Case Study
Workplace design for a production assistant with a spinal disability and gastric affection


The employer manufactures sanitary products with its 5,500 employees worldwide.

Disability and functional impairment of the employee:

The man has a spinal and stomach disease. According to the recommendations of the treating physicians and the rehabilitation clinic, he should not be used for activities where loads weighing more than 10 kg have to be lifted or transported manually and where certain postures are required (frequent bending, sitting for long periods, working overhead and holding the arms). The GdB (degree of disability) is 60.

Training and job:

The man has been working for many years as a trained production assistant in shift work for the employer.

Workplace and work organisation (current status):

Before his illness, the employee was employed in various departments (e.g.: foundry and rework). He is no longer able to perform the predominantly heavy physical work in these departments. After his discharge from the rehabilitation clinic, he was transferred to an assembly workplace in the production area. There he is to assemble shower components. For assembly, the components must be carried on the work table and stacked on pallets again after completion, which requires 50 lifting and carrying operations each with a weight of up to approx. 20 kg.

Workplace and work organisation (desired status):

An overhead travelling crane with electric motor chain hoist and load handling attachment was installed above the assembly workplace. With the help of the crane, the employee can set down the components from the pallets on an electromotive height-adjustable assembly table. After placing the components on the assembly table, he can adjust the height individually and assemble the components in an ergonomic working position. The fully assembled components are then stacked on a pallet again by crane. The overhead travelling crane is attached to a 9 m long rail, which allows room for an additional workplace. In order to avoid increased stress and fatigue due to long periods of standing, mats were laid out at the workplace or on the floor. By moving and using the aids, the physical strain could be considerably reduced and thus the continued employment of the employee in the company could be achieved.

Assistive devices used:

Workbenches, welding tables, mounting tables and packing tables Workplace mats Cranes, hoists and lifting

Keywords and Further Information

Funding and participation:

Disability-friendly work arrangements were promoted by the Integration or Inclusion Office - there was no economic benefit for the employer. By using the crane, another employee with a disability could be assigned to a second assembly workplace. Advice was provided by the Technical Advisory Service of the Integration and Inclusion Office.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 19 Feb 2020