In this field of action, BAuA will examine the opportunities and risks of new forms of work and technologies, as well as how to deal with hazards and stress factors in companies. These range from biological and chemical hazards to physical factors in the work environment, physical workloads, and psychosocial stressors and resources. Attention will also centre increasingly on correlated effects between individual stress factors and the application of findings when risks are assessed in the workplace. Against a background of technological change, the aims are to establish a sound scientific basis for the further development of work design standards, and to support organisations in the assessment of risks and the design of humane work using a range of instruments and tried-and-tested methodologies.
BAuA’s activities in this field of action are characterised by cooperation between various scientific disciplines. They are directed towards the fundamental determination of the consequences these technologies are having, the trialling of proposed new occupational safety and health solutions, and the evaluation of such solutions in the workplace. This will also involve looking at how employees’ safety and health are impacted by the application of artificial intelligence (AI).
One central task in this thematic field is the revision of both the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (Gefahrstoffverordnung), with amended provisions on asbestos, and the Risk Concept for Carcinogenic Substances (Risikokonzept für Kanzerogene), including the further development of relevant methods. In addition, attention will centre on supporting the risk assessment of activities in which hazardous substances are handled by updating the control guidance sheets for the Easy-to-use workplace control scheme for hazardous substances (Einfaches Maßnahmenkonzept Gefahrstoffe, EMKG).
The further development of "omics" methods and cell culture models for the measurement and assessment of complex bioaerosols' toxic characteristics in different workplaces is intended to expand the existing inventory of research methodologies and deliver results that can be used for the risk assessment of activities involving biological agents.
Protection against carcinogenic substances is also to be enhanced by engaging in initiatives and bodies of all kinds. Examples include BAuA's leading role in the Roadmap on Carcinogens (RoC 2.0) initiative as an EU contribution in this field, and its support for the Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy (Gemeinsame Deutsche Arbeitsschutzstrategie, GDA) work programme Safe Handling of Hazardous, Carcinogenic Substances.
Ongoing research projects
|F 2383||Detection of airborne biological agents under difficult analytical conditions - background measurement and exclusion of inhibitory substances|
|F 2426||Molecular differentiation of living and dead biological agents and detection of the tenacity of airborne biological agents|
|F 2440||Measures for control guidance sheets (MapS)|
|F 2441||Analysis of bioaerosol-borne toxins by proteomics technologies|
|F 2468||Development of image evaluation methods for the detection and classification of particulate and fibrous hazardous substances using methods of machine learning|
|F 2470||Background exposure to mycotoxins - Determination of deoxynivalenol in Environmental Specimen Bank samples|
|F 2479||Development of correlative microscopic methods for the identification of dust particles (EMMI)|
|F 2486||Determination of the inhalative exposure to hazardous substances and biological agents during the commercial use of gardening devices|
|F 2487||Validation of control guidance sheets for filling of containers with acids and bases|
|F 2489||Assessment of health effects by bioaerosols in case of mould|
|F 2491||Assessment and evaluation of the toxic potential of biological agents on the basis of respiratory tract-related in vitro models: Subproject II: Development of an exposure system for the assessment of volatile metabolites of biological agents|
|F 2509||Relative quantification of proteins in cell culture system exposed to biological agents by mass spectrometry|
|F 2510||Derivation of suitable biomonitoring methods to determine the current work-related lead exposure of employees|
|F 2523||Biological monitoring of metals under homeostatic control - exposure to manganese in welding fumes|
|F 2524||Sampling and counting rules for the characterization of airborne NOAA in the workplace by scanning and transmission electron microscopy|
|F 2529||Development and evaluation of an analytical system for the automated, scanning electron microscopic determination of asbestos fibre concentrations at the workplace (AsbestosDetect)|
|F 2537||Biomonitoring in exhaled air and effect monitoring of occupationally exposed styrene workers|
|F 2546||Characterisation of bioaerosols in the fine dust fraction of indoor air|
The research activities in this field will continue to revolve around physical factors in the work environment (noise, optical radiation, climatic conditions in the workplace, increasingly the issue of ventilation as well) and their impacts on employees, with particular attention being paid to the assessment and minimisation of relevant risk factors.
The new thematic fields here include the impacts of climate change on working conditions, as well as the hitherto little-researched consequences of combinations of different physical factors in the work environment and their effects on workers’ well-being and health.
Ongoing research projects
|F 2427||Effects of the acoustical work environment on reading performance and well-being in employees|
|F 2439||Effects of background noise on cognitive performance at work|
|F 2448||Effect of light on the alertness during the day: Dependence on the spectral composition of light and the exposure time|
|F 2449||Occupational circadian effective light exposure|
|F 2451||Practical Approach for Sound Prediction on the Basis of Noise Emission Data|
|F 2475||Interactions of indoor climate, noise and lighting in workplaces - Scoping Review and exploratory data analysis (Interactions working environment)|
|F 2483||Simplified risk assessment of incoherent high-power spotlights|
|F 2496||Non-visual effectiveness of light at night as a function of the light direction|
|F 2534||Effects of temporal light modulation on workers’ cognitive performance, mental workload and well-being|
|F 2535||Inclusion opportunities, exclusion risks and task changes for peoples with disabilities as a consequence of use of software tools and digital technologies on the example of cooperative and simple tasks|
|F 2550||Comparison of the requirements for lighting in workplaces in the German regulations of the state and the social accident insurance institutions with the requirements in standardization|
The key indicator methods elaborated during the 2018-2021 programme period are the central topic in this field of action. The methods are to be adapted and, where necessary, further developed, for example by the integrative assessment of different types of physical workload, the holistic analysis of physical workloads together with other workloads (e.g. psychosocial), and the consideration of further pressures (e.g. physical underload). Practice transfer at the national and European levels will be accorded particular significance in this connection.
In addition, the aspiration is to combine risk assessment based on the key indicator methods with modern techniques for surveying physical workload and strain, in particular using wearable sensors.
Ongoing research projects
|F 2425||Experimental study on short-time load and demand during pushing and pulling loads with barrows|
There are still gaps in the empirically backed design knowledge about key factors for mental health in the world of work and their interactions. With its research, BAuA is seeking to generate knowledge of this kind, extend it, and make it available for workplace practitioners. In this respect, interest is centred on work intensity, above all time pressure and pressure to perform, information overload, recovery, social relationships, and leadership.
Other research priorities include humane work organisation in the health sector and the humane design of interactive work.
Ongoing research projects
|F 2431||Recovery within and beyond the context of work - effects and design approaches in a changing world of work|
|F 2436||Leadership and organisation in the changing world|
|F 2464||Exemplary testing of the manual-based implementation of "good work organisation" in a rehabilitation centre|
|F 2473||Psychosocial risk management in SMEs: survey on company practice in Germany|
|F 2488||Interaction work: effects and design of technological change|
|F 2498||Consideration of psychosocial risks in Occupational Safety and Health. Fundamental revision of the BAuA specialist book|
|F 2511||Organisational job design of time and performance pressure and information overload|
|F 2521||Good work organisation in home care: Investigation of work stressors and strain|
|F 2541||Interventions focusing on work organisation as a part of pandemic management in inpatient care services|
Both flexible working times and location-flexible working (e.g. teleworking, mobile working) have become more significant due to globalisation, digitalisation, and the corona pandemic. In this context, the limits of employees' freedom of choice about flexible working and options for the healthy design of flexibility requirements will be analysed in detail to gain insights into the health-related consequences in each case and relevant design possibilities.
The findings reached by ergonomics about the design of different atypical working time models will be updated regularly against the background of the changes taking place in individuals’ work and work requirements, and examined in the light of new developments. This applies particularly with regard to shift work, but also forms of on-call and standby duty.
Ongoing research projects
|F 2409||A longitudinal study on social, psychological, and physiological consequences of permanent night shifts and 12-hour shifts|
|F 2454||Intervention for health-promoting dealing with flexible forms of work regarding place and time of employees and teams in organizations|
|F 2519||Working from home and mobile working: Ensuring safety and health holistically|
|F 2543||Home office during and after the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: introduction and expansion of new arrangements|
BAuA’s research into innovative work systems will address different substantive and methodological priorities. These include the analysis and further development of modelling and simulation procedures for the conception, design, and planning of work systems and activities, as well as research into the integration of occupational safety and health aspects into process-based planning methods for workplaces.
The research on human-robot collaboration that has been well established at BAuA for a long time now will be continued with further investigations into the impacts of new sensor technologies, data processing algorithms, and flexible/adaptive automation and task assignment. Another priority is the analysis and design of human-technology interaction, in particular in service and knowledge work, with account being taken of smart information and communication technologies.
Ongoing research projects
|F 2322||Opportunities and risks of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) from a safety point of view|
|F 2446||Digital Ergonomics - Developing a method for analysis, visualization and long-term usage of complex anthropometric data for product and work-system design|
|F 2455||Cognitive Ergonomics of using ICT for Mobile Knowledge Work in public transportation|
|F 2466||Ergonomic evaluation of the long-term use of passive exoskeletons in the world of work|
|F 2474||Requirements for safety technology in context of Industry 4.0|
|F 2494||Personalised Body Sensor Networks with Built-In Intelligence for Real-Time Risk Assessment and Coaching of Ageing workers, in all types of working and living environments (BIONIC)|
|F 2506||Socio-Physical Interaction Skills for Cooperative Human-Robot Systems in Agile Production (SOPHIA)|
|F 2517||Secure AR-service platform for industrial manufacturing (secureAR)|
|F 2526||Overview of Policies, Research and Practices in Relation to Advanced Robotics and AI-based Systems for Automation of Tasks and Occupational Safety and Health|
|F 2527||Indoor air flow, aerosol spread and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 for selected ventilation concepts|
|F 2536||Potential Benefits of Artificial Intelligence for the Analysis of Occupational Safety Risks|