Health and safety

Part of the non-financial report
NfR: Employee health and safety


As an employer, the KION Group is responsible for the health and safety of its employees. It focuses on preventing accidents and occupational illnesses as much as possible, as well as safeguarding each individual’s long-term capacity to work. A dedicated action field in the KION sustainability strategy underscores the significance of occupational health and safety to the company.

Based on the experience and assessments of the KION HSE experts, particular emphasis is placed on the areas that pose comparatively higher risks to employees’ health and safety. These include the foundry, assembly of facilities and deployments to customer sites. In the year under review, the experts paid particular attention to the latter at the annual HSE conference of the sales and service units, as the KION Group has only limited scope to influence the general conditions there. This increases the likelihood of workplace accidents, as happened in 2018.

Local legal and organisational conditions are always considered when implementing any measures; no uniform Group-wide procedure is established. In accordance with KION’s safety culture, all employees have the right and duty to withdraw from hazardous work situations. They can also report identified risks. Different processes and instruments are available in the individual units for this purpose.

Employees are always involved in occupational safety issues, for example in risk and accident analyses or in the respective works council committees on occupational safety. Over 90 per cent of the Group’s employees are represented by health and safety employee committees. The functioning and responsibilities of employee committees vary according to local circumstances, such as country-specific legislation, which is why KION has not established any Group-wide regulation. The processes and instruments used to analyse workplace accidents and identify potential for improvement vary depending on the unit and characteristics of the incident under investigation.

Virtually all (over 99 per cent) KION employees are trained in occupational health and safety topics. Across the company, different forms of training are used to suit requirements – with each employee receiving training at least once a year. Another goal is to ensure that every new employee receives appropriate training already on their first day at work. In addition, a special module on occupational health and safety was recently introduced as part of the KION Group’s regular executive training programme.

Via its Social Intranet, KION also raises its employees’ awareness of occupational health and safety topics. It provides Safety Alerts concerning recent developments as well as practical tips. Related activities were further intensified in the year under review.

KION also involves its business partners, suppliers and guests in its measures. In principle, all visitors to a KION location are firstly familiarised with safety instructions. Furthermore, suppliers working on site are instructed, controlled and, to a certain extent, audited. Safety aspects, such as the existence of a management system, are already considered in the supplier selection process.

The KION HSE policy sets out the framework for the Group’s activities in the field of health, safety and environment (see section on Environment). It commits the KION Group, among other things, to provide and maintain a safe working environment that allows employees to protect themselves from risks and accidents. The Group policy is supplemented by the operating units’ and Group companies’ additional guidelines.

The Group-wide HSE network of experts ensures knowledge is shared and best practices rolled out throughout the Group. Once a year, the HSE programme owners at the company’s plants and sales and service units meet. Regular conference calls further support the information exchange. Plants also have a set date on which to discuss the current accident situation.

Minimum HSE standards for all organisational units

The implementation of Group-wide HSE Minimum Standards was continued in the reporting period. The greatest priority was given to implementing the top 20 measures identified in the previous year. By 2020, the management systems of each relevant unit are to be fully certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001 or equivalent standards. This was initially planned for 2019. The extension of the deadline accommodates the greater complexity of the organisation, which resulted in particular from the inclusion of the Dematic locations. Irrespective of the OHSAS 18001 certification of the units, the KION Group HSE Management System covers all people employed at KION. (Table 21)

In the reporting year, there were 2,043 local internal audits (2017: 1,489) and 78 external audits (2017: 88) in the field of occupational health and safety. In addition to these, nine central HSE audits were performed within the KION Group (Table 22). 

Occupational health & safety management system certification status


Table 21

Percentage certified

OHSAS 18001*



2018: 363 locations considered; 2017: 360 locations considered


or equivalent standard

Plants & Administration



Sales & Services






Results of KION Group occupational health and safety audits 2012-2018

Table 22


Current Audit

Previous Audit


Basis: 20 plants + initial audit for 5 plants

Basis: 20 plants

Basis: 20 plants

Results reflect the level of fulfilment of the defined audit criteria (max. 100 percent).

Average result




Data collection ensures targeted health and safety management

Data and figures on occupational health and safety are regularly collected and evaluated throughout the Group. They form the basis for the Group-wide management of health and safety issues. The KPIs collected are the illness rate (called health rate until 2017) and the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR). Reporting about accident frequency was expanded to include a Group-wide accident report to help ensure the greatest possible transparency with regard to accident protection at all times.

In the reporting year, 224,300 working days were lost within the KION Group due to accidents or illness, taking the illness rate to 2.8 per cent (2017: 2.8 per cent).

At 10.8, the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate increased slightly in 2018 (2017: 10.3). In the year under review, the KION Group recorded 640 Lost Time Injuries (2017: 583), i.e. work-related accidents with one or more working days lost. In addition, there were 1,594 minor injuries (2017: 1,458) and 146 commuting accidents (2017: 188). There was also one fatal work accident.

Based on these indicators, clear objectives have been defined. The LTIFR is to stabilise at a value below ten. The limit value for the illness rate stands at 3.3 per cent; actual values have been lower for years. Achievement of the objectives is ensured by consistent follow-up through monthly reporting and inclusion in the annual management report. HSE certifications and systematic audits ensure that all relevant data on health, safety and environmental issues is available in the required quality at all times and that corrective action can be taken quickly if necessary. A regular review of interim objectives for the following three years in the fiscal year 2018 did not reveal any need for adjustment. Various sites launched specific programmes to improve the accident frequency rate or illness rate.

HSE motivation: KION HSE Championship

With the KION HSE Championship, the KION Group underscores the importance of occupational health and safety as well as environmental protection throughout the Group. The competition, first introduced in 2014, creates additional incentives for employees to deal with these important issues. Teams from across the KION organisation can submit projects and measures that contribute significantly to greater safety and improve health and environmental protection.

In 2018, 47 teams from around the world took part in the championship, submitting 1,018 suggestions for improvement. The proposed initiatives ranged from targeted communication measures to improve occupational safety to specific proposals for improvements in the workplace and suggestions for energy savings.

Systematic promotion of health protection

Preventive measures are the top priority in employee health promotion. The goal is to preserve the employees’ ability to work so that they can retire in good health after a long working life.

Therefore, as many employees as possible should have fast and easy access to medical care.

As at the end of the reporting year, 78 per cent of employees had access to a plant doctor. Over 87 per cent of employees were able to benefit from occupational health examinations. Voluntary health measures were available to 70 per cent of employees, with health training courses offered to a comparable number of employees.

Prevention also includes providing employees with practical information on health risks. This is why seminars on relevant health topics and health protection are offered on an ongoing basis. The KION Group also encourages its employees to exercise wherever possible and to visit fitness facilities.