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Organisation of Working Time and Planning of Shift Work in Production

Consultancy and support offers for the organisation of working time

Do you want to optimise the organisation of working time and the planning of shift work within your company? If so, have a look at the consultancy and support offers for producing companies developed by the Initiative New Quality of Work (INQA).

In the field of production, companies are increasingly forced to expand their working and operating times in order to reduce production costs and make investments. Working time and shift work systems tried and tested over many years are being adapted or replaced by new ones.

As a consequence, HR responsibles have to provide solutions for increasingly complex working time schemes under the condition that efficiency considerations are in compliance with statutory provisions. Suitable free support instruments concentrating and processing the present know-how are rare and scarcely spread within the companies.

Project offers consultancy and support

Consequently, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) assisted in a project, initiated by the network "Initiative New Quality of Work in production" (Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit in der Produktion), supporting producing companies in assessing the labour conditions pursuant to § 5 of the Safety and Health at Work Act (ArbSchG), taking into consideration established findings from the field of labour science.

The project home page outlines the statutory basis and offers recommendations and practical guidance for determining tailored working time system solutions. The technical information provided take into consideration the latest state of the art in terms of technology, occupational healthcare, and hygiene.

The offer includes:

  • practical guidance in the form of a database with more than 40 standard shift schedules assessed from a labour science point of view,
  • employee questionnaires with an automatic evaluation function,
  • checklists to support a shift schedule design that is as free of impairments as possible.

The technical informations guarantee the introduction of working time and shift work systems that meet the statutory requirements and ideally do not impair the safety and health of employees.

Furthermore, the corporate actors are provided with the software tool "Evaluating Working Hours Online" (Arbeitszeiten online bewerten). The programme identifies the average risk for certain health problems (sleep disorders, disorders of the digestive system) and social impairment caused by the specific organisation of the working time system. After the registration for this tool, the working time data can be updated at any time and the assessment results can be output again.

Protecting workers’ health: step-by-step improvement of shift systems

This way, shift systems can be improved step by step until the risk of impairments is minimised. The tool provides recommendations as to which measures may be taken to reduce risks. However, individualised risk evaluation is not possible.

The psychologist and ergonomist Friedhelm Nachreiner and his team (University of Oldenburg and GAWO e.V.) were commissioned with the realisation of the project. The project was intensively supported by an advisory board. This board consisted of experts of the social partners of IG-Metall and METALL NRW, working time experts of the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), the Institute for Applied Ergonomics (ifaa), the University of Karlsruhe and BAuA.

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