The Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo) investigates potentials and risks of modern work on the basis of behavioural and life sciences. The results of our research are used to design new regulations and guidelines for a beneficial and healthy working environment.
The IfADo combines life sciences and behavioural sciences to investigate the potentials and risks of modern work for human health and performance. Its aim is to design work, workplaces, and working environments that serve to promote safety, health, and work abilities.
The institute was founded in association with TU Dortmund University in 1969 and is operated by the Forschungsgesellschaft für Arbeitsphysiologie und Arbeitsschutz e.V., Dortmund. Its historic roots lie in the Kaiser-Wilhelm/Max-Planck-Institut für Arbeitsphysiologie (established in Berlin in 1913). In 1929, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute was moved to Dortmund in order to be closer to the industrial areas of the Ruhr Valley. Originally the IfADo comprised five departments which focused on different types of risk or strain at work (environmental physiology, occupational psychology, ergonomics, sensory physiology, and toxicology/occupational medicine).
Today the IfADo is a cross-disciplinary institute for integrated applied and basic research related to occupational health and human performance. Its research groups combine different academic subjects such as ergonomics, psychology, toxicology, and occupational medicine/biology. Among the problems addressed are the occupational origins and prevention of musculosceletal diseases, the optimal design of human-machine interfaces, the causes and prevention of burnout, the identification and elimination of chemical risks, as well as identification and compensation of age-related variations of working capacities. The research findings are not only communicated to the scientific community, but in addition they form the basis for contributions to regulatory bodies such as the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) of the EU or standardization bodies such as the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). They are also communicated to practitioners in the field of occupational health and ergonomics, as well as to the general public.