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Case Study Workplace design for a kitchen assistant


The employer is a deaconess house of the Protestant deaconry, where deaconesses live and are trained as deaconesses and other professions. It operates hospitals, as well as homes for children and the elderly.
The employer intends to dismiss a kitchen assistant with a severe disability. He therefore applied to the integration or inclusion office for approval of the dismissal because the declining performance and the work result of the kitchen assistant are no longer economically viable for him.

Disability and functional limitation of the employee:

- Psychogenic seizures
- Spinal disease
For some time now, the woman has been suffering from psychogenic seizures for which no organic causes could be determined by the attending physician. Thus, physical exhaustion and excitement (stress) seem to be triggers for the seizures. The spinal disease leads to limitations in the woman's manual lifting and carrying of loads.

Training and job:

The employee has not learned a job. She has worked for the employer for many years as a kitchen helper. The woman's workplace is in severe jeopardy. Termination would probably mean permanent unemployment for the woman, as she is very difficult to place.

Workplace and work task:

The kitchen help has the task of peeling potatoes (with the help of a potato peeling machine), cleaning accumulating dishes (e.g. pots, trays and containers) and carrying out the disposal and cleaning of buckets with food leftovers.
For cleaning the larger kitchen utensils, the employee uses a high-pressure cleaner, which is also needed in other areas of the deaconess house and for this reason cannot always be available for her. If such a situation occurs, the woman panics, becomes highly irritable and may suffer a psychogenic seizure due to stress.
The cleaning by hand of the heavy and unwieldy pots, pans, containers and trays puts a lot of strain on the damaged spine and quickly leads to states of exhaustion.
Another problem is posed by the heavy cast-iron potato peeling machine. Due to its oversized nature and the lack of space available, it has to be stored in an adjacent room and transported back and forth manually when in use. Although the machine is equipped with two casters, the employee cannot transport it alone. She has to find another employee to do so, which in turn causes her stress.
In order to reduce the stress or the psychological strain and the physical strain, a pot washing machine, a smaller as well as much lighter potato peeling machine and an additional high-pressure cleaner (for manual cleaning) were purchased for the kitchen. All the necessary equipment and machines are now available to the kitchen help at any time, so she is not dependent on anyone. The new potato peeling machine, due to its small size, also has a permanent location in the kitchen area.

Further Information

The integration and inclusion office supported the measure and was thus able to help secure the kitchen assistant's workplace. Advice was provided by the Technical Advisory Service of the Integration and Inclusion Office.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 14 Feb 2019