Development of a method for exposure assessment of service tasks including customer contact and work-related psychosocial stress to derive improvement measures

Project No. FF-FP 0283


completed 08/2010


German legislation requires periodical risk assessments for all jobs. As to interactive administrative tasks so far suitable tools for the analysis, evaluation and re-design of critical task characteristics are missing. An "objective" tool, i. e. a tool based on the task characteristics as they are - not only as they are perceived by the employees - is to be designed and evaluated following relevant standards (DIN 33430, 2010). The specific function of the tool is to guide the re-design of stressing work situations in terms of direct prevention.
Since re-design requires improvement of individual items, the analysis is displayed as a profile of these individual task characteristics, not of condensed factors.


In the first step a hypothetical system of relevant task characteristics based on research literature, existing other tools, interviews with experts and task analysis was composed. This draft of the graded task characteristics was discussed with supervisors and employees of several administrative units regarding its completeness, comprehensiveness, and redundancy.
In a second step a cross-sectional analysis with the revised system of job description was carried out as to its predictive power concerning the burnout factors 'emotional exhaustion' and 'cynicism', and work ability. A moderation of these outcome variables by perceived job characteristics was considered. The data of 192 employees with different interactive administrative jobs were analysed as to the discriminative power of the items, independency on researchers, reliability, and validity.


An evaluated tool for the risk-centred analysis of administrative jobs with customer interaction became available. Within the limitations of a cross-sectional design this tool hints on critical configurations of job characteristics as was shown by correlative and regression analysis. Sufficient interrater reliability is given (k = .67).
The main goal of the tool, the guidance of necessary re-design of the relevant work situation and its evaluation as to the resulting improvement of task outcome, needs further research. This also holds for the design of a manual explaining the tool.
The method should be applied by executive managers and occupational health and safety specialists in line with the risk assessment. The method is available at the German Statutory Accident Insurance (DGUV) and the statutory accident insurances of the German federal states.

Last Update:

23 Feb 2011


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e.V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Technische Universität Dresden

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Gefährdungsübergreifende Fragestellungen, Psychische Fehlbelastungen


Psycho-soziale Risikofaktoren, Psychische Beanspruchung/Belastung

Description, key words:

exposure assessment, customer contact, psychosocial stress, BAGAB