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The ongoing comprehensive economic and social changes make it essential to conduct a thoroughgoing redefinition of goals and approaches in BAuA's field of operations - as in the other areas of government action. Furthermore the considerable restrictions to which financial and human resources are subject are forcing BAuA to concentrate on the essentials and to adopt new forms of coordination and co-operation.
The new strategic focusing and the quality management are aimed at ensuring efficient use of the resources and they strengthen BAuA's role as a major actor in the national, European and international field of "safety and health at work" (OSH).
The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is a governmental research institution which advises the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in all matters of safety and health and of the humane organisation of work.
As a federal institution with R&D functions the Federal Institute operates at the interface between science and politics and provides transfer from the science into policy, corporate practice and the broader society and vice versa. BAuA's tasks range from policy advice, the performance of sovereign duties and transfer into corporate practice through to the educational and instructional work done by DASA. BAuA's special features include expertise that can be called upon at short notice and the ability to deal with long-term questions in an ongoing way.
The basis of BAuA's scientific competence and reputation, which are essential to carry out its tasks appropriately, is high-grade research and development which provides interdisciplinary and solution-oriented links between the resources available.
BAuA's research concentrates on a strategy-based programme research and systematic activities for the predictive scientific analysis of relevant trends and developments in the framework of safety and health at work ("forecast of emerging risks").
BAuA's future research programme is geared to the long term (5-10 years) and is oriented towards topics arising from the changes in the world of work:
Research activities are basically carried out by BAuA's scientists. External research and development expertise should be used as a complementary element within the internally based projects, but not as a substitute for the institute's own activities. Larger projects with closely harmonised sub-projects are invariably given priority over a large number of small, unconnected projects running parallel to one another.
Research is conducted in a regular discourse between colleagues, which provides one of the main forms of quality management. The disciplinary and interdisciplinary expert exchange within BAuA and with the scientific community as a specialist reference system will be strengthened. Strategic co-operations with national and foreign institutions enhance the discourse with third parties.
BAuA's development activities tackle contemporary questions of policy, the formulation of the legal framework in the European and national contexts, corporate practice and new knowledge gained through research. On the basis of the current state of scientific knowledge they incorporate these into target-group-appropriate solutions/products on a short to medium term basis (1 to 3 years).
The main focus of BAuA's development work relate to:
Development activities are conducted in close collaboration with the target groups / future users or they are accompanied by external project advisory groups. Previous, smaller individual developments are merged to larger strategic lines of development. It is intended that these lines of development are identifiable externally as "BAuA brand" products.
The development activities, which have a broader thematic range than BAuA's field of research, are controlled through a multi-stage decision-making process. At the individual decision-making stages established criteria (benefit for occupational safety and health, need, economic efficiency etc.) are applied to decide on the implementation and continuation of a project, from the project idea through to market effectiveness. The decision-making process can also be applied to development activities within the context of political initiatives and programmes.
BAuA's core task as a federal institute with R&D functions is to provide scientific policy advice. For this purpose it provides the governmental departments with scientifically sound and purposefully prepared knowledge to enable them to take political decisions. In addition to providing direct policy advice, BAuA participates in the opinion-forming process in the wider society in all matters of safety and health as well as the humane organisation of work.
In the consultancy process on how to approach the challenges of the changing world of work the main concern is to integrate the core competencies of BAuA in the field of safety and health at work in a wider social and socio-economic context. In view of its expertise BAuA can thus provide specific contributions when it comes to solving challenges of social policy, such as demographic change or the creation of precarious working conditions.
The target group for the advice given on general challenges of social policy is in particular the political level of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).
Scientific advice in matters of specialist policy primarily takes the form of expert opinions, comments, concepts, reports and analyses and of participation in committees which directly influence political decisions. By establishing reliable standards, for example in the process of creating technical regulations and of technical standardisation, BAuA makes a major contribution to strengthening Germany's position as hub of industrial activities.
The advice on specialist political questions is aimed at the departments and specialist sections of the BMAS and BMU as well as national, European and international bodies.
Being a think tank BAuA acts as a neutral and professionally independent research institution in the discourse in the wider society. The suitable instruments here are publications, press activities, exhibitions and events.
In addition to its actual policy advice, BAuA provides services to the specialist governmental departments. For example BAuA assists with the operative implementation of governmental programmes and campaigns and performs the executive function in bodies, committees and initiatives.
Policy advice needs adequate resources for the development of specific, high quality advisory services. It requires high specialist, methodological and social expertise on the part of the acting individual and constant quality management within the organisation. In view of this, it is essential to develop "standards of good policy advice" for BAuA. Successful policy advice, however, also assumes a high level of communication between the governmental departments and BAuA when establishing the content, nature and scope of the advisory and other services. On the one hand there must be a consultation system which accords with the budget cycles (long-term horizon) and an ongoing planning system with respect to short-term requirements.
BAuA, like other governmental research institutions, has been assigned sovereign duties which arise from the government's protective duty with respect to citizens or the environment. Given the high degree of commitment involved, these constitute one of the most important instruments in the application of specialist standards in practice. The major elements are the statutory tasks in the enforcement of provisions under chemicals legislation, support for the authorities responsible for market surveillance and the information and notification obligations in the area of product safety, as well as the securing of documents in the health data archive of the Wismut Company.
In performing its sovereign duties, BAuA must keep up to date with the latest state of science and technology. Its own research and development together with research co-operations and an international exchange of experience are prerequisites for the conduct of risk assessments at the highest level.
One important aspect of the sovereign duties is the competent and neutral consultancy for companies in the proper fulfilment of their obligations as addressees of standards, something that is in increasing demand. Given the significance of these consultancy services, the task must be supported as a matter of priority by means of a professional transfer of knowledge.
An important internal challenge in the context of the sovereign duties is the continuous optimisation of the requisite operations and processes. The infrastructure needed for this must be made available and developed continuously. Increasingly rigorous requirements with respect to specialist involvement on the different levels and the establishment of new competencies must be backed by an appropriate provision of resources.
Transfer is the need-oriented and practice-appropriate transmission of statutory regulations and science-based methods in the form of practical guidelines and information for companies and consulting institutions. It includes the preparation of the subject matter for the specific target groups and the creation of suitable distribution routes.
The provision and targeted transfer of know-how is essentially controlled by current developments in policy (changes to laws, rules, ordinances, initiatives etc.) and by the sovereign duties, and it is sustained in particular by the development of specific products.
Transfer activities are an integral component of all product developments by BAuA and must be taken into account from the beginning. By maintaining close contact with its stakeholders and by evaluation and market research, BAuA develops the products according to target group needs and distributes them by using appropriate marketing approaches.
The transfer activities are broken down into occasional, temporary campaigns for changing target groups and an ongoing service for "regular customers", such as the establishment-specific institutions, multipliers and actors, plus establishment-based experts for safety and health at work (specialist for occupational safety and health, occupational physicians, where relevant human resources management).
Companies and workers are approached directly in temporary campaigns in relation to specific topics and target groups. For this purpose appropriate marketing concepts must be planned and evaluated within the framework of the lifecycle of each product.
In the answering of general enquiries, professional knowledge management must ensure the efficiency and, at the same time, adequately quality-assured availability of information.
The requirements imposed on the transfer are in particular quality management, the setting up of direct marketing for the target groups in policy and corporate practice, the establishment of an appropriate and regular evaluation of the activities, the reinforcement and systematic reformulation of qualifications and the setting up of a centralised BAuA event management.
As an interactive educational institution and one of the few large exhibition organisations concerned with the world of work, the DASA Working World Exhibition provides a didactic experience and learning venue at which preventive notions and actions are imparted.
With its method of informal and non-formal learning, its teaching expertise covers mainly orientation knowledge as well as knowledge relating to identity and action. It thus complements BAuA's range of qualification services with a self-sufficient component. The thematic principle at the DASA is the triad of man - work - technology.
The science-based education and knowledge transfer is achieved in the form of public relations in three areas of action, all of which interact with one another and which demand a high level of organisation:
DASA's main clientele consists of young people, teachers and families, plus experts and multipliers in the field of occupational safety and health. In order to expand the body of visitors and intensify the knowledge transfer, DASA is endeavouring to establish co-operations with cross-regional educational bodies and training centres. It will develop instruments to enhance the attractiveness of the exhibition as a place of learning in particular with a view to corporate learning processes and to integrating it in the school curriculum.