Epidemiological intervention study: injury reduction

Project No. BGIA 0072


completed 12/2006


The objective of the project was to gain new insights by means of which the efficacy and sustainability of in-plant accident prevention can be improved. All-embracing consultation was conducted in plants with a high accident rate in order to reduce the incidence. The effectiveness of the various elements of consultation was evaluated by means of accident epidemiological methods in a before-and-after study in relation to the relevant framework conditions of the plant.


Modular initial and further training measures were performed by the IBS (Institut für Betriebspädagogik Bruno Schmähling) over a year in selected plants with above-average accident rates. The consultation measures were geared towards prevention of accidents and work-related health hazards by means of safety-conscious behaviour, leadership behaviour, hazard identification, hazard management, conditions detrimental to health (e.g. heat, noise, stress), information on occupational health and safety, behaviour at the workplace, and safety competence. Parallel to the above measures, information on the number and nature of accidents and psychosocial and plant variables before, during and after the year of the study was recorded and evaluated statistically by means of a standard questionnaire. The consultation elements employed and framework conditions for the plant under which the accident statistics could most effectively be reduced were examined. The questionnaires were drawn up and the results evaluated statistically under the co-ordination of the BG Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BGIA) and the BG Institute Work and Health (BGAG).


By the end of the period under consideration, a significant reduction was noted in the number of accidents occurring in the glass, ceramics and metals plants observed. Overall, the number of accidents fell from 52 to eight. The costs entailed by intervention and training measures were compared in a cost-benefit analysis with those resulting from accidents (lost working days, cost of curative treatment, rehabilitation).

Under the existing boundary conditions, the average cost of avoidance of an accident was 2,470 euro. By comparison, the direct costs to the accident insurance institutions are considerably higher: on average from 11,000 euro (injury to a finger) and 34,000 euro (back injury) to approximately 300, 000 euro (comprehensive rehabilitation measures).

These costs vary according to influences such as the nature and severity of the injury, the type of company, boundary conditions, etc. Nevertheless, the effect was clearly discernible within the margin of fluctuation. The study will examine up to the end of 2007 whether the effect is sustainable, how it could be made so, and whether the concept of these intervention measures can be transferred to other sectors.

Last Update:

14 Jun 2007


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
  • Süddeutsche Metall-Berufsgenossenschaft
  • Berufsgenossenschaft der keramischen und Glas-Industrie
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitschutz - BGIA
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut Arbeit und Gesundheit - BGAG
  • Institut für Betriebspädagogik Bruno Schmähling (IBS)

-cross sectoral- -cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Mechanische Gefährdungen, Arbeitsorganisation/-schutzmanagement, Gestaltung von Arbeit und Technik


Unfallverhütung, Arbeitsumwelt (Belastungen, Gefährdungen, Expositionen, Risiken), Epidemiologie

Description, key words:

intervention study, epidemiology, model project, effectiveness of accident prevention