Indo-German cooperation on Social Accident Insurance
Within the scope of Indo-German cooperation, two representatives of the “German Social Accident Insurance” (German: Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung, DGUV) visited India in March 2013 and held talks with several Indian partners. DGUV is the umbrella organisation of the social accident insurance institutions in Germany. Social insurance against workplace accidents and occupational diseases is one branch of the social security system in Germany.
In Delhi, the representatives of DGUV met the Labour Commissioner and the Additional Secretary Labour of NCT Delhi. The meetings focused on the exchange of best practices in occupational safety measures for employees in the industrial sector, specifically in the building and construction industries. In the course of discussions, it was decided that experiences in India and Germany on current Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) challenges will be presented at a joint event in Delhi in the near future.
At a meeting between the representatives from DGUV and the Employee's State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), details on insurance covering accidents at work in India and Germany were exchanged. An event and meeting of high level representatives of ESIC and DGUV on nationwide comprehensive coverage and strategies to bring employees back to work after workplace accidents is planned for October 2013.
The basis for cooperation with Indian partners in the field of OSH and social insurance against workplace accidents is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2010 by DGUV, the State of Maharashtra and the National Safety Council (NSC). The most important part of the cooperation is the exchange of knowledge and best practices in the field of OSH and social accident insurance. The signatories of the MoU identified the building and construction sector as one of the most dangerous divisions. As a result, several steps have been taken to improve work safety for Indian employees.
Enlarge image Representatives of the “German Social Accident Insurance” visited India in March 2013 (© Karl-Heinz Noetel) DGUV and the Indian partners jointly organised workshops for different target groups, such as state inspectors, employers’ and employees’ representatives or state institutions. The workshops enabled participants to discuss and try to find solutions to the most critical problems. In addition to this, contacts were established to ease cooperation not only during workshops and meetings, but also in daily work affairs.
One important outcome of the activities that have taken place so far can be seen in the fact that the government of Maharashtra has changed legislation on work safety for the construction sector. Due to the successful course of cooperation in Maharashtra, there is planning now for the establishment of another MoU with Delhi.
Furthermore, a joint event on construction safety at the national level, with participation of suppliers of safety equipment, is under discussion for 2014.
The engagement of DGUV in India can be considered a win-win situation for the concerned actors. It has an economic spin-off as well. As safety standards are raised, Indian and German producers, suppliers and dealers of safety and personal protective equipment can sell new products to improve safety at construction sites or other industries. At the same time Indian employees benefit from the implementation of safety measures and a lower rate of occupational accidents, while employers profit from uninterrupted production processes.
German companies investing in India and their employees in India also profit from equal OSH and social insurance standards. The cooperation fits in well in the overall framework of strategic partnership between India and Germany. DGUV profits from the collaboration as it enhances its knowledge on current challenges and developments in the field of OSH and insurance against workplace accidents; this gives the opportunity to test practices and approaches of the German system.
DGUV represents the interests of its members at the political as well as at the European and the international levels. In Germany, accident insurance covers all employees as well as students and children attending schools and universities. DGUV takes care of a total of about 76 million assured people. The costs of the accident insurance system are met by employers or the responsible public institutions. DGUV collaborates with countries all over the world with the aim to improve working conditions of employees. It also heads the Technical Commission on Insurance against Employment Accidents and Occupational Diseases of the International Social Security Association (ISSA).