Best-practice database for KoBRA

Project No. IFA 4165


completed 12/2010


The KoBRA project (the German acronym stands for co-operative programme for normative management of stresses and risks associated with physical work) was one of three model projects ("naprima", "PAKT" and "KoBRA") that have been funded since 2007 by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) within the model programme for the combating of work-related diseases. An aim of the project was to integrate measures for the primary prevention of musculoskeletal diseases into existing company processes for product creation. The long-term objective of KoBRA was that of introducing conceptual (in contrast to corrective) ergonomics, which is to be considered at an early stage of production planning and should therefore enhance the quality of the ergonomic design. The participants in this project were companies of various sizes in the automotive and metals industries, and representatives of the research community, industry bodies, the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), the occupational medical services, and the health insurance institutions. Sub-projects were conducted in five companies, in a number of areas and with a range of foci. These yielded initial observations for implementation and best-practice examples which ideally were to be generically valid. These examples were made available to other users together with successful real-case examples. The IFA - Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance contributed to the project: by developing the structure of a model database for administrating and delivering information relevant to the subject, such as examples from the field, guidance documents, projects, ergonomic (assessment) methods, literature sources, etc.; and by creating preliminary, model data records. The database thus has the function of retaining and disseminating ergonomic experience, and is to serve as a transfer medium and an interface between internal company networks, networks of experts, and SMEs. The content is to cover both measures for primary prevention in the area of conceptual ergonomics, and measures for corrective ergonomics.


As part of the KoBRA project, the IFA developed the structure of a model best-practice database. The purpose of the database is to provide users with information on measures for the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal diseases. Besides the usual function of searches for key words, the future users, practitioners in the field and ergonomics exerts, are to be able to search for suitable, transferable projects and examples from the field by specifying a range of criteria in searches, such as the affected area of activity, the form of hazard, the prevention approach, etc..


A concept for development of a best-practice database which satisfies the above criteria has been developed and tested. This concept provides a further means of transferring the knowledge gained from experience of ergonomic issues and approaches to solutions. During deliberation of which methods should be employed in order to identify risks concerning the physical stress of employees within companies, information and experience from long-standing users of these methods may be useful, and save time. The approach selected for the optional search function in the database enables users to filter the database entries according to their particular relevance to them, and thereby to benefit for example from the experience of other users in the field. The numerous optional criteria of the search interface further support the transfer concept. Design solutions for a certain workplace for example may in fact be transferable to working areas of a completely different occupation, since the physical stresses between the two may be very similar. The form dialog and corresponding instructions for its use enable the participants in the KoBRA project to create additional data records from their own practical experience and add them to the database.

Last Update:

8 Jan 2013


Financed by:
  • Deutsche gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)
  • BG-übergreifend
  • IAD Darmstadt
  • IfADo Dortmund
  • BAuA
  • versch. Unternehmen der Automobil und -zulieferindustrie
  • Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (BMAS)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Erkrankungen, Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Arbeitsorganisation/-schutzmanagement


Arbeitsplatzgestaltung, Ergonomie, Klein- und Mittelbetriebe

Description, key words:

musculoskeletal diseases, primary prevention, ergonomics, production, database