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Case Study
Work design for a hairdresser


The company is a hairdressing salon with six salaried professionals who, in addition to cutting and styling hair, also offer advice on hair and scalp care, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, facial skin care and make-up. The team also includes one employee with a severe disability.

Disability and impairment of the employee:

The employee has cancer and rheumatism. The illnesses cause restrictions in grasping and holding objects and work equipment. This can lead to her fingers, hand, arm and back hurting when holding and using work equipment. The degree of disability (GdB) is 70 - the woman is therefore considered severely disabled. Due to her disability, the stresses and strains of her job have caused her to be absent from work in the past.

Education and occupation:

The woman is a trained hairdresser and has worked at the hairdressing salon for many years.

Workplace and work task:

The hairdresser works at two workstations in a modern solon with a reception counter with cash register in the entrance area, hairdressing tables as well as chairs and a hair washing as well as drying hood area. Their tasks include:
  • washing, cutting, colouring and blow-drying hair,
  • advising on skin and scalp care and recommending the appropriate products (she regularly attends training courses),
  • taking orders from clients for care products, and
  • scheduling appointments for clients.
  • The tools used by the hairdresser to perform her tasks, such as various scissors, the hairdryer and hair straightener, could hardly be used or held by her because her fingers, hands and arms hurt after only a short time of use. Pushing the cumbersome hairdresser's trolley with the work equipment to the respective work area and actually working on the hair of customers of different sizes on the hairdresser's chair at non-ergonomic working heights or with non-ergonomic arm positions also led to increased strain on the hairdresser due to her disability and thus to back pain, among other things. The existing work equipment was therefore replaced with the following to make it suitable for the disabled:
  • Scissors with a special ergonomic handle for easier and pain-free cutting (picture 1),
  • a hairdryer and hair straightener with a smooth handle that are easier and simpler to use and cause less strain when using and holding them (picture 2),
  • a work or hairdressing trolley that is easier to push and slightly higher for better removal and storage of work equipment (picture 3),
  • two hairdresser's chairs with height adjustment by means of a foot lever to adjust the working height for customers of different heights, thus enabling them to adopt an ergonomic working posture (picture 4) and
  • a saddle seat stool for switching between a sitting or standing working posture, which helps to avoid standing that is a permanent strain (Fig. 5).
  • Working environment:

    In the sanitary area, a grab rail was installed on the wall near the toilet to hold on to or to support sitting down and standing up (picture 6). In addition, a soap dispenser and a paper dispenser were installed near the washbasin. Both can be used easily and with little effort by the hairdresser.

    Assistive products used:

    |<|Hairdryer%%%TECHIL%%%ISO%%%09 39 09|>| |<|Hair styling aids%%%TECHIL%%%ISO%%%09 39 06|>| |<|Stools and standing seats (saddle stools)%%%TECHIL%%%SUC%%%Sattelhocker|>| |<|Fixed handle bars and support handles%%%TECHIL%%%ISO%%%18 18 06|>| |<|Soap holder and soap dispenser%%%TECHIL%%%ISO%%%09 33 33|>| |<|Aids for independent drying%%%TECHIL%%%ISO%%%09 33 39|>|

    Owner's comment:

    According to the owner, the hairdresser has not experienced any further absenteeism since the workplace adjustment.

    Promotion and participation:

    The disability-friendly design was promoted by the Inclusion Office of the Rhineland Regional Association (LVR). Advice was provided by the Technical Advisory Service of the Inclusion Office.

    ICF Items

    Reference Number:


    Last Update: 21 Feb 2023