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

Steps: 1. determine need 2. counselling 3. check workplace 4. planning and testing 5. apply for funding 6. implementation and follow up Procedure for the supply of professional medical equipment Steps: 1. determine need 2. counselling 3. check workplace 4. planning and testing 5. apply for funding 6. implementation and follow up Procedure for the supply of professional medical equipment

Technical aids for the job can be used to adapt workplaces and the working environment 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 may indicate 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 appraisal interview
  • Results within the framework of the 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 be aware of their health impairment themselves or may conceal their problem for fear of negative consequences. If the direct manager is attentive and caring and observes reduced performance or unusual behaviour, he or she can take action - by seeking discussion and signalling help. The goal is to avoid a deterioration in health and ultimately higher follow-up costs.

Depending on the size and nature of the company, other company agents may also be able to identify 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 taken.

Employers are often unsettled by 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 appropriate support measures, the job-related requirements need to be matched with individual capabilities.

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

There are also profiling methods to determine whether the worker's skills and knowledge fit the workplace. These are standardised tests and profile comparison procedures such as IMBA, MELBA or ERGOS.

An inspection and examination of the workplace often reveals that simple adaptations (e.g. a different placement of the office furniture) and organisational measures (e.g. 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 decided which technical aids are to be ordered or which structural 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 recognised severe disability or equal status
  • Information on 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 security certificates, health insurance card
  • Information on the responsible employers' liability insurance association
  • Declaration of consent for release from the obligation to maintain medical confidentiality, from the medical service or from the employers' liability insurance association.

You can find out more about the sequence and deadlines on the page on application proceedings.

The rehabilitation agencies and integration offices offer application forms for benefits for job participation.

The process does not end when the workplace is suitable for disabled people or the working environment is changed.

All the 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. Further optimisation steps include software updates, technical retrofitting or training in the use of technical aids.

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