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Case Study Workplace design for employees in a cemetery


The employer is the technical operations of a city, whose tasks include the care and maintenance of green spaces as well as forest areas and waste disposal. The green spaces include parks and cemeteries, with the eight cemeteries alone covering an area of 58 hectares.

Disability and functional limitations of employees:

1st employee

The man has a back condition, shoulder-arm syndrome, high blood pressure and limited lung function. Due to these disabilities, the man should not perform heavy physical activities. In particular, he should avoid bending and lifting or carrying heavy loads. The GdB (degree of disability) is 50.

2. Employee
The man also has a back disease. He should also avoid forced postures (frequent bending and stooping) and lifting and carrying heavy loads. The degree of disability is 40 (GdB 40).

3rd employee

The man has a chronic gastric mucosa disease and epilepsy. He should not be exposed to high physical loads in the long run. The degree of disability is 70 (GdB 70).

4. Employee
The man has chronic bronchitis and a back disease. The degree of disability is 50 (GdB 50).

Workplace and work task (actual condition):

Together with five other colleagues, the four men work in a 15-hectare (150,000-square-metre) cemetery. There they carry out the following tasks:
- Setting up the open grave with a set of grave grates (weight approx. 100 kg) as well as laying out squared timber, planks and solid wooden platforms.
- transport and laying of ground and driving plates in the grave field as well as all lawn paths which are used by the cemetery excavator.
There is only one mini dump truck in the cemetery for transporting grave grates and ground and drive plates. For the staff this means that they always have to load up the plates at the garage when needed so that they can lay them out on site. If the mini-dump truck is needed in between for other activities, the employees have to unload it again first.
- Placing the shoring material to support the trench.
When digging in the so-called "difficult soils", the front and side walls often collapse, especially during rainy periods. The work is made particularly difficult by inflowing water and mud, and shoring by hand is hardly possible. The complex removal work with planks and spindles can then only be carried out with the greatest physical effort.
- Removal of old gravestones, slabs and grave monuments.
At present the old gravestones are removed by hand. The men have to carry or drag the stones, which weigh up to 500 kg, for about 3 to 10 m and place them on the approx. 80 cm high loading area of the mini tipper. Unloading the stones at the collection point is also done by hand.
- Loading and transport of avenue trees, baled plants and container goods. This involves lifting and carrying weights of up to 250kg.
- Clearing trees and shrubs, transporting and loading lumber.
- Loading equipment (vibratory plates, concrete mixers, power generators, irrigation barrels, hose carts, stone cutting machines, etc.) weighing up to 150 kg onto truck and trailer.
- loading and transport of fertilizers and soil improvers (lime, peat, humus, cement, plant treatment products, etc.) in bags of 25 to 50 kg.
All loading work onto or off the tipper must be done by hand. The tipper has neither a loading aid nor a hydraulically assisted tipping device.
- Stone laying work on grave fields and embankment ditches. The moulded stones and stone slabs to be laid weigh up to 80 kg.
The stones and slabs are brought and placed by hand, as there is no lifting device attached to the transport car. On the old part of the cemetery the stones and slabs have to be carried for up to 15 m, it is not possible to approach them with a tipper truck because of the narrow paths.
- transport of bulk materials (hard limestone, sand, etc.) is done with wheelbarrows or the mini-tipper.
- Driving of the large area mower and the mini tipper.

Workplace and work task (target state):

So that the employees do not have to carry and hold heavy planks and spindles during excavation, a sliding lime box is used. This is placed on the trench before work begins and slides into the trench as the excavation work progresses. This eliminates the need for heavy handling of the planks and metal spindles.
Two special, low-level transport cars have been purchased for transporting and storing the soil and driving plates and the grave grates. On these, the equipment can be driven to any location and unloaded or loaded without much effort. In addition, the plates and grates can remain on the transport car and do not have to be constantly loaded and unloaded.
For the transport of the surplus excavated earth and all building materials required in the grave field, a motor tipper with a hydraulically assisted tipping device had to be purchased. In addition, a transport vehicle had to be equipped with a loading crane to make it easier for the workers to lift the heavy stone slabs or gravestones onto or off the loading area. For the clearing of returned graves, especially for the removal of old gravestones, a stone transport truck is used to make the work easier. With this the stones can be removed or transported with little effort.

Assistive products used:

Further Information

The workplace design suitable for disabled people was supported by the integration or inclusion office, taking into account that the employment rate for people with severe disabilities is 7 percent, which is higher than the statutory rate. The employer therefore received a subsidy of 75 percent of the costs. The advice was provided by the Technical Advisory Service of the Integration and Inclusion Office.

ICF Items

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Last Update: 8 Aug 2019