Promoting health, averting work-related diseases
Prevention can avert work-related diseases. Scientists at the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz and Arbeitsmedizin, BAuA) do research into the connections between work and health and the conditions for prevention in the workplace. The measures derived are intended to maintain and promote employees’ health.
Modern, preventive occupational safety and health (OSH) provision pursues interdisciplinary approaches and is a decisive factor in promoting participation in working life.
The measures derived from OSH research range from primary prevention (e.g. training and advice for employees) to secondary prevention (e.g. occupational healthcare aimed at averting diseases) and tertiary prevention (e.g. support for employees returning to the work process following periods of ill health).
Successful prevention requires sound knowledge about the causal connections between work and health. We research these connections by conducting longitudinal studies and applying methods of evidence-based medicine. We focus on conditions that affect the muscles, skeleton, heart, vascular system, and metabolism.
Mental health is an equally central concern for OSH professionals today as well. BAuA does research into the influence factors, prevention measures, and return-to-work management after mental crises.
Support for people returning to work with or following health issues is another aspect of prevention. If employees are already ill, the consequences of their conditions can be limited by what are known as tertiary prevention measures. At this level, we investigate how employees can be successfully reintegrated into working life. Furthermore, we seek to establish which early diagnosis and aftercare of mental illness are effective when people suffer from mental health conditions.
Prevention also includes research into factors that can improve work ability and employability. Under another research focus, our scientists are investigating the state of diversity and participation in the workplace. Diverse teams give companies an advantage, while people with disabilities take on new tasks. The research in this field is focussed on the steps that should be taken to encourage such developments and their wider implications.