In the PEROSH association and with the involvement of the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA), two projects focused on developing recommendations for the measurement, analysis and evaluation of occupational physical workload were carried out.
As a result of these two projects, concrete recommendations were developed for common measurement procedures for the quantification of musculoskeletal loads (through sedentary behaviour and arm elevation). In the following project, the participating PEROSH institutes aimed to put these results into practice and develop an exchange platform for associated workload data. The aim of this platform was to enable cross-institute processing of the measurement data sets available in the associated institutes. By compiling larger data pools, a higher validity of data analyses can be achieved, or other analysis methods can be used or developed (e.g. machine learning).
Under the leadership of the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA), this PEROSH project was started under the title "PEPPA – PEROSH Exchange Platform for Measurements of Occupational Physical Activity and Physical Workload – a Feasibility Study". The objectives of the feasibility study were to develop a database infrastructure as a shared exchange platform for measurements of occupational physical activity and physical workload and to create common standards in order to produce similar data.
As part of the feasibility study, a test database was to be set up in which test data sets from various institutes involved in the project can be entered and analysed.
A follow-up project will aim to implement the exchange platform for real-life practical applications.
The project objective was pursued using a procedure involving successive steps. In the first step, an analysis of the requirements for the exchange platform was carried out. During this step, the involved partners discussed what type of data should be collected and processed, what methods should be used to do this, and also which criteria are required for standardised data documentation.
The development of the test environment was based on the application scenarios for the load types described above (sedentary behaviour and arm elevation).
The required functions for the exchange platform were identified by developing application scenarios and user roles as part of the requirements analysis. A test platform was developed and tested on the basis of this analysis, which was then used to estimate the work effort and costs associated with the implementation and commissioning of such a platform.
As part of the project, a concept was outlined and measurement standards were discussed with the project partners and defined. A first prototype illustrating the technical possibilities was designed and implemented on the basis of these findings. This first prototype illustrated the technical feasibility of the PEPPA platform and stimulated further discussions about the measurement standards. In order to ensure freedom of research and evaluation, only a few measurement standards were defined and additional measurement recommendations were compiled. In addition, a common data format for continuous measurement data was defined in order to simplify the joint use of the data. These definitions, standards and recommendations guarantee a shared database that can be used flexibly to tackle a wide range of research questions. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) permits the collection of anonymised data, which means that PEPPA can store several data sets and make them accessible for all participants in the PEPPA group, with the uploading institute retaining ownership of the data. This means that PEPPA is feasible from a technological and organisational perspective.
Since some requirements for the use of PEPPA cannot be predicted yet, such as the number of test subject data sets, the size of the uploads and the number of simultaneous users, it is only possible to perform a rough cost estimation. Using the Use Case Points (UCP 3.0) method and the developed prototypes, a work effort of approximately 500 man-days was estimated for the development alone. An estimation of the operating and maintenance costs is currently not possible without a reliable estimation of the usage behaviour.
Therefore, smaller sub-projects should be carried out to gain experience of the usage behaviour associated with such an exchange platform before it can be implemented within PEROSH and scaled accordingly.
The developments and considerations from the project were shared with the project partners in an internal final report.
-cross sectoral-Type of hazard:
working environment (load, hazards, exposure, risks), ergonomics, musculoskeletal disorders (except cancer)Description, key words:
physical workload, physical activity, measurement procedures, exchange platform