Case Study
Workplace design for a joiner with intervertebral disk lesion


The medium-sized joinery manufactures u. a. Complete energy-saving houses made of ecological building materials in timber frame construction. These houses are made as structural elements and then erected and assembled on the construction site. Depending on customer requirements, these energy-saving houses can be ordered turnkey or as a shell. In addition, the company with its 150 employees produces furniture, stairs and kitchens according to customer requirements.

Disability and functional restriction of the employee:

The man has a damaged spinal disc. After medical rehabilitation in a rehab clinic, he was initially gradually reintegrated, i.e. again gradually brought up to the full work volume and working hours. It should not be used for manual lifting and carrying of loads. This is especially true when working in a stooped or bent posture.

Training and job:

The man is a carpenter and works for the company in the field of interior fittings.

Workplace and duties:

When it comes to interior design, the carpenter and his colleagues produce bathroom and kitchen furniture, for example, entirely by hand. First, the wooden panels must be sawn to size. After sawing, the carpenter carries the wooden panels with the max. Dimensions of approx. 2.0 x 2.5 m and a thickness of 15 to 25 mm together with a colleague on the CNC milling machine. There he and his colleague have to bring the panels into a horizontal position, place them on the approx. 60 cm high machine table and align them. Due to the low height of the machine table, this process takes place with the upper body bent. After placing and aligning the wooden panels, the carpenter starts the milling program or the milling process. Then he has to lift the milled and drilled wooden panels with dimensions of 20 x 50 cm up to 2.5 x 0.8 m from the machine table by hand and carry them to his assembly area approx. 10 m away. Assembly only takes place when all components for the order have been processed and are stored in the assembly area. The actual assembly of the furniture parts takes place on the approx. 1 m high, 1.5 m wide and 2 m long assembly table. As soon as the components, consoles, cabinets or other furniture parts are higher than 60 cm, the carpenter has to fetch and use a stepladder. This is the only way to get to the higher assembly points without constantly having to work overhead or on tiptoe. The heavy lifting and carrying work as well as the forced posture in connection with lifting and carrying as well as pulling and pushing had to be avoided due to the existing spinal disease. The workplace was therefore adapted to suit the needs of the disabled. A pillar slewing crane was installed on the CNC milling machine. This slewing crane is equipped with an electric chain hoist from which a vacuum lifting device is suspended. With this vacuum lifting device, both the large raw wood panels and the small processed wood panels can be lifted, swiveled and positioned if necessary, without great effort or forced postures. In addition, this lifting aid is designed so that an assembled cabinet element can also be lifted and moved with it. Through the further use of a height-adjustable and mobile workbench, the assembly can take place directly in the vicinity of the CNC milling machine at an optimal working height. The vacuum lifting device is used to transport or lift the wooden panels from the CNC machine onto the workbench. After assembly, the carpenter can pick up the piece of furniture with the vacuum lifter, roll the workbench underneath and then place the piece of furniture on a transport pallet.

Assistive devices used:

workbenches, welding tables, assembly tables and packing tables (workbench) cranes, hoists and lifting manipulators and weight balancers (vacuum lifter)

Funding and participation:

The disability-friendly workplace design was promoted by the pension insurance as part of the benefits for participation in working life following medical rehabilitation. The pension insurance also paid the carpenter a transitional allowance during the medical rehabilitation and the gradual reintegration, since due to the length (more than six weeks) of the inability to work, the employer no longer paid the wages and therefore corresponding maintenance benefits were required.

Keywords and Further Information

No information about funding available.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 9 Dec 2020