Musculoskeletal disorders and diseases are the most common reasons for sick leave in Germany. High physical workload causes and modifies such disorders and diseases and maybe reduced by risk analysis, risk evaluation and determination of appropriate preventive measures and their implementation. For this purpose, appropriate risk assessment methods are required.
Within the framework of the MEGAPHYS joint project, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) and the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) cooperated to develop a set of methods at different levels of risk assessment of physical workload (screening level, expert level, measurement-based analysis, laboratory measurements and simulation). The results are published in two volumes.
Volume 1 - published by the BAuA - contains the consensus-derived approach of assessment of work-related risk of adverse health effects as well as the description of the prevalent archetypes of workload including the relation to the main outcome regions.
Expert consultations as well as a literature review and analysis of data bases confirmed the demand of risk assessment methods for these archetypes of workload. Within the multi-level-method approach, the BAuA, the Institute of Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomics e.V. (ASER), the ArbMedErgo Consultant B. Hartmann, and the Ergonomics Consultant U. Steinberg (ebus) redesigned and newly developed six Key Indicator Methods (KIM) as screening methods. The methods have been tested and modified during pre-studies in 40 companies: manual lifting, holding and carrying of loads; manual pulling and pushing of loads; manual handling operations; whole-body forces; awkward body postures; and body movement.
In Volume 1, the major part deals with the comprehensive examination of different quality criteria (face validity, reliability, convergent validity, criterion validity or content validity regarding hypotheses testing). For this purpose, a cross sectional field study was carried out in different companies. The data were also used for analyzing the criterion validity on the level of expert screening and measurement-based analysis. In addition, users tested the KIM in several workshops. A draft for risk assessment of combined exposures of physical workload during the entire working shift completes the methods.
Six redesigned and newly developed KIMs are available as the main result of development as screening methods. They passed the comprehensive examination of quality criteria, and they are approved for the use in practice. There is additional need of proving with regard to few aspects. The experience from practical application in workplaces will contribute to further development of the methods.
Please download the complete report "MEGAPHYS - Multilevel risk assessment of physical workload" (in German only).
MEGAPHYS - Mehrstufige Gefährdungsanalyse physischer Belastungen am Arbeitsplatz. Band 1.
1. edition. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2019. pages 986, Project number: F 2333, paper, PDF file, DOI: 10.21934/baua:bericht20190821