Health and Fitness

The Volkswagen Group’s integrated approach to health management goes well beyond traditional preventive health care and occupational safety and also includes aspects such as work organization, ergonomics, health promotion, integration and rehabilitation, leadership styles and prospects for each individual. To ensure a common standard of health provision across the Group, a multi-level audit system was introduced in 2010.

Ergonomic Strategies

The Group continues to place a high priority on improving production ergonomics. The aim is to keep our employees fit and healthy throughout their working lives. In consultation with the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands, we have produced a handbook to underpin a standardized approach to ergonomics in the product development process, known by its German acronym as “PEP”. The handbook is due to be rolled out across further brands in 2015.
The online system “Massnahmen@web” (“measures@web”, the Group’s system for documenting, following-up and assessing optimization measures) enables an interdisciplinary team of editors to disseminate examples of good practice throughout the Group. At “Ergonomics Days”, experts present ergonomic innovations from the locations. AUDI AG staged an ergonomics fair at its Neckarsulm plant as part of the “Wir für uns. Aktiv in die Zukunft” (“Helping ourselves. Preparing for an active future”) strategy. At Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant, meanwhile, an inaugural “Ergonomics Day” showcased sector-specific logistics solutions. Along with ergonomics in the production and logistics sectors, activities were also staged to foster office ergonomics. Examples include new lighting concepts and a teaching film on healthy postures for people with sedentary jobs.

The Chairless Chair makes many assembly activities easier. This high-tech carbon-fiber construction allows employees to sit without a chair. At the same time, it improves their posture and reduces the strain on their legs.

Free Health Checkups

The Checkup is a free, comprehensive preventive medical examination available at all locations in Germany and around the world. It helps maintain and improve the health, fitness and performance of the workforce. Employees value the high diagnostic quality of the checkups.

Checkups within the Volkswagen Group 2014

Show table
Company/country   Number of checkups in 2014  
Volkswagen AG/Germany 16,879
Volkswagen do Brasil/Brazil 8,385
Volkswagen de México S.A. de C.V./Mexico 4,050
Volkswagen Poznan´ Sp. z.o.o./Poland 1,103
Volkswagen Autoeuropa, Lda./Portugal 1,534
Volkswagen Navarra, S.A./Spain 2,652
Volkswagen Slovakia, a.s./Slovakia 1,529
Volkswagen Group South Africa/South Africa 1,570
Volkswagen Group of America
Chattanooga Operations/USA
Volkswagen Argentina S.A./Argentina 170
Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive/China 10,408*
AUDI AG/Germany 9,498
Porsche AG (Zuffenhausen, Weissach)/Germany 465
SEAT, S.A./Spain 11,117
ŠKODA AUTO a.s./Czech Republic 18,389

* The Checkup was adapted to local circumstances.

Prevention Measures

In 2014, we expanded the prevention and training provision linked with the Checkup, improved its quality and systematized it. In particular, we created and modernized medical training centers and fitness suites, introduced rehabilitation measures and health coaching, set up training on behavioral ergonomics, and launched new fitness and wellness programs. The “Fit im Büro” (“Fit in the Office”) program is a behavioral ergonomics program for employees working in an office environment, while its sister program, “Fit im Werk” (“Fit in the Factory”), aims to reduce physical stresses and strains on those working on the shop floor. Between May 2013 and June 2014, some 15,700 employees completed one of these programs at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. Across the Group, a holistic approach to health management also includes healthcare schemes, a wide range of sport and leisure provision, and measures such as the weight-loss and healthy eating campaign run by Volkswagen South Africa or the company run organized by MAN Truck & Bus in Munich.
As a matter of course, Volkswagen health services are available to the entire workforce, but for specific occupations, the current legislative framework makes such provision mandatory. In 2014, 20,924 Volkswagen AG employees were covered by such requirements.

Health Programs around the Group

Occupational Safety and Health Protection Policy

In 2004, the Volkswagen Group documented its underlying principles and obligations in relation to occupational health and safety in an agreement with the Group Global Works Council.
In 2014, the Group issued the corporate policy entitled “Occupational Safety and Health Protection in the Volkswagen Group”. This applies to all brands and companies and sets out underlying goals, responsibilities and standards in relation to occupational safety and health protection. At the same time, another document, the “Guidelines on Health Protection and Health Promotion in the Volkswagen Group” – a supplement to the corporate policy including concrete examples – was brought up to date. Both of these documents, the corporate policy and the guidelines, are due to be signed off in 2015.
The Volkswagen Group sets the same standards for work organization, occupational safety and health care for its employees no matter where in the world it operates, taking account of the local medical infrastructure and the local legislative framework in each case. Compliance with these globally applicable standards is monitored through audits conducted across the Group.

Raising Awareness and Training

In the course of personnel development activities, supervisors in the Company are being made aware of the need to take greater account of the links between leadership and employees’ health. Seminars foster a health-promoting and family-oriented style of leadership.
Since 2009, occupational safety officers at all German locations have been receiving occupational safety qualification. In addition, since early 2012, Volkswagen in Germany has been organizing compulsory qualification modules on occupational safety for all future supervisors. On the basis of these modules, the qualification building blocks for future Meister were standardized in 2013 and made a compulsory part of the group leader qualification.

Group Occupational Safety Management System 

On the basis of the Group’s occupational safety management system (KAMS), which was introduced in 2010, the companies in the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Division and the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Division analyzed their existing occupational safety structures and processes. The findings are available across the Group via a central database. A health and safety committee has been set up at each included site to represent the entire local workforce. Moreover, all those involved agreed to conduct a brand-specific audit at all Volkswagen locations around the world from 2012. During the reporting year, the Group’s occupational safety management system was successfully audited at São Carlos and Curitiba (Brazil), Pamplona (Spain) and Pacheco (Argentina).

Award-Winning Occupational Safety

Occupational Safety and Health Protection in Focus from the Outset at Audi México

Company Medical Services and Emergency Situation Management

Medical services and health care for Volkswagen Group employees are in line with national legislation and internal regulations as well as with Group guidelines on protecting and promoting health. All Group locations have at least emergency health provision, while most locations offer medical services under the oversight of a doctor.

Volkswagen AG’s Work2Work program creates new job opportunities for performance-impaired employees with the Company. In the Automotive Learnware department at the Wolfsburg plant, 39 employees develop and produce teaching and learning materials for the automotive sector for Chambers of Trade and vocational schools.

Rehabilitation Measures

In many locations we offer a tailored rehabilitation program to reintegrate employees after serious and/or long-term illness, providing early intervention and job-related support. The aim is to stabilize or restore the employees’ capacity and performance ability within three to six months. Depending on the particular needs in each case, the program can also include preventive provision. Examples here could be “JobReha” (one to three weeks of outpatient, day-care or in-patient measures focused on the problem zones in the locomotor system), the RehaFit program (orthopedic, psychological rehabilitation) and physiotherapy provision, as well as individual or general rehabilitation training at in-house training centers. Support and mentoring opportunities for employees with mental health or psychosomatic problems are also being expanded on an ongoing basis.
Volkswagen AG’s Work2Work program has been creating new job opportunities for performance-impaired employees since 2001. It focuses on achieving an optimal fit between the requirements of the workplace and employees’ existing potential, enabling them to make a major contribution to creating value despite their performance impairment. Over recent years, some 1,850 employees have benefited from the program, and over 810 people are now employed in Work2Work jobs in Wolfsburg in some 95 different fields of activity.
Based on the three principles of responsibility, autonomy and solidarity, the success story of Work2Work is being continuously rolled out and taken forward. Here, though, the Company is not merely proving itself a socially responsible employer, because according to a remarkable study entitled “Social Return on Investment”, conducted in 2014 in collaboration with the Catholic University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt, Volkswagen’s Work2Work program is also an economically viable concept for integrating employees with impaired capacity. It saves operational costs of around €29,000 per employee per year and savings on social and employment costs of up to €65,000 per employee per year once elements like potential disability pensions or transitional payments are also taken into account. Furthermore, the Work2Work program has been shown to bring qualitative benefits in terms of health and to have a positive impact on employees’ satisfaction with their work and lives.
The Automotive Learnware department at the Wolfsburg plant is a fine example of how performance-impaired employees can be integrated. Here, 39 employees develop and produce teaching and learning materials for the automotive sector for Chambers of Trade and vocational schools. No fewer than 25 performance-impaired employees under the Work2Work program form an integral part of the department, which generated sales revenue of €1.92 million in 2014. The product portfolio extends from fault simulators and test equipment to complete or cut-away training vehicles. Learnware is distributed in 57 countries across all five continents.

Provision for Older Employees

Successful Reintegration at Audi