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Digital Technologies as a Resource for OSH in Service Professions

A potential analysis

Project number: F 2472 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Completed Project


The aim of project F 2472 was an analysis of the potential of digital technologies as a resource for the design of safe and healthy service work particularly with regard to service work.

For this purpose, different areas of service work were identified for in-depth consideration based on the key-activities responsible for the added value process. Three different fields of activities were identified:

  1. activities on and with physical objects, e.g. logistics or property protection by security services,
  2. the use of information and knowledge, and
  3. activities with a specific relationship to people such as care and healing.

This classification was successfully confirmed as a concept based on a cluster analysis based on the BIBB/BAuA (2012) data set.

In order to determine the basic potential of digital technologies for the design of safe and healthy service work, a matrix was developed, incorporating the Technology Affordances and Constraints Theory (TACT). Affordances arise from the interaction of the features and functionalities of a technology and a user’s perception of said properties. This interaction determines how the technology is used. As the very same technology might have different potentials in various working environments, an analysis of the potential did not seem to make sense at the micro level of every possible technology in a specific work context for a specific task and a specific user group. Therefore, abstracted core properties were identified.

As an overview of research in the field of service work, current digitalization and service projects founded by the BMBF have been analyzed with regard to basic activities (if available). In the following, the occupational fields were identified for further consideration, based on the key-activities and their relevance due to working conditions and the number of employees subject to social security contributions. Here, a focus was placed on object-related and knowledge-related activities in service work. The further application and use of the findings will be within the framework of the focus programme “Occupational Safety and Health in a Digitised World of Work”


Unit 2.3 "Human Factors, Ergonomics"

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