Task-specific analysis of body posture in a number of medical professions

Project No. IFA 4216


completed 12/2017


Scientific studies show that musculoskeletal complaints, sufficiently severe in some cases to lead to early retirement on health grounds, may arise in medical professions for occupational reasons. Although more precise task profiles are now available for certain medical professions, systematic studies of the body postures adopted during these tasks have not yet been conducted in Germany.

The objective of this project was to conduct a systematic study of body postures and movements in a range of medical professions, based upon a combination of computer-based task analysis and data obtained from measurements. The studies were performed in a project conducted jointly by the Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine of the Goethe University in Frankfurt (ASU), the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the health and welfare services (BGW) and the IFA.


The body postures and movements of dentists, orthodontists, neurologists and cardiologists were studied at their workplaces during the performance of specific tasks. The tasks were recorded by means of a tablet-based method developed at the ASU. The CUELA measurement system developed at the IFA was used for analysis of posture and movement.

The IFA made the necessary measurement equipment available to the project partners, and trained the researchers in its use and in interpretation of the measurement data. Hardware support was also assured by the IFA over the entire duration of the project, and the CUELA evaluation software modified in part to meet the project partners' requirements.

In cooperation with the project partners, the relevant parameters for describing the physical stresses were agreed and calculated for the descriptive statistics. These include the statistical quantities and distributions of the joint angles, the frequency distributions with reference to ISO 11226 and DIN 1005-4, the duration of static postures, and evaluation in accordance with the OWAS method (Ovako Working Posture Analysing System, Karhu et al., 1977).


A total of 160 measurements were performed in the course of the project. Detailed task-specific results of the body posture analysis are now available for the four medical professions stated. As yet, the results have been described and discussed in seven international publications. The key stresses identified in this way in the medical professions studied constitute a valuable basis for the development of prevention measures in the future.

Last Update:

5 Feb 2019


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)
  • Institut für Arbeitsmedizin, Sozialmedizin und Umweltmedizin der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

health service

Type of hazard:

work-related diseases



Description, key words:

musculoskeletal stresses, posture analysis, CUELA, medical professions, task analysis


Further information