Physical demands at the workplace are generally acknowledged to be the main risk factor for musculoskeletal disorders and associated with a number of work-related issues (sickness absence and an early exit from the labour market). This imposes an enormous burden on the individual and the society. On the one hand, high occupational physical activity and workloads are generally acknowledged as main risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal disorders. On the other hand, physical inactivity at work has been identified as a main determinant for “lifestyle” diseases such as overweight, diabetes type II and hypertension.
Standardized recording, analysis and evaluation of occupational physical activity and workload enables the joint analysis of high-quality data sets from different European research institutes. In a previous joint project of the PEROSH network, recommendations and guidelines for procedures to measure occupational physical activity and workload were already developed. Please follow this link.
Subsequently, the participating PEROSH Institutes wish to put these results into practice and develop an exchange platform for workload data. This would enable an exchange and cross-institute processing of the measurement data sets available in the respective institutes. To align measurements collected from various research institutes an infrastructure is needed that supports them to collect common measurement data and to share these with other research partners. By merging data into large data sets, a higher validity of data analyses could be achieved and further analysis methods could be used or developed (e.g. machine learning).
This PEROSH project strives to develop a protocol for the standardized collection, analysis and exchange of data of occupational physical activity and workload and build a data exchange platform.
Ergonomists, OSH professionals, employers and workers of organizations confronted with physical activity and physical workload at the work place can use the results of this project to develop their methods of risk assessments further.
The results of the cooperation in this PEROSH project will be available to the (scientific) public through presentations at conferences and publications in relevant journals. For future practical use for OSH researchers and practitioners, a test database is to be set up in which test data sets from various institutes involved in the project can be entered and analyzed. A follow-up project will aim to implement the exchange platform for real practical applications.
In a previous joint research project recommendations were developed to achieve consensus on measurement procedures and methods within PEROSH. Now, there is a great need for the exchange and aggregation of common data to run analyses based on the largest possible number of cases. This contributes significantly to the scientific quality and thus to the level of evidence of results, information and recommendations about occupational physical activity and workloads. However, common measurement data based on the recommended procedures and a database infrastructure to exchange data easily between different research institutes are lacking.
Practical and societal relevance
The further development of standardized data collection methods and implementation of this data exchange platform will contribute to the creation of a database of objective measurements of occupational physical activity and workloads. It can serve as a basis for high-quality research and workplace prevention initiatives, leading to improved levels of occupational physical activity and workloads for European workers.
Dr. Christoph Schiefer, IFA
- Austrian Worker’s Compensation Board (AUVA, Austria)
- Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA, Germany)
- Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH, Finland)
- Health & Safety Executive (HSE, United Kingdom)
- Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA, Germany)
- National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL, Italy)
- French National Research and Safety Institute for the Prevention of Occupational Accidents and Diseases (INRS, France)
- National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NFA, Denmark)
- National Institute of Occupational Health (STAMI, Norway)
- Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO, Netherlands)
- Swedish Agency for Work Environment Expertise (SAWEE, Sweden) in conjunction with:
- Karolinska Institute (Sweden)
- Lund University (Sweden)
- University of Gävle (Sweden)