KANBrief 1/09

The public-sector accident insurers: the new arrivals on board KAN

At the end of November 2008, the members of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) gave the green light for the German public-sector accident insurers to have their interests in the area of standardization represented by KAN in the future, as is already the case for the BGs, the institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the industrial sector.

The body responsible for KAN is the Association for the promotion of occupational safety in Europe (VFA). KAN receives 51% of its funding from the VFA, 49% from the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Up until now, the industrial BGs were the sole members of the VFA.

A new situation arose on 1 June 2007 owing to the merger between the HVBG (the Federation of Institutions for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention) and the BUK (the Central Federation of Public-Sector Accident Insurers), and the resulting formation of a new umbrella association, the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV). The consequence was that not all member institutions of the umbrella association of the statutory accident insurance system were also members of the VFA. It was therefore only logical for membership of the VFA to be opened up to the public-sector accident insurers.

To this end, the Member‘s Meeting of the DGUV held on 27-28 November in Fulda passed a resolution declaring the public-sector accident insurers’ accession to the VFA. Once the publicsector accident insurers have become members, the organs and committees of the VFA will be composed of the same individuals as those of the DGUV. The resolution is still subject to approval by the organs responsible for the individual public-sector accident insurers. However, it forms the basis for the latter to share the benefi ts of KAN‘s work.

Co-operation is already proven

The public-sector accident insurance institutions include 20 public-sector accident insurance funds and associations of municipal accident insurers, four fire services accident insurance funds, the accident insurance funds for the railways and for the postal and telecommunications services, and the Federal administration‘s own accident insurance fund. These institutions insure public-sector employees, schoolchildren, students, and further groups of persons such as The public-sector accident insurers: the new arrivals on board KAN SPECIAL workers in voluntary services (notably the voluntary fire services), and children in day-care. KAN has already supported the teams of specialists at the BUK, the Central Federation of Public Sector Accident Insurers, in a number of cases in the past. For example, comments have been formulated jointly on the subjects of emergency safety showers, lifting platforms for railway rolling stock, safety requirements in swimming baths, sterilizers in hospitals, laboratory fume cupboards, forestry machinery and chain saws. KAN was able to provide support in these cases, however, only because they concerned subjects which also affected the BGs for the industrial sector.

New tasks for KAN

Following enlargement of the VFA, KAN is now able to become active in further areas, for example with regard to subjects which fall within the responsibility of the “Education“ or “Fire services and emergency services“ expert committees. Together, these areas account for over half of the standardization activities of the public-sector accident insurers.

Public-sector accident insurance funds and local authority accident insurance associations are now able to submit comments to the European and international standardization processes via KAN. Should they identify a need for information and action concerning standards issues, they can present their concerns to the DGUV subdivision responsible for workplace safety and standardization, or to the KAN Secretariat.

Hans Gerd von Lennep