OMEGA Database "Musculo-skeletal strains - prevention

Project No. BGIA 4133


completed 12/2008


The OMEGA "spinal load" database was created in 2002 at the BGIA - Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for the purpose of collecting and preparing data from the accident insurance institutions on the subject of tasks involving spinal loading, and of making these data available for searches. In the first phase, structures were primarily developed which can be used for the determination of the work-related exposure as a precondition for the acceptation of an occupational disease. The objective of the second phase of the project was to develop a central archiving system capable of recording prevention data obtained from observation, assessment and measurement procedures such as those employed by the BGs, to prepare these data, and to make them available again to the BGs for the purpose of searches. This objective is to be attained by further development of the OMEGA "spinal load" database into a "musculoskeletal load" database at the BGIA.


The decision was taken in the working group responsible for the OMEGA "spinal load" database to begin work on developing the "musculoskeletal load - prevention" module, following completion of the software for occupational disease (BK) No. 2108 and of the register data input program. In the process, consideration was also to be given to manual assessment methods (such as the OVACO Working Posture Analysing System - OWAS, the NIOSH Lifting Equation, and the "Leitmerkmalmethoden" for both lifting/holding/carrying and pushing/pulling) and to data recorded by means of the CUELA measurement system. The prevention database was also to be modular in structure. Besides a program for rapid evaluation of occupational tasks with regard to the associated musculoskeletal loading (assessment calculator), which for example can be used directly on site during in-plant consultation, users also have functions at their disposal for permanent archiving of their assessments. Data of this kind can thus also be exploited over the longer term and remain available for searches in the future. For recording of the information required for this purpose, an electronic measurement report template was produced by which information on the plant, workplace and activity can be logged. These background data are stored in the database together with the stress data. A similar measurement report template is being developed for the recording of CUELA measured data; an import function is to ensure that the various data types are merged correctly. Upon completion of these developments, relevant search criteria were defined and corresponding dialogs and filters programmed. It was then possible, following a test phase, for the entire program package to be made available to the BGs involved. Besides the remote input of data planned in this way, the existing OMEGA software products ensure that the database is maintained centrally at the BGIA.


The completed project provides the accident insurance institutions with two instruments which can be employed in different ways for the purpose of preventing musculoskeletal loading. Firstly, a software application has been developed by means of which practitioners on site in the plants can evaluate the stress situation at the workplace with computer support: MSB-Assess. This software application encompasses the assessment methods of the "Leitmerkmalmethoden" (lifting/holding/carrying and pushing/pulling), the NIOSH load limit method, and a simplified version of the "Mainz-Dortmunder" Dose (MDD) model, and can be made available to all interested accident insurance institutions.
Secondly, the "OMEGA musculoskeletal load" database has been set up, by means of which CUELA measured data can be prepared in such a way that they are able to reflect the stress situation for a complete working shift. The structure of the database permits, among other things, searches according to occupation, task module, plant, plant type, trunk and knee stress, and load handling, by means of defined queries. The database has been created as an "expert system", and remains at the BGIA, where it is maintained and extended. Interested accident insurance institutions can access the information in the database by submitting queries to the BGIA.
The aim is for typical stress profiles to be extracted in future from the expert system in the form of register data, in order for these data then to be made accessible for searches both during procedures for formal recognition of cases of occupational disease, and for prevention purposes.

Last Update:

28 Apr 2009


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BGIA
  • BG-übergreifend

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Handhabung von Lasten, Mechanische Gefährdungen


Prävention, Physische Beanspruchung/Belastung, Informationssystem

Description, key words:

Database, prevention of spinal load, manual load handling, awkward postures,musculoskeletal loads, sector-specific impact profiles, evaluation methods, hazard assessment, measurement report, archiving of load data, overall load profiles, CUELA measurement data