Everyone is talking about Work 4.0. Not many people are talking about the consequences for the safety and health of workers. What risks are associated with the current and pending changes in the world of work? How can these risks be tackled by occupational safety and health bodies? In what areas in particular is action called for? Every five years, the IFA conducts a large-scale study in order to find up-to-date answers to these questions.
If work is to be shaped in consideration of human factors - including in times of change, indeed more so - we must be aware of what awaits us. The early detection of trends in the world of work is important in this context. The DGUV Risk Observatory at the IFA acts as an early-warning system in this sense. It seeks information on key developments in the world of work and on new risks at the workplace and in children's daycare facilities, schools and institutes of higher education. The objective is anticipatory, effective, proactive prevention activity.
Every five years, experience from the field and sector-specific expertise of the labour inspectors and other prevention specialists of the German Social Accident Insurance are sought. In a large-scale online survey, these individuals assist in obtaining answers to two major questions:
The particular characteristic of these efforts is that the results are determined on a sectoral basis, and enlarged upon by means of literature surveys. Each accident insurance institution thus acquires information relating specifically to the top trends in its most important sectors - valuable indicators for the foci of prevention activity in the coming years.
At the same time, the risk observatory identifies top subjects common to all sectors, thereby revealing scope for networking, discussion and cooperation. This facilitates the setting of priorities, above all with regard to costly prevention measures such as research projects, and experience can be pooled more easily. This saves resources and avoids duplication of effort.
The second round of the survey was launched in the spring of 2017. The first results for selected sectors are available online (in German only).
The first round of the survey was completed at the end of 2015. 400 labour inspectors took part in the survey. A brochure (PDF, 2.1 MB) summarizing the results is available.