“Our safety-first culture, focus on prevention, and in-depth training are delivering consistently safer workplaces for our people.”

Gradislav Gligorijevic
Head of Quality, Health and Safety


Zero harm: reduce accidents involving employees and contractors and achieve an LTA rate of 0.5, by 2025.

Corporate health and safety is a constant risk to manage; there is always more to be done to ensure workplace safety, for instance by improving near-miss reporting or reducing stress at work. Beyond the personal impact, any operations with sub-standard health and safety will be negatively affected financially.

Our long term goal is zero harm, and we are working to reduce the accident rate over the next three years using this new target. Since 2016 we have recorded fewer notifiable accidents, although, as a result of better safety reporting, we are recording more incidents overall. We are safer than the industry benchmark14, our standards have improved and risks continue to be minimised.

But accidents do still occur and clearly this is unacceptable, so we will continue to refine how we do things.

The ONE Safety initiative is the core behaviour and process safety framework that unites us all. We encourage all employees to use our new ‘near-miss’ system, with a goal of at least one near-miss reported per employee per month (the current company-wide rate is 1.2). All managers at all levels receive regular training to firmly anchor safety in everyday life. This complements the employees’ and contractors’ sense of responsibility at operational levels. This culture is underpinned by preventive risk assessment and occupational health and safety management systems certified to ISO45001 at all sites.

All new recruits must undertake in-depth safety training, and working safely from home is also covered. We run ‘6S’ safety days16, organise extensive site safety audits and visits, and work on specific targeted issues at any underperforming sites.

Employees’ and contractors’  collective behaviour is at the heart of ONE Safety, coupled with senior management accountability and oversight.

Our performance & target

 201820192020Target 2025

Lost Time Accident (LTA)

frequency rate15

14 Employers’ Liability Insurance Association for Wood and Metal 2015-2020.
15 Accidents per 200,000 hours worked.
16 ‘6S’ days add safety principles and practices to the well-known ‘5S’ principles of Sorting, Setting in order, Sustaining, Standardizing and Shining.

Case Study

Prevention is paramount

Safety measures involve either behaviour change or process change. An example of the latter is new hazard detection solutions which ensure operator safety in high-risk tasks such as sawing.

The ‘Hand Guard’ table saw is a stunning piece of high-technology which uses digital optical recognition and bespoke software to detect danger instantly, and stop the saw blade immediately. This new system both eliminates injury risk and maintains productivity.

Building on our safety management, employee welfare is naturally vital too. We safeguard the welfare of employees and contractors using consistent, formal programmes that ensure safe work environments and support emotional and mental wellbeing.

We recognise that there is an economic burden when employees experience stress or other work-related illness. That’s why welfare is anchored in fair employment terms and job security: employees working reasonable hours, who feel secure in their employment, and with adequate time off are more likely to thrive physically, emotionally, and mentally – in and outside work.

We comply with all applicable laws relating, for instance, to flexible work, bullying, and harassment. We have zero tolerance for harassment and bullying. Further, on COVID-19, we have so far invested around €1m on safety measures to protect staff, and, to date, nearly all staff have voluntarily received two vaccination injections. Our Business Conduct Guidelines and Pfleiderer Compliance System commit us to operate in compliance with the law and in line with our values.

We are fully committed to staff wellbeing, which comprises career development, labour rights, training, teambuilding, mentoring, and idea sharing.

All Pfleiderer sites provide access to medical care, including third-party support for employees affected by work-related mental health issues. Individual progress is our priority: we draw up customised employee development plans that value the employee as well as the needs of the company.

Employees can access health and fitness offers via our ‘Fit by Pfleiderer’ initiative in partnership with fitness studios, massage providers and swimming pools, all at reduced rates. Where possible, we also provide access to healthy eating options on site or within reasonable distance, and additional hydration is easily accessed on site when temperatures rise. These activities are supported by a strong drive to create smoke-free and alcohol-free workplaces and communal areas.

There is a strong sense of cohesion and family at Pfleiderer; a bond which we want to maintain. We aim to deliver a systematic and consistent delivery of policies and standards across all sites, and while much is being done already, this target will contribute further to a more environmentally restorative, socially just, and economically inclusive future.


Expand human capital management to diversify the pipeline of potential recruits, retain skilled employees, and improve career opportunities.

Human capital – our people and their energy – is the primary asset in the Pfleiderer Group. Our approach to human resources is founded on compliance, high standards, and efficiency. Overlaid on these is innovation. We need to be constantly creative in assuring a productive workforce now, and a talented pool of workers for the future.

Building on these foundations, we must ensure that every worker continues to have access to learning opportunities, career development and job security: vital ingredients to happiness and productivity at work.

There are just over 2.000 of us here, and we pride ourselves on a career system that offers employees interesting and challenging opportunities, the means to shape their careers to suit their individual professional requirements, and a syllabus of training courses.


                            2018  2019  2020

Gender (All)

Female                 347  340  329

Gender (top level management)

Male     37     38     44
Female                        5       7       6
Total     42     45     50


< 30 y  541  496  448
30 – 50 y               875  826  809
> 50 y  959  994  969



  109  104  108
Nationalities   39   37   34

Note: data currently exclude 40 staff in overseas sales offices

Employee wellbeing, a central part of our entire approach, is supported by health programmes, fitness offers, as well as engagement and feedback mechanisms. Employees tend to stay with us as a result of how we work.

Looking beyond the factory gate, being a good neighbour in Germany means being part of the local social fabric, seeking a positive impact beyond economic development. Social commitment is nonnegotiable for us. We help quietly where the need arises in the pursuit of support and solidarity with the people at and around our operations. Hearing how employees promote us as an employer justifies such efforts. We want to go further. We want this good approach to not only preserve our reputation as an ‘employer of choice’, but to expand the potential pool of skilled future engineers and operatives.

This target will be supported by additional per capita expenditure on training and development. It is about better cooperation with schools, more industry apprenticeships, more internships, more sharply focused Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) initiatives; and always in line with existing regional and local government support.

And it is also about diversifying the pool of candidates who could come to us; in the future labour markets, our business will compete with new types of jobs in other sectors, such as digital technology or healthcare. And so an inclusive working environment – free of discrimination – is fundamental to securing such a pipeline of talent, now and in the future.

Whilst the Pfleiderer Group complies with General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) in Germany to prevent or eliminate discrimination, we know that deepening the culture of inclusivity – bringing all voices to the table – will attract more diverse ideas, perspectives and backgrounds, all to the benefit of the business.

Once on board, all employees fall within the scope of our Diversity Policy. All employees are entitled to respectful, equitable treatment, regardless of characteristics17 such as age, gender, and sexual orientation, and ethnicity, country of origin, disability or socio-economic background. Consequently our approach to recruitment, pay, hiring, Performance assessment and promotions all aim for no discrimination, however unintentional it may be.

We are already delivering the Policy using compliance programmes, training, data collection, governance and accountabilities. We expect to formally assess all relevant opportunities to enhance our recruitment pipeline locally and regionally across all major types of diversity, with specific focus on engineering for young women.

Innovation in human capital management means being vigilant to ever-changing risk and opportunity, adopting creative methods to ensure equal opportunity for all.

Discrimination is often culturally entrenched, may take many forms, and may go unnoticed or unchallenged, but innovation can be as simple as inviting skilled people from immigrant communities to job interviews, reverse mentoring, or equal pay for equal work for men and women. Such adjustments can allow progress to a more just, healthy and equitable economy.

We look forward to further evolving how we keep the best talent, expand the pool of future recruits, and continuously improve our human capital strategy.


17 Protected characteristics are those covered by the international human rights legal framework under the United Nations. Protected characteristics sit within the broader category of personal characteristics, which include any other identifying factors, such as socio-economic background.

“Pfleiderer is known for its high-quality apprenticeships. That is why eight years ago I decided to do a dual study programme in business administration with a focus on marketing in Neumarkt.”

“The combination of theory and practice was a great opportunity. At the same time, I was supported in the company with projects and in-depth insights into all areas. After three years, I was offered a job in marketing at Pfleiderer.“

“There I was given the opportunity to train as a social media manager, and later to become a vocational instructor, supporting other young people on their career paths.”

Diana Bachmeier
Social Media Manager

Effective governance for a clear direction

Robust and effective corporate governance arrangements ensure a clear direction for the business, an effective Management Board, and a robust management approach to the things matter.


We aim to prevent fraud and other unethical practices by setting a strong, ethical ‘tone from the top’.

The target in the field of governance is for all employees and contractors to abide by the terms of our Business Conduct Guidelines and our Compliance System.

Our way of working aims for zero deviation from the Guidelines. Our compliance system instructs us to prevent unwanted outcomes, recognise issues when they arise and apply appropriate responses where required.

Strategic commercial and ESG ambitions are supported by formal management systems. Pfleiderer Deutschland GmbH has an integrated management system for quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001), energy (ISO 50001) and safety (ISO 45001), as well as chain of custody (FSC and PEFC). A management handbook contains all regulations concerning our corporate duty of care, the quality management of our products, energy efficiency, and the protection of our employees and the environment. The manual also applies to the subsidiaries Heller Holz GmbH and JURA-Spedition GmbH.

For Pfleiderer, stakeholder- and value-oriented corporate governance is the basis of modern and transparent corporate management. It sets the framework for our self-image as a company and our sustainable success.“

Dr. Frank Hermann

CEO / Chairman of the Management Board


For more on governance please visit our website, pfleiderer.com

If you wish to submit a concern via the whistle-blowing system, please visit the dedicated website.

Stakeholder engagement

We engage with external parties in the development of our position on key environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts.

Policy and standards advocacy

We run a comprehensive programme of engagement and advocacy with regulatory and advisory bodies working on key issues in our industry.

At the European level, we engage primarily through our membership of the European Panel Federation (EPF), and at the national level via Germany’s Wood Based Panel Industry Federation (VHI). We are Board members of both organisations, and are part of several working groups. For example, EPF task forces are working on issues like formaldehyde, waste wood, raw material, the Industrial Emissions Directive, and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

We are actively involved via the EPF in the EU’s New European Bauhaus alliance, Club du Bois and Renovation Wave which, together, are exploring the potential of new build in wood to create a valuable additional carbon sink. This aligns well with the European Green Deal18 to make buildings less carbon intensive over their full life cycle and more sustainable while applying the circularity principles to building renovation to reduce materials-related greenhouse gas emissions for buildings.

In addition we provide regular, active and strategic Board-level engagement on scientific, technical and quality matters with the International Association for Technical Issues Related to Wood (iVTH), The Quality Association for Wood-based Materials (QG HWS), and the Institut für Holztechnologie Dresden (IHD).

We engage with the European Woodworking Industry Confederation (CEI-Bois) via our membership of the EPF, and we are a member of CEI-Bois component organisation, the Association of German Woodworking Industries (HDH), and BASAJAUN, which conducts research on sustainable wood supply chains.

Additional engagement

Each day we have detailed conversations with customers about technical product development, market demands, commercial strategy and retail consumer trends. We offer a range of digital tools to make the customer’s task easier in a variety of ways, from selecting wood-based materials, and then using them in designs, project planning, visualisation and implementation.

These tools are increasingly sophisticated and aligned with the needs of architects and other stakeholders (click here for an example in Building Information Modelling). We consult with current and prospective institutional investors on material ESG topics using financial reports, presentations, ratings, sustainability linked finance briefings, and our financial news channel.

Employees indicate that Pfleiderer operates with a strong sense of unity. Extensive engagement and communication has helped achieve this, alongside the open channels available to them to share concerns when things do not go to plan. Specifically on safety, we conduct risk assessments and extensive safety training for employees and contractors. Such constant engagement ensures people are safe and business is successful.

Additional communications on-site support this engagement, the target audiences for which include all visitors, service providers and industrial contractors.

The net result of the ongoing engagement activity is collective knowledge to inform decisions relating to regulatory compliance as well as sustainability/ESG strategy and reporting development.

Our contribution to the global goals

Our engagement with government and policy development institutions, and our alignment with performance frameworks, norms and external codes of conduct is part of our  rive – and that of our industry – to improve overall corporate sustainability performance.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched by the United Nations in 2015 with ambitious targets to address major global issues – from ending poverty to tackling climate change.

Pfleiderer contributes to the targets under a number of SDGs because we are part of the circular economy, we serve the construction industry, and our high-grade products are an effective store of carbon.

The primary SDGs to which we contribute

Other SDGs which our business directly supports

Read more about sustainability at Pfleiderer

These topics may also be of interest to you: