Work-related health risks: research and company practice

Project No. BIA 1077


completed 12/2004


A survey of OSH research institutions was to document the status of prevention of work-related health risks in companies. The objective was to identify the problems and deficits observed in relation to prevention in the field, to find means for resolving them, and to define the potential contribution made by research in this area.


In cooperation with the Austrian Social Insurance for Occupational Risks (AUVA) and the French Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS), the BG Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BIA) surveyed 15 national OSH research institutions by questionnaire. The questionnaire defined five elements of prevention (risk identification, risk evaluation, development of suitable prevention measures, selection and application/implementation in the companies, evaluation of effectiveness) and 15 types of risk. The questionnaire was supplemented by interviews. BIA evaluated the results of the survey comprehensively, particular attention to deficits and positive experience.


The results differ from one country to another. However common trends are evident. For the types of risks hazardous substances, noise and vibration, adequately effective prevention instruments generally exist. For the areas of work organization, ergonomics, psychological factors and communication at the workplace, a need remains for development of measuring instruments and specific prevention measures. The most significant results can be summarized as follows: general deficits in the prevention of work-related health risks are closely linked to a country's relative economic performance (its gross domestic product); for almost all risk types, the greatest problems concern the selection of suitable specific prevention measures and assessment of their efficacy; solution strategies particularly concern information and training for the enhancement of employer and employee competencies; demonstration of the effectiveness and practicability is essential to their acceptance at company level; finally, OSH research is particularly able to contribute towards the solution of problems through studies of effectiveness and efficiency. The ISSA Section for Research has published the results in a brochure in English, German and French.

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Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Internationale Vereinigung für Soziale Sicherheit (IVSS)
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BIA
  • Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt (AUVA)
  • Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, -Verschiedenes-, Handhabung von Lasten


Gefährdungsbeurteilung, Arbeitsschutzmanagement, Prävention

Description, key words:

work-related health risks, prevention, international survey, efficiency, evaluation