Psychological risk assessment for the digitalised workplace: The DYNAMIK 4.0 system
Fundamental changes in ways of working due to the use of digital technology in manufacturing ("smart factory", "Industry 4.0") and in many other sectors require new approaches to the process of psychological risk assessment (PRA). The DYNAMIK 4.0 collaborative research project is backed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF
) and is designed to lay the foundations for this.
In a joint project with partners from universities, non-university research institutions and industry, psychosocial stress and the requirements of a PRA in Industry 4.0 were systematically described on the basis of qualitative interviews and collated with established models of work-related stress. The results are used in the development of powerful web-based software that helps responsible persons in companies to carry out the entire seven-step process of the PRA independently to a large extent. Following a successful pilot study, the software-assisted PRA is currently under evaluation in five companies.
Results of the qualitative interviews show that new kinds of stress are caused by new forms of man-machine interaction, technological problems, work intensification caused by information and communication technologies, blurring of boundaries between work and private life, increased qualification requirements, changes in work organisation with loss of scope for action and increased surveillance of work performance.
Although the majority of these new stressors may be categorised within the established work-related stress models, they are specific in their characteristics and require new operationalisation - in particular, the causes of stress must be recorded directly and promptly. Technological changes as a whole also have implications for the requirements of a PRA in that it must be short-term, flexible in content and easier to carry out so that it can be implemented in the long term. Flexible, web-based systems seem to be especially suitable for this purpose.
Building on scientific knowledge about new forms of stress and requirements of a PRA, the DYNAMIK 4.0 system is an innovative, user-friendly and adaptive psychological risk assessment system for companies with smart factory technologies. After positive evaluation in the pilot phase, a conclusion about the effect can only be drawn after the evaluation of the five current practice trials.