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Case Study Barrier-free design for a candidate for the higher service


The employer is a tax office with 375 employees.

Employee's Disability and Functional Limitation:

The woman has ataxia due to damage to her cerebellum, cardiovascular disease, spinal disease (scoliosis), and weak arm muscles. She is dependent on the use of a power wheelchair. Due to her disability, her motor skills, coordination of movement, grasping range and mobility are limited. The GdB (degree of disability) is 100. The severely handicapped person's identity card bears the marks G and aG.

Training and job:

The woman was hired as a candidate for the career of the higher service at the tax office. The vocational training lasts three years and includes practical and theoretical content. The practical part takes place in the office, while the theoretical content is taught at the University of Applied Sciences for Finance. The head of the tax office assumes that the aspirant will be taken on as a permanent employee after successfully completing the vocational training and will be assigned to the tax office. There is no guarantee of this.

Work assignment:
The woman will be involved in processing financial matters, such as income tax returns, tax laws and company audits, as part of her vocational training and in her later professional life.

Work Organization:

Due to the disabilities present, it is anticipated that the trainee will not be able to perform at the same level as a non-disabled person. In addition, the woman needs help from another person to go to the toilet, so this also causes downtime. The employer can claim these extraordinary burdens from the Integration Office.

Working environment - mobility (actual state):
A wheelchair ramp is installed at the main entrance to the service building. The double door of the main entrance is so heavy that the trainee cannot open it.
The training department is located on the fourth floor of the building. There is a satisfactory lift to get there. After a practical test it was found that the trainee is not able to reach the buttons for requesting the lift on the respective floors as well as the upper buttons of the switchboard in the lift, as these are outside her grasping range. To reach the existing disabled WC and canteen, the trainee must also use the lift as these are on different floors. On each floor, the individual corridors are fitted with fire doors for fire safety reasons. These doors cannot be opened by her alone either. The same applies to the entrance door to the canteen.

Working environment - mobility (target state):
The mother brings the trainee to the office and picks her up again every day. In order to enable the trainee to enter, leave and move within the building independently, the doors were equipped with automatic swing door operators and control via motion detectors. To prevent people from being injured by a collision, a sensor strip was fitted to the top of the doors to safeguard the opening and closing area.
The fire doors were equipped with a specially approved swing door drive. By actuating the large switches installed in the restricted gripping area and at a satisfactory distance from the Doors, the Doors can be opened automatically by motor. The subsequent closing is effected by a spring in the door drive which is tensioned during opening and which closes the fire doors again in accordance with the regulations even in the event of a power failure. In the event of a fire, the automatic opening mechanism is deactivated by the signal from a smoke detector and the closed doors can only be opened manually. The fire doors can only be opened again automatically after the smoke detectors have been reset. A corresponding notice on automatic opening and closing has been affixed to all doors.
In the lift area, pushbuttons were installed on each floor to request the lift, as well as an additional horizontally arranged switch panel in the lift, within the trainees' reach.

Assistive products used:

Further Information

The design suitable for disabled people was supported by the Integration Office. Advice was provided by the specialist engineering service for work design suitable for disabled people of the Integration Office - the so-called Technical Advisory Service.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 30 Aug 2017