Creation of a "spinal stress" database modelled on the OMEGA system

Project No. BGIA 4104


completed 01/2005


Since the inclusion in 1993 of discogenetic disorders of the lumbar spine in the list of recognized occupational diseases, identification of the workplace conditions required for recognition of occupational disease BK 2108 has presented a problem. One objective of the present project was to provide the institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention with a software application for processing exposure information for the recognition of that occupational disease. This software will be maintained centrally by the BG Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BGIA). One problem entailed by study of the workplace factors upon which a positive ruling is conditional is that many of the impacting activities of the past are difficult to assess, since the workplaces in question often no longer exist, or the job profiles have changed substantially over the years. A long-term objective of the OMEGA database is therefore to create a data pool of typical, sector-specific stress patterns for existing professions, which in the future will permit a valid assessment of the workplace factors required for formal recognition of occupational disease BK 2108. This data pool may also be used in the long term for hazard assessment of workplaces, and consequently for the development of prevention measures. By supplementing of the existing OMEGA system, different stress data (e.g. on noise, hazardous substances, spinal stress) for a given activity are to be merged, in order for an integral risk assessment to be obtained both for procedures for assessment of cases of occupational disease, and for prevention activity.


In the initial phase, a working group comprising experts from the institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention (BGs) was formed under the auspices of the BGIA which defined the architecture of the database and the structure of its content. For the purpose of inquiries, a beta version of the exposure information software for recognition of occupational disease BK 2108 was developed in the BGIA which provides the necessary input dialogs and data records for data already acquired from various BGs. In the test phase, the beta version of the program was tested by a number of BGs. The results were integrated into the software by the BGIA. At the same time, further data (including CUELA measurement data) were processed as required for incorporation into the database, thus providing a data pool for all BGs which will surpass the requirements of the occupational disease recognition procedure alone. When finalized, the BGIA made the software available to the BGs involved. The database will be maintained centrally in the BGIA, where further stress data will be added continually to the database.


In the course of the project an exposure information software application for use in association with formally recognized occupational disease BK 2108 was developed, tested, and produced. This software permits automated calculation of the occupational exposure dose based upon the Mainz-Dortmunder dose model (MDD). The result of this calculation is output in the form of an exposure information report with the aid of various key indexes and register data. By January 2005, a total of 112 users from 25 BGs had been trained in its use at the BGIA. For the generation of further register data suitable for use in connection with occupational histories, a program was developed for the input of register data either manually or in conjunction with the CUELA system. This program has now been made available to representatives of 22 BGs. The working group responsible for the OMEGA spinal loading database is now continuing its development by addressing the input of more finely differentiated data. These data are to be recorded for use beyond the database's principal function of assessment in connection with formally recognized occupational diseases, namely for prevention purposes. This prevention database is intended on the one hand to offer familiar assessment processes for musculo-skeletal loading, and on the other, through its interface to the CUELA system, to record valid data on a range of occupational musculo-skeletal loads, and to process them for future evaluation.

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

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Handhabung von Lasten, Arbeitsbedingte Erkrankungen, Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren


Exposition, Physische Beanspruchung/Belastung, Ergonomie

Description, key words:

OMEGA database, spinal stress, lifting and carrying, unfavourable body posture, sector-specific impact profiles, exposure information software for occupational disease BK 2108, consistent processing of cases of suspected occupational disease, hazard assessment, prevention, archiving of stress data, overall stress profiles