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Case Study Workplace design for a decorator


The employer is a municipal theatre with 30 employees.

Disability and functional limitation of the employee:

The man has a spinal disease, joint damage at the shoulder and knee joint and a periosteum disease at the right elbow. Due to his disability, the man can only lift and carry loads manually to a very limited extent and can work in certain postures (e.g. bent over). The GdB (degree of disability) is 40, the equality with severely disabled persons has been applied for at the employment agency.


The man works as a decorator at the municipal theatre.

Workplace and work task (actual state):

Depending on the staff density and the operational situation, the employees are used for all work that arises in the stage area. The fact that a large part of the working time is spent in a physiologically unfavourable area and that the stage decorations have to be changed in a very short time when the theatre is in operation, especially during performances, makes the job more difficult for the employees. This results in additional high physical and psychological stress. For the visual design of the stage area, backdrops, floor cloths and backdrops are used. The backdrops consist of wooden constructions with the corresponding superstructures as well as colour designs and have a width of approx. 2 - 4 m and a height of approx. 8 m. The thickness of these constructions varies depending on the type of stage. The thickness of these constructions is 20 - 40 cm, depending on the plastic representation.
The floor cloths are carpets, fabrics or foils for the optical design of the floor of the stage. These floor cloths have different widths, but must ultimately cover a stage area of approx. 14 m.
The back wall brochures are made of fabric, painted according to the requirements and have a dimension of approx. 14 x 8 m.
All transport from the warehouse to the stage area will be muscular, and consideration is being given to moving the fixed structures using special pallet trucks that will allow them to be moved in any direction. The carpets and floor cloths and the back wall brochures are rolled up or are attached to 14 m long wooden or steel rods and can be rolled up onto them. These materials are stored in a double-walled rack of approx. 14 m in length and up to 6 m in height. The floor cloths are rolled up and muscularly transported to the storage area and manually placed in or removed from the respective shelves. The back wall brochures can be moved vertically in the stage area with the help of existing electric hoists, whereas their horizontal transport between the storage and stage area as well as the storage, removal and winding up is done muscularly. When the floor cloths or brochures are needed for the performance and rehearsal operations, the assigned technical shift of 6 - 7 people must transport the approx. 15 m long rolls with a weight of 100 - 120 kg via ladders set up or also by climbing up the left and right shelf equipment with spread legs. The prospect and floor cloth storage system is a relic from the 1950s that demands working conditions that are at the limits of muscular strain. In relation to the disabled decorator, requirements thus arise which are in high opposition to the disability-related restrictions.

Workplace and work task (target state):

In order to design the storage area for carpets, floor cloths, back wall brochures and rod-like stage constructions ergonomically and suitable for disabled people, the municipal theatre wants to purchase a paternoster cabinet for brochures and floor cloths. This will create storage spaces with a maximum individual load of 600 kg. These storage locations are arranged in a circulation system in such a way that the respective storage location can be moved electrically to the lower position, where the stage decorations can then be inserted or removed at a convenient working height. Using the lifting gear in the stage area, the rolled-up scenery parts are lifted onto a transport car, transported on wheels from the stage area to the paternoster rack and deposited muscularly over the adjusted heights into the shelf area of the paternoster rack. Since these are usually wheeled structures, most can then be moved on wheels between the shelf and the transport car.

The workplace was also designed for two other severely disabled employees who, due to their disabilities, are only allowed to lift and carry loads manually to a very limited extent.

Assistive products used:

Further Information

The design suitable for disabled people was funded by the responsible integration or inclusion office with 35% of the costs incurred. The workplaces have been retained as workplaces for severely disabled people for more than 10 years.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 14 Nov 2008