BAuA incorporates scientific knowledge into political practice
Policy advice is one of BAuA's core tasks. As a departmental research institution under the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), BAuA acts as a constant mediator between the worlds of science and political practice.
BAuA has set itself the aims of supporting government action with a high level of scientific expertise and of providing a sound basis for political decisions through its scientific advisory services. An integral part of this task is the ability to ensure that expertise from academia and research is incorporated into political decision-making. The Federal Institute's policy advice picks up current social, technological and economic issues and identifies important challenges for the state and society of the future, effectively acting as their eyes and ears.
To ensure that Germany's departmental research is fit for the future and to ensure adherence to proper scientific practice, the federal government has presented "Ten guidelines for modern departmental research" (Zehn Leitlinien einer modernen Ressortforschung) in accordance with the recommendations of the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat). Policy advice work at BAuA follows these guidelines. With its departmental research, BAuA ensures that:
One of BAuA's primary tasks in policy advice is to provide technical expertise and comprehensive advisory services in response to queries from the federal government, the German parliament, social partners, or European and international organisations on all matters relating to safety and health at work. Through direct consultation, e.g. in response to queries from members or groups of the German parliament or from other constitutional bodies, BAuA plays an active role in shaping specialist discourse in its capacity as a neutral and expert federal research institution.
The BAuA provides specialist articles and expert knowledge for use by semi-political associations, science, initiatives and foundations through a variety of channels, for example at conferences, in expert reports or in opinions relating to occupational science. Within the bounds of scientific policy advice, the BAuA helps to shape public opinion in relation to safety and health at work. The aim is to increasingly embed occupational safety and health into wider social and socio-economic contexts and to further interlink it with other contexts.
The key tasks of providing specialist policy advice include, in particular, shaping the content of key policy advice committees that fall under its management, such as:
The committees' primary aims are to transfer the BAuA's expert knowledge into practice, to standardise working methods in the committees, and to implement quality assurance measures as set out in the technical rules.
With its technical expertise, the BAuA provides scientific policy advice to support the development of nationwide occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation and regulations and of EU directives relating to OSH. Furthermore, the BAuA influences not only the design of national standardisation processes but also the regulations set out in guidelines under harmonised European standards.
In addition, the BAuA is tasked with identifying future fields of activity in the area of OSH and, in this regard, with providing its expert knowledge proactively to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).
All of the target groups addressed by BAuA's scientific policy advice have different concerns. BAuA therefore aims to ensure that its recommendations are relevant to current problems and that its advice addresses the individual needs of its recipients. Furthermore, it is essential to find the right time for providing advice and to develop an understanding of the internal logic and constraints of the political process. Therefore, in addition to traditional scientific products such as specialist articles, BAuA increasingly relies on consulting products that are appropriate to a specialist audience from science and industry, such as factsheets and brief summaries.
BAuA is also a member of the Working Group of the German Federal Departmental Research Establishments. Founded in 2006 by 30 departmental research institutions, this Working Group aims to reinforce the mutual exchange of experience and the joint development of standards, as well as to create and improve instruments for quality assurance.