BfR makes its knowledge "easily accessible" to everyone
The websites of federal agencies must be barrier-free by the end of the year. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment is one of the first federal agencies and the first in the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture (BMVEL) to complete the necessary work. BfR scored 94 points in the compulsory test of the joint project "barrier-free information and communication". This means it considerably exceeded the 90 points stipulated by BMVEL. The President of BfR, Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, is very happy with this result, "The Internet is an important tool for our risk communication." Hensel added, "We attribute the utmost importance to making our knowledge and the results of our risk assessments "easily accessible" to everyone."
The German abbreviation “BIK“ stands for “barrier-free information and communication”. It is a joint project of German associations for the blind and visually impaired and D.I.A.S. GmbH (Data, Information systems and analyses in the social sphere). It is supported by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Security. The goal of the project is to make Internet offerings more easily accessible and to improve the workplace opportunities of handicapped people. Up to now, the work of the information providers on dismantling barriers was done on a voluntary basis. This situation will change for federal agencies on 31 December 2005: existing websites and offerings must then be barrier-free pursuant to the “Ordinance on the creation of barrier-free information technology in accordance with the Act on equal opportunities for the handicapped (BITV)”. BIK examines whether this is the case and classifies the offerings in line with the test result. The BfR offering has been rated “Easily accessible”.
In the comparison of federal agencies, BfR now ranks amongst those with the most easily accessible websites. It has succeeded in reconciling the stiff requirements to be met in terms of barrier-free status with the layout and functionality of the site. In order to achieve this BfR, together with the company T-Systems, who attended to the technical side to the BfR website, has made extensive changes. This work was rendered more difficult by the large volume of the site.
When it went online in May 2001, this Internet offering encompassed around 800 articles and documents. BfR now offers more than 5,000 articles and documents. The interest in the BfR website is growing steadily: in the first 10 months of 2004 396,000 users visited the site. In the first 10 months of 2005 this number climbed by almost 60 percent to 631,000.
The BfR website can be accessed on http://www.bfr.bund.de. If you would like to be regularly informed about the latest press releases, expert opinions or other BfR publications, you can put your name down on the mailing list by clicking on the link “Mail subscription”. Further information on BIK can be found on the Internet on http://www.bik-online.info.