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Company News, 2012-11-19, 03:00 PM

ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel receives “German Business Award for Health”

The electrical steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel GmbH was today presented with the special “German Business Award for Health” (industry category) in Berlin by the BKK Federal Association. The award honors the efforts made by the company, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe with 1,350 employees, to prevent chronic illnesses as part of its corporate health management (CHM) system. “This award is both recognition and an incentive for us. It confirms we are on the right track,” said a delighted Dr. Jörg Augustin, head of the company medical service at ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel. “Public recognition is important as it also raises awareness among other companies about the immensely important issue of health management.”

Health: Highly important

The company was presented with the judges’ special award for the range of high-quality components offered to employees by its health management system – for example a company restaurant certified by the German Nutrition Society, its own medical practice focusing on nutritional medicine, a CHM bonus agreement with health insurance associations and an independent health report. The company has also created an outstanding framework for further improving its health management system through company agreements, a steering committee and targets based on performance indicators.

One example of the system in practice is the company’s anonymous employee survey carried out every two years at its sites in Bochum and Gelsenkirchen. It includes questions on well-being and health, and response rates are high. The identified problems are discussed in focus groups, a catalog of measures is prepared and then evaluated two years later in a new survey. The CHM team initiates and supports the activities. The

general conditions and overall concept behind the activities were certified by TÜV Nord Cert in a management-related system audit in summer 2012. As part of its behavioral prevention program, ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel focuses primarily on the prevention of obesity and musculoskeletal disorders. Two measures have been established to this end.

Focus on diet

As a first step toward raising employee awareness about a balanced diet, the company restaurant in Bochum was certified to German Nutrition Society guidelines and the “JOB&FIT” menu line established. A personal dietary advice service was launched in parallel as part of the “BDEM practice specializing in nutritional medicine” certified by the “Association of German Nutritional Physicians” (BDEM). Close cooperation between the individual employees and the team, which comprises a nutritionist, a dietary expert and a sports scientist, is central to this practice. “Participation in a personal dietary advice program motivates employees strongly and is significantly more effective than participation in a nutritional education course due to the personal approach and support,” explains Augustin.

Focus on backs

In view of the numerous musculoskeletal disorders that exist, ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel a pilot project to provide strengthening exercises at work. An initial analysis comprised an in-depth consultation and tests to establish the maximal isometric strength of employees’ stomach and back muscles. On the basis of the results, the company initiated a targeted training program employing fitness equipment, comprising 24 units and taking place once or twice at week on-site during working time. The program also included a control group. In comparison with the control group, those taking part in the program showed improvements in their back/stomach muscles and also their maximal strength over the period between the initial and final analyses. The number of complaints of back pain also fell.

As a result of the improvement in performance indicators, both measures are now an integral part of ThyssenKrupp Electrical Steel’s health management system. In the future, the company plans to focus on “personal advice and measures” in its activities to improve behavioral prevention and promote a healthy lifestyle among employees.

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