• project abba

abba - Workplace stress and threats in job centres under Hartz IV

Source: grafikdesign-weber.de

The abba project was a joint project established by German social accident insurance institutions for the public sector, and focused on the specific demands and threats that face job centre employees when dealing with clients.

Named after the German acronym for "workplace stress and threats in job centres under Hartz IV", the abba project saw five German social accident insurance institutions for the public sector jointly examine both the specific demands placed on job centre employees when dealing with clients and related threats. Those threats were documented using various instruments and used as a basis for the identification of areas of prevention focus and action. Institution-specific measures in the form of consulting, employee circles, targeted training (e.g. de-escalation training) and structural modifications to job centres themselves were matched to the areas identified and implemented in cooperation with the police and with the support and participation of the participating German social accident insurance institution.

The abba project made significant contributions to reductions in work-related health hazards and the protection of employees from attack. This was ensured its constant attention to both the general exposure of employees to stressful situations and the specific demands and threats that faced them as a result of continuous client contact.

A corporate policy of "No violence in the workplace" provided the framework for the management-level determination and implementation of prevention measures at the job centres, and includes the following core elements:

  • Zero tolerance towards aggressors;
  • Protection of employees;
  • Pressing charges in the event of offences;
  • Documentation of incidents