The Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA)
The Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (GDA) is an initiative by the German government, the federal states ("Länder") and the accident insurance institutions. The alliance aims to modernise the German occupational health and safety system and to create incentives for companies to strengthen workplace health and safety.
Objectives of the joint strategy
Cooperation is the guiding principle of the GDA: The federal government, the federal states and the accident insurance have committed themselves to jointly coordinate their prevention policies. They agree upon occupational safety and health objectives and develop procedures for providing consultancy to and supervision of the companies. Furthermore they aim to create a transparent and easy-to-understand set of rules and regulations.
The "core elements" of the GDA are:
- Joint occupational safety and health objectives and joint work programmes:
The federal government, the federal states and the accident insurance agree on joint occupational safety and health objectives and implement these objectives in joint work programmes. The GDA work programmes directly address the issue of safety and health at company level. The programmes provide support to employers, the management, employees as well as experts in order to improve safety and health at work.
- Improved consultancy and supervision of employers: The GDA improves the practical cooperation between the two pillars of the German OSH system: the public occupational safety and health authorities and the accident insurance institutions. The cooperation is based on joint guidelines and the exchange of information about company visits by the supervisory agencies.
- User-friendly rules and regulations: The GDA aims to optimise and harmonise the complex legal framework in the field of occupational safety and health. Companies and employees benefit from increased legal certainty as regards their responsibilities for health and safety.
Who participates in the GDA?
The GDA was founded by the German government, the federal states and the accident insurance institutions.
- The role of federal government is to create the legal framework for of occupational safety and health and to undertake research on working conditions. Furthermore it represents Germany in European and international OSH institutions.
- The supervisory agencies of the 16 federal states ("Länder") control the implementation of OSH legislation at the workplace. They provide consultancy to employers and – if necessary – impose sanctions on companies that do not comply with legal requirements.
- The accident insurance institutions engage for the prevention of work-related accidents and occupational illnesses. They supervise the implementation of legal requirements and give consultancy to employers and employees. The DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance) is the umbrella association of the accident insurance institutions for the industrial and public sectors (the BGs and the public-sector accident insurers respectively).