Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance

The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (German: Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung, IFA) is a German institute located in Sankt Augustin near Bonn.


The IFA supports the German institutions for social accident insurance and their organisations in solving scientific and technical problems relating to occupational safety and health. The missions of IFA contain the following objectives:

  • research, development and investigations
  • testing of products and material samples
  • workplace measurements and advice
  • participation in standardisation and regulation setting bodies
  • technical information and expertise

The IFA is notified as testing and certification body for a number of test fields. It serves as a notified body for the testing and certification of products and quality management systems for producers and companies.

The IFA is member of PEROSH, a European research federation.

Fields of activity of the IFA

  • Chemical/biological hazards (dusts, gases, vapours)
    • Analysis of metals and selected inorganic pollutants
    • Analysis of organic and inorganic pollutants (Liquid chromatography)
    • Analysis of organic pollutants (Gaschromatography)
    • Biological agents
    • Dust - Fibres
    • Emission of hazardous substances
    • Exposure assessment
    • Exposure database (MEGA)
    • Measuring system exposure assessment of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions (MGU)
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE) against chemical/biological hazards
    • Protective measures
    • Substance- and product-related data (GESTIS, e.g. GESTIS Substance Database[1], ISi[2], GESTIS-Stoffenmanager)
    • Techniques for measurement of vapours and gases
    • Techniques for particle measurement
    • Toxicology of industrial chemicals
    • Dust explosions
  • Physical hazards
    • Database on physical exposure
    • Hand-arm vibration
    • Hot/cold surfaces
    • Noise measurement
    • Noise protection/Hearing protection
    • PPE against physical hazards
    • Radiation
    • Whole body vibration
  • Ergonomics
    • Developing ergonomic methods and processes for recording and evaluating work-induced load on the musculo-skeletal system
    • Advising the accident insurers and firms on devising ergonomic workplaces and working environments
    • Conducting research projects on ergonomics at various workplaces in the laboratory and in practice
    • Ergonomic design of human-machine interfaces
    • Conducting measurements using the CUELA system[3]
    • Planning and setting up exposure databases on physical loads
  • Epidemiology
  • Accident prevention/Product safety
    • Fluid power
    • Material science and tools
    • New technologies
    • Protective devices and control systems
    • Safety of machines and installations
    • Structural engineering/Constructional elements
    • Transport and traffic
  • Interdisciplinary services


Publications referring the work results of IFA can be found in a database. The IFA is also editor of the GESTIS Substance Database. The available information relates to about 9,400 substances.


The precursor institute of the IFA – dedicated to dust abatement - was founded in 1935 and reestablished in 1953. In 1976 the institute for noise abatement in Mainz was included. In 1980 the institute – then named BIA – moved to Sankt Augustin near Bonn. In 2003 the name changed to BGIA and in 2007 the institute obtained its present-day name on occasion of the fusion of the German social accident insurance institutions in the commercial and the public sector. Since the beginning of 2010 the abbreviated designation is IFA.


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