Occupational health and safety

As a responsible employer, it is especially important to us to prevent workplace-related illnesses and accidents. To this end, our Group-wide guidelines and management structures establish uniform standards for occupational health and safety that are oriented to the requirements of the International Labour Organization (ILO ) and the Responsible Care®  program of the chemical industry.

Occupational health and safety are an integral component of our Environment, Health, Safety (EHS) management system, which is aligned with the OHSAS 18001  standard. The Group function Environment, Health, Safety, Security, Quality (EQ) is responsible for this management system; they define goals, steer Group-wide measures, and conduct internal audits to check that the management system is functioning. In addition to this, the EHS management system is also audited every year by independent experts. Local EHS managers are responsible for compliance with occupational safety laws and regulations, as well as for the implementation of measures at individual sites.

We compile data on workplace accidents at the individual sites on a monthly basis. The Group function EQ evaluates all data and informs the other facilities about preventive measures as needed. In turn, all sites are required to immediately report relevant accidents to EQ.

Issued in 1995, our "Environment, Health and Safety Policy " describes our approach to occupational health and safety and is the basis for numerous other guidelines. In 2014, we drafted our "Group Health Policy", which defines the manner in which we promote occupational health and safety as well as the welfare of our employees. One component of this policy is the "Global Wellbeing and Health Promotion Framework", which describes the requirements of each individual country in which we operate. In line with this framework, the interdisciplinary Health Management steering committee designs and implements measures to promote good health, such as a health prevention program for shift workers. Furthermore, at our individual sites, employee and employer representatives have reached company agreements on occupational health and safety. For instance, in October 2013 such an agreement was reached on health counseling at our German sites. Among other measures, this document covers counseling training for managers so that they learn to promptly recognize health risks and psychological strain in their employees. Reached in September 2014, the agreement on health prevention for shift workers includes an extensive health intervention program. The goal here is to educate shift workers and make them aware of the adverse effects of such work, providing them with the tools to minimize these effects.

The key performance indicator for the success of our EHS measures is the lost time injury rate (LTIR), which means the number of workplace accidents resulting in lost workdays per one million hours worked. This indicator is applied to both Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany employees and temps. Our goal is to achieve a lost time injury rate of 2.5 by the end of 2015. In 2014 we outperformed this goal, achieving an LTIR of 1.8. In addition to slips, trips and falls, the primary causes of lost time incidents were accidents involving the operation of machinery as well as business travel incidents, primarily car crashes.

Despite our efforts to prevent accidents, there were unfortunately two workplace accidents resulting in fatalities in 2014. In Venezuela, an employee died in a car accident, and in Pakistan, one employee was killed while performing maintenance work on a scissor lift.

The BeSafe! program

In order to prevent behavior-related workplace accidents, we have implemented the BeSafe! Program. This initiative works to continually educate and train our employees – in particular those at production sites throughout the Group – on potential workplace hazards, thereby reinforcing our safety culture. In 2014, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany rolled out the BeSafe! program across our warehouse sites as well, which means that all of our production sites and warehouses are now part of this program.

At our annual EHS congress in Darmstadt as well as EHS forums in North and South America, Europe and Asia, EHS managers share best practices and learn from one another. In the 2013-2014 period, EHS forums were held in Poseung (South Korea), San Diego (CA, USA), and Bari (Italy), which particularly focused on health management, occupational exposure limits, and safety management for temp employees. At our Darmstadt and Gernsheim sites in Germany, we hosted an EHS training seminar for 18 EHS managers from 15 countries in 2014. In addition to this, in December 2014 at our Bari site we held our fourth EHS Best Practice Sharing Meeting. Participants included EHS managers from various European sites as well as representatives from local and international companies, industry associations, and academia.

In 2014, we continued to educate our employees worldwide on workplace hazards through initiatives, training seminars, awareness campaigns, and educational activities. In addition to this, individual subsidiaries in Latin America, such as in Brazil and Mexico, hold safety competitions at specific sites that help reinforce our safety culture.

In 2014, the company presented the Safety Excellence Award for the fifth time, which recognizes those production sites with no workplace accidents on record for the year. 42 out of 69 sites received the award in 2014, with 38 out of 63 production sites in 2013.

Health management

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany issued its "Group Health Policy" in 2014, which aims to maintain and continually nurture employee health and performance. In line with this policy, we have implemented health-promoting programs to bolster employee welfare and performance. To this end, we have established a Group-wide occupational health management system that aims to incorporate health-related goals into our corporate culture. Our health promotion activities focus on health fundamentals (e.g. workplace ergonomics), healthy leadership (e.g. managerial approaches that maintain employee health), and individualized health intervention (e.g. offering health promotion courses, encouraging employees to take responsibility for their own health).

At our Darmstadt site, we furthermore offer numerous other activities and programs to promote good health. Our company medical center offers services such as check-ups, medical care, and psychosocial counseling. Through local offerings, we raise employee health awareness and encourage them to take responsibility for their own health. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's company health insurance fund (Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany BKK) supports these programs across all areas of the company and additionally offers special courses and health care programs. In addition to this, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany BKK runs the Fit@Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany program on behalf of our Health Management unit. This program enables employees to participate in health prevention classes and will subsidize up to € 195 in costs. In addition to this, employees can take part in our company athletics program. At our cafeterias, we furthermore offer our employees meals that meet the requirements of the German Society of Nutrition (DGE).

EMD Millipore employees at the Massachusetts and New Hampshire facilities in the United States can take advantage of a comprehensive health intervention program offered within the company. This program aims to prevent, detect, and/or treat diseases and injuries early on. It includes special exercise/training programs, seminars, sports competitions, and ergonomic workplace assessments. Employees who attend health intervention courses can receive up to US$ 300 in financial incentives.

Goals: Occupational health & safety














Status in 2013 and 2014


Reduce occupational accidents throughout the company (lost time injury rate = 2.5)

Implement the BeSafe! program; hold EHS forums on safety behavior change

End of 2015

Through systematic accident prevention measures (such as training and campaigns to strengthen our corporate safety culture), we attained an LTIR of 2.2 in 2013 and an LTIR of 1.8 in 2014. 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.

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