work safety

Systems Management Research Group

Methodology and Work Psychology Unit

Institute of Cognitive Sciences

Gerhard-Mercator-University Duisburg – FRG

Psychological, educational and mediatoric professionals cooperate within the Systems Management Research Group (Forschungsgruppe Systemmanagement, FOGS) as a part of the Methodology and Work Psychology Unit of the Institute of Cognitive Sciences at the Gerhard-Mercator-University Duisburg.

This research group, founded by PD Dr. H.-Peter Musahl in 1985, has expanded ist main focus in safety research to problems of a holistic safety and health management within complex man-machine (i.e. socio-technical) systems and to psychological aspects of environmental protection and of quality management. The central ideas of applied work can be characterized by the psychological concepts of learning and cognition as well as by the organizational principle of participation. Due to the fact that FOGS is a part of the Methodology and Work Psychology Unit high methodological standards of project and data management procedures are ensured.

Past and current projects were all designed, developed, executed and evaluated under strict and constant cooperation with external partners from different industries and institutions. Extensive evaluative studies show substantial positive effects of the interventions which have been carried out (i.e. dramatic decline of accident rates, accompanied by positive transfers to absenteeism, health and productivity).

Previous and current cooperations:

  • Development of a safety program for accident prevention in cooperation with the coal-mining industry (RAG / DSK), which has on the grounds of psychology of learning and cognition and according to long-term evaluative work proven to be highly effective.
  • Tests and successful implementation of this safety approach to the conditions of small and medium sized companies.
  • Investigations on safety, health, environmental and quality management systems as well as on the organisational climate within a salt-mining plant.
  • "Management of individual competencies as a prerequisite for the successful implementation of group work in small and medium sized companies", a project funded by the government of NW and the EU, which is aimed to uncover implementation problems of participative work groups and to help companies with successful steps to job design and reorganisation. The project is being executed in cooperation with different companies from the metal industry.
  • In cooperation with a public insurance company (BGN) the conditions and the risk-exposition of the insured on their way to work and back home were investigated. Better knowledge of circumstances and modalities will help to evaluate accident rates and redesign preventive measures.
  • Studies in cooperation with a German airline (DLH) on disturbances and trouble shooting in connection with the ground handling of airplanes

Current areas of projects:

  • Problems of leadership under conditions of organisational change and participative job design.
  • Effects of different concepts of quality management on group members and development of effective means to optimise quality and job redesigning.
  • Introduction of new work safety procedures and reporting systems, combined with participative safety activities, stressing near misses and undetected errors.
  • Introduction of work groups in a medium sized company.

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