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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 the 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 the 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.

The BAuA's research and development is oriented towards the federal government's principles of modern departmental research. As such, the 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 the 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. The 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 current Research and Development Programme 2014-2017 continues the main content themes of the previous R&D Programme 2010-2013, in some cases restructuring them and supplementing them with new topics. Content carried over from the previous programme appears, in particular, in the topics of long-term research into the health risks of new technologies; into mental loads in the working environment and their effect on mental health and performance; and into the prevention of work-related cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal disorders. On the other hand, based on the results of the previous programme, some changes and clarifications have been made in areas relating to the development of concepts and instruments for risk assessment, for safe products and work systems, and for chemical safety.

R&D activities under the current programme relate to the following strategic fields of activity:

  1. Ensuring safe use of chemicals and products
  2. Adapting working conditions to the needs of humans
  3. Avoidance of work-related diseases - promotion of health and working capacity
  4. Understanding the impact of a changing working world and developing further occupational safety and health instruments
  5. Mental health in the working world - determining the current state of scientific evidence

The Research and Development Programme 2014-2017 is available to download below.