The accident insurance institutions are responsible, in a variety of ways, for occupational safety and health within companies. Labour inspectors provide advice to and surveillance of companies in this area. In the event of an occupational accident or disease, the BGs work closely with hospitals and doctors in private practice. The BGs maintain their own clinics, which are specialized in the rehabilitation of accident victims and persons with occupational diseases.
The services begin with primary medical care. They extend, where necessary, through rehabilitation to compensation in the form of a pension. Resources are also available for social and occupational rehabilitation. The principle is that rehabilitation takes priority over pensions: the best possible rehabilitation measures are to be used in order for affected persons to be enabled to return to their professions, and to retain their independence and as much control as possible over their own lives.
The DGUV umbrella association, the German Social Accident Insurance
The institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention (BGs) and the public-sector accident insurers (UKs) are members of the DGUV (the "German Social Accident Insurance"), the umbrella association which represents their interests, for example at political level. In addition, the DGUV supports its members in all issues of a generic nature, develops common measures for prevention, promotes the ongoing development of rehabilitation, and addresses new methods and approaches in initial and further training.
Last but not least, the DGUV maintains its own three research institutes in Sankt Augustin, Bochum and Dresden, which are specialized in the complex causal relationships between occupational exposure and health risks. In addition, suitable projects conducted by third parties are sponsored by a programme of research funding.