Age differentiated personnel planning and design of work shows deficits in validated planning and design tools. Practical approaches are common in companies. Therefore, the following hypotheses formed the basis of this project, supported by German Research Foundation (DFG):
- Age differentiated ergonomic design of work (AEDW) prevents occupational disorders & diseases, in particularly on cases of high repetitive, sensorimotor assembly operations
- As a consequence AEDW reduces also the rates of early retirement
- AEDW improves the achievement motivation and output of older employees
The project outlined three phases; each phase lasts for two years. The first phase of the project focused on a cross-sectional study about design improvements that are necessary to guarantee an adequate assignment (i.e. regarding both performance and strain) of employees.
Therefore, tools for ergonomic analysis were developed for macro-modelling (profile analysis and design) of both workplace demands and employee abilities and also for micro-modelling (workplace design based on single assembly operations). These tools were applied in two automobile companies.
Data gathered by these analyses of demands on workplaces and abilities of working persons at automobile companies werestored into a database. This database has been used for further analysis to identify age and workplace related bottlenecks in terms of demands and abilities, which is a precondition for the deduction of workplace-design measures.
The next two phases included longitudinal studies and concerned the following questions:
- Which design measures have to be conducted proactively for an ageing workforce before a new product model is introduced (= related to employees of an organization)?
- Which design measures have to be conducted for specific workers to take already present injuries into account or to avoid developing work-related injuries (= individual approach)?
The results of this project are part of the following dissertations:
- D. Müglich (2017): Erfassung und Nutzung körperlicher Fähigkeitsdaten zur Gesundhaltung von Produktionsmitarbeitern, TU Darmstadt
- P. Wittemann (2017) Konzeption eines Verfahrens zur Ableitung ergonomischer Gestaltungslösungen für fähigkeitsgerechte Arbeitsplätze. TU Darmstadt