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Research into work and health

The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) is a departmental research institution of the German federal government. As specialist authority, it advises the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) on all matters of health and safety and the adaptation of working conditions to the needs of humans based on scientific evidence.

The scientific expertise needed for the proper fulfilment of tasks is founded, as is BAuA's reputation, on quality-assured research and development that links internal and external knowledge from different disciplines in order to find solutions. Research and development at BAuA are closely related in their content, with development usually seeking to implement research results at the same time as providing key impetus for new and more in-depth research approaches.

BAuA's research and development is oriented towards the federal government's principles of modern departmental research. As such, BAuA is committed to maintaining a high level of specialist knowledge in R&D through consistent quality assurance, by competing on the national and international stage, and by supporting the next generation of scientists within the scientific community.

One of the key ways in which BAuA approaches research and development is to identify, at an early stage, any risks to workers' health and safety and any opportunities to adapt working conditions to the needs of humans. At the heart of this are the huge changes taking place in the working environment and the need for technological and organisational innovations to take adequate account for aspects of workplace health and safety at an early stage of development. BAuA not only identifies and enhances the state of the art, but also implements its findings in the form of science-based solutions for use in policy and workplace practice. To this end, it conducts its own research and development projects, awards extramural research contracts, participates in cooperative networks, and seeks to further boost the acquisition of third-party funding in order to enhance the quality of its own high-level research.

The Work and Research Programme 2018-2021 is based on the results of the 2014-2017 programme period, which it develops further in a well-directed manner. In its 2017 assessment, the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) stated that "from the perspective of content strategy and organisational structure, BAuA has taken the right steps to align its work to the far-reaching structural, social and technological changes in the world of work." The strengthening of research and development and its programmatic management were also given a positive rating. At the same time, recommendations were formulated which the federal institute would like to address in the new programme period. These include the intensification of the cooperation with universities, setting up a research data centre, as well as the further intensification of interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaboration and networking in BAuA's fields of action. In this respect, researching the risks and opportunities that are associated with advancing digitalisation is of considerable importance. The federal institute therefore intends to further develop its research on social and technological change in the world of work according to current advances in knowledge and - on the basis of the four strategic fields of action - combine them in the form of the key topic "Safety and Health in the Digital World of Work".

The activities of the current programme refer to the following strategic fields of action:

  1. Ensure safe use of chemicals and products
  2. Design work in the company with respect to human needs
  3. Avoid work-related diseases - promote health and workability
  4. Understand the effects of a changing work environment and adapt instruments of occupational health and safety
  5. Key topic "Safety and Health in the Digital World of Work"

The Work and Research Programme 2018-2021 is available for download on this page.


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