Labour Research in Practice

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The research of the is oriented at working environment demands. Consequently, there are several core issues that are of importance for the institute’s work:

The working human in technical environments

Many modern workplaces require the interaction with technical devices. These are often not adapted to the user’s skills and needs. The tries to point out ways for improving these workplaces for the user. The focus of research is the information workspace in offices, the driver’s cockpit and the monitoring workspace. Specific contents are:

  • Positioning of visual information
  • Control of input devices
  • Spatial display and processing of information
  • Posture and body movement at the information workspace

The challenge of work and ageing

Many skills change over the life span. Against the background of fundamental socio-demographic development it must be mentioned that changes occurring with increasing age are not always negative or unalterable. Thus, there is a necessity for integrating elderly people into the work process without deteriorating their life quality. This is why the has established research on the following issues:

  • Sensory and cognitive performances in the life span
  • Fine motor skills in elderly people
  • Mobility in elderly people
  • Learning and training for enhancement of cognitive ability

Outer and inner factors for wellbeing and performance at work

Many factors associated with modern work can deeply impair performance as well as wellbeing. Contrary to examples like muscular fatigue following hard work the results of these various factors can neither easily be recognized by an observer nor by the affected person itself. It is an important task of the to identify these factors and to evaluate them according to their importance. The most important issues are:

  • Requirements on self-control
  • Shift-work, fatigue and sleep deprivation
  • Noisiness
  • Odours
  • Spine exposure

Secure handling with chemicals in modern working environments

In modern working environments chemicals including various hazardous substances cannot be spared. Consequently, it is necessary to recognize toxic properties of working materials and to evaluate the exposition to chemical materials according to their respective risks. Thus, it is essential to have detailed knowledge of the chemicals’ mechanisms of action and their health relevant effects with respect to inter-individual differences of sensitiveness. The research concentrates on the effect of chemical working materials on differing endpoints and is organized on differing levels. The basic endpoints are:

  • Effects on the CNS, stimulation and odour nuisance
  • Effects on the urothelium
  • Genotoxicity, mutagenicity, endocrine disruption
  • Carcinogenesis, susceptibility

The toxicological research is strongly linked to occupational medical problems and analyses of chemical exposition. Thanks to scientists of the who are participating in national and supranational councils that develop recommendations for norms and limits of hazardous substances (AGS, MAK, SCOEL) a fast transfer of new information into the regulatory implementation is assured.