Occupational health and safety

As a responsible employer, it is especially important to us to prevent workplace-related illnesses and accidents.

Our Group-wide guidelines and management structures ensure uniform standards for occupational health and safety. They are oriented to the requirements of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Responsible Care® program of the chemical industry.

For example, in 1995 we instituted our Group-wide "EHS Policy" (Principles and Strategies for Health, Safety and the Environment), which is implemented through numerous other guidelines. At our individual sites, we furthermore have company agreements on occupational health and safety that have been entered into by employer and employee representatives.

Central EHS management with local managers

At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, occupational health and safety is an integral part of our EHS management system. Ultimate responsibility for environmental, health, and safety matters lies with Executive Board Member Bernd Reckmann. The Group function Environment Health Safety Security Quality (EQ) manages all global activities, and local EHS managers implement them at the individual sites.

EQ monitors adherence to local environmental protection laws, regulatory requirements, standards and business requirements at our individual sites through internal and external audits oriented to the requirements of OHAS 18001 , one of the international standards for occupational health and safety management systems. We conducted 44 audits in 2011 and 17 in 2012.

Via the LION electronic data management system, data on workplace accidents is compiled at the individual sites and reported to EQ on a monthly basis. The sites are required to immediately report relevant accidents to EQ. EQ evaluates all data and informs other sites about preventive measures as needed.

We provide continual training to all employees who perform occupational healthy and safety tasks. Besides local programs, this training also includes the annual EHS congress in Darmstadt as well as the regional EHS forum. Both events inform attendees about new EHS topics as well as updated guidelines and laws, and furthermore encourage best practice sharing at an expert level.

Reducing behavior-related workplace accidents

Preventing behavior-related workplace accidents is an important aspect of operational occupational health and safety at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. We aim to accomplish this by sensitizing our employees worldwide to potential hazards in the workplace. In 2009 and 2010, we launched the “selbst sicher” program at our Darmstadt and Gernsheim sites, and in 2011, we instituted this program Group-wide under the name “BeSafe!”. It features numerous activities and awareness campaigns that are intended to reinforce our safety culture. This includes workshops for managers at the individual sites and an information exchange among EHS managers at a regional level, who then instruct employees at the sites. In addition, individual legal entities in Latin America, such as in Brazil and Mexico, hold safety competitions at specific sites that also help bolster our safety culture.

Since 2010, EQ has been presenting the Safety Excellence Award to all sites with no workplace accidents. Altogether 29 sites from all regions received this award in 2011 and 42 in 2012. We are particularly pleased that many sites were awarded this recognition for the third time.

Goal 2015


Reduce LTIR throughout the entire Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Group

The lost time injury rate (LTIR) is the indicator used to assess the success of our measures; our goal for 2015 is an LTIR of 2.5. We achieved an LTIR of 2.0 in 2011, and 2.3 in 2012. This shows that our activities for preventing behavior-related accidents are making a positive impact.

Promoting employee health

People are facing longer work lives as well as increasing demands from their careers. In view of this, we would like to bolster our employees' health as well as their capacity to perform their jobs through a wide array of health-promoting measures. Ergonomic evaluation of the workplace is one of the tasks our global EHS Management organization. At our Darmstadt site, our company medical center offers check-ups and medical services such as the early detection of diabetes and cancer, travel health advice as well as sociomedical and psychosocial advice. The medical center also provides training seminars and lectures on health-related topics.

We rely on our employees’ personal responsibility and support their health awareness through local programs. At the Darmstadt site, for instance, we work with the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany company health insurance fund to offer programs and courses on healthy nutrition, exercise and relaxation. These range from back training, to yoga, to courses on how to quit smoking. We also offer courses on occupational health promotion activities, such as movement and back exercises.

Another important component of our health promotion activities is a program, which enables employees to participate in select health courses. Some of these are offered free-of-charge, and others cost a nominal fee. The courses focus on prevention through movement and back health since a large percentage of missed work is attributable to back pain. Take for example the Fitback program, in which employees can consult a physical therapist free-of-charge and have their backs examined.

Furthermore, employees in Darmstadt can participate in our company sports program. As of the end of 2012, it featured 23 different types of activities, including badminton, fitness training, ping-pong, golf, diving, and tennis.

At our company cafeterias, we furthermore offer our employees healthy food that meets the requirements of the German Society of Nutrition (DGE).

Employees of EMD Millipore at the Massachusetts and New Hampshire, USA sites can participate in a comprehensive health intervention program offered within the company. This program aims to prevent, detect early on, and/or treat diseases and injuries, especially those pertaining to the musculoskeletal system. It includes services such as special exercise/training programs, seminars, sport competitions, and ergonomic reviews of work areas. Employees who attend health intervention courses can receive up to US$ 300 in financial incentives.

XLS Download

Goals: Occupational health & safety











Strategic goal



Status in 2011 and 2012


Reduce work accidents throughout the entire Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (lost time injury rate = 2.5)

Implement the BeSafe! program; hold EHS forums on “Safety Behavior Change”

End of 2015

In 2011, we launched the BeSafe! program. Through systematic accident prevention measures (such as training and campaigns to strengthen our corporate safety culture), we attained an LTIR of 2.0 in 2011 and an LTIR of 2.3 in 2012. We are working to lastingly stabilize our LTIR.

Legend: Achieved In progress Not achieved New goal


Publication of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

In the United States and Canada the subsidiaries of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate under the umbrella brand EMD.


Interactive chart tool