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A disability or chronic illness can affect anyone. If employees who have been working for many years or young people starting out in their careers are impaired, assistive products and technical work aids can play an important role.

Steps: 1. determine need 2. counseling 3. check workplace 4. planning and testing 5. apply for funding 6. implementation and follow up The process of the job supply of medical aids Steps: 1. determine need 2. counseling 3. check workplace 4. planning and testing 5. apply for funding 6. implementation and follow up The process of the job supply of medical aids

Technical aids for the job allow workplaces and the working environment to be adapted to individual limitations. They are also used for early prevention when a disability is imminent, for example due to a long illness.

In the following, we present an ideal-typical sequence of a work design measure from the determination of needs to the final follow-up.

Various factors can be signs that employees have a physical or mental limitation and that work must be designed accordingly:

  • more frequent absenteeism
  • decreasing productivity or motivation
  • indications in the employee interview
  • Findings in the context of risk assessment
  • Findings within the framework of company integration management
  • Accident or illness diagnosis
  • Findings in the context of a rehabilitation measure

Employees may not themselves be aware of their health impairment or may keep quiet about their problem for fear of negative consequences. If the direct manager is attentive and caring and observes reduced performance or unusual behavior, he or she can take action - by seeking discussion and signaling for help. The goal is to prevent a deterioration in health and ultimately higher follow-up costs.

Depending on the size and type of the company, other company agents may also be able to recognize whether support is indicated. These may be - representatives of the severely disabled, the staff or works council, the employer's inclusion officer, safety officers, the company medical service or disability management.

A trusting, open working atmosphere is important. In this way, problems can be brought up and helpful steps can be initiated.

Employers are often confused with the health problem of an employee. It is advisable to seek advice from external experts. Small and medium-sized companies in particular can benefit from this.

In order to identify suitable support measures, the job-related requirements must be matched with the individual capabilities.

An on-site job inspection is important, which should involve the worker and key agents (e.g., manager, external technical advisory service).

In addition, there are profiling methods to determine whether the worker's skills and knowledge fit the workplace. These are standardized tests and profile comparison methods such as IMBA, MELBA or ERGOS.

An inspection and examination of the workplace often reveals that simple adaptations (for example, a different placement of the office furniture) and organizational measures (for example, the possibility of flexible working hours) are sufficient to provide effective support for workers with health impairments.

If major technical design measures are necessary, assistive products and technical work aids can be tested before they are purchased. This service is offered, for example, by some Vocational Training Centres and possibly by the manufacturers or distributors of the products.

Once it has been determined which technical aids are to be ordered or which construction measures are to be implemented, the employee or the company must submit the application for subsidies before the purchase or the start of construction and wait for approval.

Depending on the federal state or the integration office, different underlays must be attached to the written application for subsidies:

  • Medical certificate or discharge report from the rehabilitation clinic on the nature and extent of the impairment.
  • Details of the doctors treating the patient
  • Expert opinion
  • Proof of recognized severe disability or equal status
  • Information about the people and their educational and professional backgrounds
  • Job or activity description to show the professional relevance of the impairment
  • Copy of the employment contract
  • Cost estimates for planned measures (for technical aids, structural changes); the required number may vary regionally
  • Social insurance certificates, health insurance card
  • Information on the responsible employers' liability insurance association
  • Declaration of consent to release medical confidentiality, the medical service or the employers' liability insurance association

On the application proceedings page, you can find out more about the sequence and deadlines.

The rehabilitation agencies and integration offices offer application forms for benefits for participation in working life.

Equipping the workplace suitable for disabled people or changing the working environment is not the end of the process.

All people involved in the work design - first and foremost, of course, the worker concerned and the direct manager - should check whether the adaptations are also effective and do not entail other health risks. This also applies to direct colleagues. Other optimization steps include software updates, technical retrofits or training in the use of technical aids.

With good, forward-looking planning, the positive effects on performance should be noticeable.