Many aspects of occupational medical health checks, such as the method, the comprehensiveness and sequence of the examinations, are determined by legal requirements and by the regulations of the Institution for Statutory Insurance.
Occupational medicine deals with the overall spectrum of interactions between people, industry and environment. Prevention is a key principle of occupational medicine. Our respective goal is "zero" work-related diseases. By regular plant and workplace inspections, important information is collected. Professional risk analyses form the basis of the final occupational medical evaluation, from which improvements may be derived.
Ideally, the expert knowledge of occupational medicine is already used during the planning stage of technical and organizational innovations. In this regard, we can refer to the BASF Group Directive “Safety, Health and Environment Protection (SHE) at Planning and Construction of Process Plants”. As occupational physicians, we are focused on causes – and not effects – of factors that may damage health. With preventive measures, we aim for maximum risk prevention and health promotion.
Early diagnosis of occupational diseases can strongly influence one’s personal fate. For example, certain aromatic amine compounds were formerly used in the chemical industry, which were found to be a potential cause of cancer of the urinary system. Former and active employees who have handled these substances are monitored frequently in a preventive health program. The early diagnosis of these diseases allows timely specialized and curative medical treatment. During occupational medical health checks, often other health problems are detected, which are non-work-related, but should nonetheless be treated. These are predominantly conditions like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, or diabetes. A consultation for the employee and recommendations for follow-up treatment, such as a referral to the family doctor, are a part of each health check thus being the basis of individual prevention.
Although occupational health physicians primarily deal with the overall interaction between work and health, our employees frequently have general inquiries and concerns related to their personal health.
We do not want to and are not allowed to substitute the reliable external health care system of family doctors and specialists. However, we treat acute health ailments and provide individual health examinations complementing the external efforts.
We value a trustful collaboration with all external colleagues, with whom we discuss our findings, should the employee request us to do so.
We offer targeted preventive medical examinations. These are, for example, follow-up examinations for those who have historically been exposed to certain hazardous substances, which are beyond the obligations of occupational medicine defined by law. In addition, regular examinations of shift workers were introduced based on a BASF employer/works council agreement, long before it became a legal obligation.
All BASF employees will be offered a regular BASF Health Check so that personal health risks can be recognized and diseases can be diagnosed at an early stage. The earlier this takes place, the easier it is to prevent and treat.
Another service that we offer are preventive health checks for BASF senior executives (SEAP: Senior Executive Annual Physical), a comprehensive examination that usually lasts less than three hours. Such checks are also available to BASF employees from abroad who are staying in the Ludwigshafen headquarters on business.
In a globalized company like BASF, travel medicine has a key function in informing and protecting BASF employees traveling on business and expatriates with their families who find themselves in various countries around the globe where there can be specific health risks such as tropical diseases.
Our consultants provide accurate information about the health risks when traveling to these particular regions. Each traveler is also checked if he/she is adequately immunized.
All vaccinations that are required or recommended for particular countries around the world are administered in the Occupational Medical and Health Protection Department. This department is also recognized as an accredited center for the administration of the yellow fever vaccine. A personalized traveler's medicine kit can also be prepared, when requested.
In addition, employees who travel to a country in the tropics receive a brochure about relevant information and basic rules to follow when staying in such regions.
The health care systems abroad do not always correspond to Central European standards. In particular, the lack of medical services can be problematic during a serious acute illness or an accident. In such cases, the Occupational Medical and Health Promotion Department can be contacted to assist and to coordinate the necessary measures that need to be taken.
We also have close contact with international emergency rescue organizations, so that qualified medical transportation to a country with professional medical services can be coordinated, if needed.
In the event of a regional epidemic such as SARS or avian flu, information about the current situation is always available on our intranet site.
Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common causes of lost work time.
In order to help our employees with such problems, we offer in-house physical therapy without having them to travel far, wait long or face other inconveniences. Qualified physiotherapists and masseurs are available by appointment for any one of their specialized services.
The prevention of musculoskeletal disorders has recently gained more and more importance. Our ErgoPhysConsultants, specially trained physiotherapists, provide support in this area. They offer consulting advice to employees and plants regarding ergonomic workplace design or improvements in special work situations.
Employees with a disability or who are severely handicapped require the company’s special protection.
Therefore, we closely cooperate with the BASF Commission for Handicapped Employees, which specifically supports these people.
After a long illness, we assist in introducing the employee - gradually and under medical supervision – back to work. In cases where the employee has lost important functions, we see to it that the workplace or the working hours are adapted accordingly.
We offer occupational consulting to employees whose work must be reassigned due to health problems. In addition, we work jointly with parties within and outside of BASF and offer the following spectrum of services: consultations concerning work-related health problems, arrangement for rehabilitation in adapted health resorts for handicapped employees, support services for employees with handicapped children, assessment of the expected degree of disability for the application for financial compensation at the Office of Social Affairs.