Case Study
Workplace design for a warehouse worker with back problem at a mechanical engineering company

There are 4 images available for this case study:

  1. Arbeitsplatz|(p111052)Umlaufregal - Regalebene|(p111053)Ampelsystem|(p111054)PC-Terminal
  2. Arbeitsplatz|(p111052)Umlaufregal - Regalebene|(p111053)Ampelsystem|(p111054)PC-Terminal
  3. Arbeitsplatz|(p111052)Umlaufregal - Regalebene|(p111053)Ampelsystem|(p111054)PC-Terminal
  4. Arbeitsplatz|(p111052)Umlaufregal - Regalebene|(p111053)Ampelsystem|(p111054)PC-Terminal


The company is a vehicle and mechanical engineering group with several locations worldwide. At a location with 2,000 employees in Germany, it develops and produces compressors, extruders and gas and steam turbines.

Disability and functional restriction of the employee:

The woman has a spinal disease with back pain and is severely disabled. It can only be used to a limited extent for manual load handling, such as lifting and carrying. This is particularly true for working in a stooped and bent posture and with arms stretched out. Due to illness, there used to be greater downtimes, which have been greatly reduced after the disability-friendly design.

Training and job:

The woman has been working as a warehouse clerk in the company for several years. When she started working, she was trained accordingly.

Work organization:

The warehouse clerk used to work in the large parts warehouse, where she put together parts for outgoing goods and stored new parts. Due to the disability, it could no longer be used there, as there, despite aids, heavier loads had to be manually lifted and carried for storage and retrieval. She was therefore transferred to the small parts warehouse. She works in shifts with other colleagues in the small parts warehouse.

Workplace and duties:

The warehouse clerk works in the area of ​​small and spare parts storage in the company's production. There, smaller parts such as screws, nuts, seals, flanges, etc. were stored in a shelving system with a low weight for production and for shipping to the customer. The respective shelves had seven compartments, of which the woman could only use three compartments at waist height due to the disability. At the same time, the company continued to modernize the storage processes and therefore wanted to switch to the type of storage and to the so-called pick-by-vision principle. In cooperation with the technical advice service of the integration office, a workplace inspection with inspection and advice was carried out. After that, two nine-meter-high carousels (paternoster shelves) with ergonomic removal and storage heights and two table trolleys that are adapted to the body size for working in an ergonomic posture were purchased (Fig. 1). All small and spare parts are now stored in containers within the two carousels, which are directly linked to the computer-aided storage system. Together, both carousels have around 6,000 storage spaces. If, for example, an order for picking is started, the warehouse clerk receives the corresponding information about the data glasses used in the storage system and with the pick-by-vision principle or via their display. By tapping a sensor on the glasses frame, the part to be picked or the article to be picked is displayed and the carousel automatically moves the associated shelf level to the removal position and provides the containers with the articles at the removal point (Fig. 2). The warehouse clerk removes the items and places them in a box on one of the table trolleys, for example. The individual removal processes are acknowledged by a data glove with a scanner and transferred to the storage system. The process continues for each item to be picked until the order is complete and a printed order form is placed in the box and the box is closed. In order to avoid physical stress caused by lifting items in a bent upper body position and with arms stretched out, items are stored according to a "traffic light system" in such a way that heavy small parts are placed further in front and lighter small parts in the rear area of ​​a shelf level or the warehouse clerk's reach (Fig 3). A table trolley has an integrated scale so that the items can be weighed prior to weight-oriented storage. The warehouse clerk quickly found her way around the new technology and did not have to be specially trained or trained. Since the company tested the new technology at the beginning and participated in the development itself, the warehouse clerk was also able to bring her own suggestions for improvement and ideas into the process. However, the warehouse clerk finds working with the data glasses exhausting for an entire working day, because it requires a high level of concentration. Therefore, after two hours or after an empty battery, it changes to the conventional mode of operation using a hand scanner and PC terminal (Fig. 4). There is also another ergonomically equipped computer workstation with an office chair and a height-adjustable desk in the warehouse, which is only rarely used by women.

Assistive devices used:

visual computer display devices and accessories (data glasses) Storage and supply systems hand-held industrial transport equipment

Funding and participation:

The handicap-friendly work design, through the use of the revolving racks and table trolleys, was proportionally promoted by the local specialist office for people with disabilities at work or by the Inclusion Office. The advice was provided by the technical advice service of the Inclusion Office of the Rhineland Regional Council.

Keywords and Further Information

No information about funding available.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 7 Dec 2020