Collaborative project: Integration of activity-specific load alternation to reduce the physical demands during takt work

Project No. FF-FP 0458




Employees in production often (approx. 45%) work in takt work. In this context, there is a steady trend towards shorter cycle times, so that a cycle time of about one minute has become the norm in many manufacturing companies. In contrast, takt work is considered a significant risk factor for the development of various musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) or repetitive strain injuries. This risk factor is caused by the short cycle times and the resulting frequent repetitions of uniform movements, which lead to high loads and stresses on muscles, tendons and nerves and often cause employees to miss work for long periods. Resulting occupational diseases are, for example, BK2101 diseases of tendon sheaths or tendon gliding tissue and tendon or muscle insertions or BK2113 carpal tunnel syndrome.

Innovative concepts and methods are needed for the targeted prevention of work-related MSDs and repetitive strain injuries, which can be used to ensure both economic and health-oriented takt work. For this purpose, the proposed research project explores whether the integration of specific load changes (muscles that are loaded during one activity segment are specifically relieved or loaded in a different way during the next activity segment) into takt work contributes to a reduction of physical stress and thus has the potential to prevent MSDs. Therefore, criteria for a targeted use of specific load changes are developed and transferred into a methodological approach, which should enable companies to consider specific load changes when redesigning or adapting takt work.


First, physiological parameters of muscular stress and strain are used to identify unfavourable load changes between activity segments in a reference assembly process. These activity segments are reconfigured with regard to their specific loads, so that loaded body structures (muscles, tendons, ...) are relieved or loaded differently in the respective next activity segment. Research results on the pathology of MSDs show that uniform loads on structures play an essential role in the development of MSDs. In a proof of concept study with 40 subjects and within-subject design, the influence of specific load changes on risk surrogate parameters for MSDs is therefore investigated.

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Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
  • Technische Universität Dortmund
  • Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
Type of hazard:

work-related diseases, design of work and technology, mechanical hazards


workplace design, physical strain/stress

Description, key words:

takt work, BK2101, BK2113