Healthy Work with Smart Devices – Recommendations for Risk Assessment and Work Design in the Context of Work/Industry 4.0

Project No. FF-FP 0457




The work of the future is digital and interconnected by information technology. Smart devices such as tablets, smart glasses and smartwatches are increasingly being used at work, supporting work processes in a wide range of industries. The increasing use of smart devices is accompanied by changing risks for employees in the workplace. Particularly in view of the demographic development, which increases the proportion of older employees, dealing with the changing risks at the workplace in terms of work design is a question of the future world of work that has not yet been adequately resolved. Due to the novel nature of digital work with mobile and smart devices, only limited information is available to employers on humane (especially healthpromoting) design and use of smart devices. At the same time, however, employers are obligated to assess the risks of new technologies for the health and safety of employees, and to initiate appropriate measures against the risks arising from the use of smart devices (§ 5 ArbSchG).

Therefore, the aim of the project is to provide

  • recommendations for the design of risk assessment and
  • holistic measures for healthy and age(ing)-appropriate work with mobile smart devices in the working world 4.0.

Thus, the project supports employees in the use of smart, connected and future-proof work devices by identifying the safety and health risks for employees when working with smart technologies and offering suitable humane and age-appropriate measures for risk reduction. In this way, the potential of smart technologies can be exploited and employees are empowered and motivated to use them.


Based on a comprehensive literature review, empirically proven risk factors associated with the use of mobile smart devices are identified. In addition to literature research, a participatory assessment of risk factors is conducted by means of focus groups with users of different age groups and from different industries as well as with other experts (multi-perspective approach), due to the novelty of the research field. In this way, potential risks can be examined in greater depth. The identified risk factors serve as foundation for the development of a questionnaire to assess risk factors for the use of mobile smart devices which can be applied to various work situations and in different industries, considering the special needs of older workers as well as of workers with altered performance in dealing with mobile smart devices. The developed questionnaire is tested practically in various application scenarios and revised according to the findings. As a supplement to the questionnaire, a holistic catalog of measures is being developed. The catalog is based on the guiding questions in order to facilitate the derivation of suitable measures for risk reduction as well as for the age(ing)-appropriate and preferably barrier-free design of work with mobile smart devices. The combination of a questionnaire and a catalog of measures provides a practical tool for the implementation of risk assessment for work with smart devices, enabling healthy and age-appropriate work in the working world 4.0.

Last Update:

14 Jun 2022


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Technische Universität Dresden

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

design of work and technology


prevention, new technologies, ergonomics

Description, key words:

Smart Devices, tablets, smart glasses, smartwatches, demography, industry 4.0, risk assessment, work structur