cooperation of the supervisory authorities of the statutory accident insurances and the occupational safety and health authorities of the federal states is to be optimised. Regulations and rules in the field of occupational safety and health 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 GDA are in detail:
Under the umbrella of GDA, the Federal Government, the federal states and accident insurance agencies have agreed on common priorities in the form of occupational safety and health 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 occupational safety and health.
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) as well as data and information exchange on company inspections.
The complex rules and regulations of the state and accident insurance agencies in the area of occupational safety and health are optimised and coordinated. Thus, GDA establishes 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 concretise the national laws and regulations in a sector-specific and practical manner with "industry rules".
The statutory foundations of GDA and the cooperation of its institutions have been laid down in the Safety and Health at Work Act (ArbSchG) and in the Social Code VII (SGB VII) since November 2008.
With 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 safety and health strategies.
The central decisions on the planning, coordination and evaluation of the implementation of the GDA are made by the National Occupational Safety and Health Conference (Nationale Arbeitsschutzkonferenz, NAK). It develops specific joint occupational safety and health objectives and, in coordination with the stakeholders, derives common areas of action and key points for work programs. The NAK is composed of three representatives each of the Confederation, the federal states and the accident insurance institutions. These members are entitled to vote. In addition, the NAK is advised by three representatives each of the top organisations of employers and employees.
In carrying out their tasks, NAK is assisted by the NAK office, which is located at the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in accordance with section 20b ArbSchG. The NAK office is responsble for preparing proposals for workplace targets and areas of action, evaluating results of work programmes, collecting and evaluating data for evaluation, preparing, organising and recording NAK meetings and coordinating the NAK's co-operation with its committees.