Editorial - VGB PowerTech Journal 12/2018

Safety & Health – Something new old?

Occupational safety and health protection have always a high priority in power generation – safety comes first, prevention is an important commodity, health protection creates trust. Together they are important aspects of a living corporate culture, also for the external impact of the industry, in an environment in which specialists are strongly courted and it is important to attract them. VGB PowerTech took up the great interest in this topic at an early stage. The event “Emder Workshop Offshore Windenergieanlagen – Arbeitsmedizin” (Emder Workshop Offshore Wind Turbines – Occupational Medicine), which is well established in the industry, is a good example of VGB´s activities. Another VGB activity is the “VGB Safety & Health Award”, which was established a few years ago to further strengthen the topic among companies and their employees. This year’s award winner, LEAG, and its implementation and programmes are reported on in this issue of VGB POWERTECH – successes count and pay off.

But can we sit back and relax? Have all tasks in occupational health and safety already been completed? The answer is “No” – occupational safety and health protection are a topics with sustainability and a whole series of challenges. Prevention in occupational health and safety and expected continuous changes due to the new legal framework.

New rules and regulations mean new tasks for all those involved in occupational safety and health. European requirements, which increasingly determine our live, can be supplemented and thus rebalanced by a subordinate national body of rules and regulations. Here it is necessary to actively shape. This special task is also set by the VGB. VGB support the member companies in actively taking up and implementing the requirements in occupational health and safety. Employers are in demand: They must identify and assess hazards, recognise interactions between individual hazards and derive necessary measures. The activities and experiences of the past two decades with their considerable regulatory changes in this field show that VGB offers a suitable platform here. VGB has supported its member companies in implementing the legal requirements wherever possible. In this context, it was also examined whether and in what form the VGB regulations could be supplemented. Another major challenge for the VGB was to participate in the German occupational health and safety strategy in close coordination with professional associations and representative associations. Finally, the VGB has created suitable benchmarks in occupational health and safety for the industry. The implementation of all these processes is coordinated and controlled by the VGB committees.

The VGB will become involved in the further process at many levels and with numerous activities. It will of course actively contribute the position of the industry to further developments. This applies to both, national and international committees.

In view of these extensive tasks in occupational health and safety, we certainly cannot sit back and relax. But our experience and successes in this area to date are encouraging. The space left by politicians for arrangements should therefore be used and the challenges seen as an opportunity.