"We create chemistry for a sustainable future"

BASF is currently the largest chemicals company in the world with a total workforce of 111,000 employees at more than 370 locations worldwide. In the new corporate strategy of BASF, "We create chemistry for a sustainable future", one of the corporate values is "We never compromise on safety". This includes consistent environmental and health protection.

Occupational medicine and health promotion for the employees has a long tradition at BASF. Just one year after the company was founded in 1865 the first doctor was employed in Ludwigshafen. As a result, the first company medical service in the German chemical industry existed long before the introduction of statutory obligations.

In 1997, BASF signed up to the Luxembourg Declaration on Workplace Health Promotion in the European Union. As part of the voluntary initiative "Responsible Care®" in the chemical industry, the implementation and objectives of the most important issues for environment, health and safety (EHS) were defined and combined in an RC management system.

The head office and, at the same time, the largest location of BASF with approx. 34,000 employees is in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany. The Occupational Medicine & Health Protection department there with its some 150 employees, of whom 26 doctors with specialist qualifications in occupational medicine and various other specialised fields, provides emergency care, occupational health care and health promotion at the location and is also involved in the rehabilitation and reintegration of employees after a prolonged illness. Furthermore, the department sets international medical standards throughout BASF and their observation is reviewed in regular occupational medical audits.

The head of the department, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Stefan Lang, also has a governance function in the sense of functional management for more than 180 doctors worldwide.

The directive for "Occupational Medicine and Health Protection" applicable in the BASF Group worldwide describes the fundamentals and internationally required standards for the BASF health management as well as the audit system which monitors their compliance. In this way, we support all the occupational medical specialists working for BASF throughout the world to achieve uniform medical standards and, if required, permit access to occupational and environmental medical knowledge of the experts in Ludwigshafen (Centres of Excellence). The Occupational Medicine & Health Protection department has taken on the major challenges which stem from globalisation and the continuously changing social, demographic, technological and organisational conditions and has set itself clear objectives in order to be able to make its contribution towards maintaining the employees' health with sustainable health management.

In this context, the department cooperates at national and international level with many other specialised units in the company. There is a continuous exchange of expertise in order to effectively network the subjects of environment, health and safety for the well-being of the employees. Alongside the local doctors who work at the locations, there are also country-coordinating doctors and region-coordinating doctors for the regions of North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

All strategic projects on the subject of occupational health care and health promotion at the Ludwigshafen location are planned in advance together with the units involved, the authorities, the RCI Berufsgesnossenschaft (institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention for raw materials and the chemical industry) and the workers' representatives and passed jointly in the "Health" and "Occupational Health Care" working groups. This cooperation also includes targeted and scientifically evaluated health care campaigns, for example the BASF back project, bowel cancer screening which has been offered continuously since 2001, or campaigns to prevent obesity and for the early detection of diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

Against the background of the democratic change with an increasingly ageing workforce, BASF SE (European Company) has developed the Generations@work project for its employees in Ludwigshafen. Voluntary health check-ups have been regularly offered to the employees since October 2011. From the results of a questionnaire, various technical studies and the medical check-ups at the company doctor, more detailed examinations are, if necessary, initiated for performance or metabolism diagnostics and/or targeted action to promote health. The previous measures, which have been time-tested and evaluated over many years, such as target-group-specific health seminars for all employee groups, the diverse offering of a health promotion centre and the sports department of BASF are naturally being continued.

The aim of these activities is primarily to inform the employees about the advantages of a healthy lifestyle and, secondly, to identify as early as possible chronic health disorders and counteract them together with the GPs and consultants in the region.

The Generations@work project is also being flanked by scientific epidemiological studies. The publication of our works leads to a broad-based exchange of expertise, entirely in line with the network "Enterprise for Health", EfH, with the aim of achieving a sustainable improvement in occupational medicine and health protection in other companies as well.




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