In 2005, scientific criteria were published for the introduction of a new formally recognized occupational disease (BK): knee osteoarthritis resulting from an activity performed in a kneeling posture or comparable stress upon the knee with cumulative exposure over a vocational life of at least 13,000 hours and a minimum total exposure duration of one hour per shift (BK 2112). With the introduction of this new occupational disease, the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions faced the task of ascertaining satisfaction of the work-related criteria for recognition of cases of the occupational disease. In order to support the case workers in the performance of this task, corresponding computer software was developed based upon the proven OMEGA software of the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA).
A new medical history application for gonarthrosis was to be developed based upon the existing medical history software application for formally recognized occupational disease BK 2108 (discogenic diseases of the lumbar part of the spine). The work was to be performed in close co-operation between the IFA and work design experts at the BG BAU, since the at-risk vocations stated in the scientific criteria are primarily found in the construction sector. The concept was translated into code at the IFA. Two criteria were formulated for the software: a facility for the manual input of stress data (duration of knee stress per shift, in minutes) and a facility for searches in register data. Relevant register data for this purpose were taken from the BGIA 4138 "Measured value register of knee stress work activities (GonKatast)" project.
The software was produced as planned, with the addition of input functions for further occupational diseases affecting the knee joint, namely BK 2102 (meniscopathy) and BK 2105 (chronic bursitides). As is the case with other IFA medical history products, the features of the new medical history software include saving, searches in indexes of key terms for vocations, companies and types of company, generation of reports, data interchange and networking capability.
A test version was repeatedly tested and developed further in close co-operation with representatives of the BG BAU (working group for stresses upon the musculoskeletal system). The register data from the "Measured value register of knee stress work activities (GonKatast)" project (BGIA 4138) relating to the formally recognized occupational disease of gonarthrosis were imported into the software and are thus accessible via computer during procedures for the investigation of cases of occupational disease. A full version of the software was delivered to the BG BAU, and is now also available to further interested representatives of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions.
-cross sectoral-Type of hazard:
occupational diseaseDescription, key words:
occupational disease, formally recognized occupational disease (BK) No. 2112, gonarthrosis, work-related criteria, medical history, software, tasks imposing stress upon the knee