Case Study
Workplace layout for a mechanic with a hearing impairment and spinal disease in a machine factory


The employer operates a foundry and machinery factory with 429 employees.

Disability and functional restriction of the employee:

The man is hard of hearing and also has a spinal disease. He is only limited capable of acoustic information, such. B. speech and signals to perceive. Due to the disability, therefore, noise (noise), for better speech and signal perception and to avoid the deterioration of the hearing, in the workplace must be avoided. Due to the spinal disease, the man can not be used for activities that require frequent stooping and carrying loads. The GdB (degree of disability) is 70.

Education and job:

The man is a trained industrial mechanic and has been working for his employer for several years.

Workplace and work duties:

Together with a disabled colleague, the employee is responsible for the sheet metal cutting of the entire operation. Sheets are processed in thicknesses of 3 to 20 mm in the formats 1.25 x 2.5 and 1.6 x 3.0 m. This is available for an old sheet metal scissors. This sheet metal scissors caused when cutting the sheets high operating noise or noise, which is reinforced by the falling of the sheer table cut sheets on the floor. The resulting noise or high sound pressure level puts a significant strain on the employee and can permanently worsen the hearing impairment. The metal sheets weighing up to 700 kg are placed on the machine table and the support rails in front of the scissors with a crane or a forklift, but then have to be manually pushed against the side and back stops. For this, especially in the case of the large plate thicknesses and the large format plates, an enormous physical effort is necessary, which puts a great strain on the spine. The backgauge of the existing shears can only be adjusted using two handwheels from the back of the machine, whereby the desired distance between knife edge and stop rail is checked with a measuring tape. Behind the scissors, however, there are blanks on the floor and leftovers that have to be removed in a dangerous manner or that have to be cleared out beforehand. The sorting and stacking of the blanks in turn requires frequent stooping and is associated with sometimes heavy lifting and carrying. Due to the present disabilities, the employee is no longer able to carry out the burdening cutting work. So that the employee can continue to work and disability, the old sheet metal scissors was replaced by a hydraulically operated sheet metal shears with electrically adjustable backgauge with NC control, stacking device for sheet metal blanks and switch for the remaining strips. In the support surface of the machine table for the sheets in front of the scissors are ball rollers, which allow easy moving of the heavy metal sheets in all directions. The adjustment of the back gauge of the new scissors is done electrically via the control on the control panel in front of the machine. Dimensional checks are no longer necessary because a digital display shows the set dimension exactly. The stacking device behind the scissors sorts out the blanks and remaining strips and automatically stacks the blanks onto a pallet, which can then be removed with a forklift and transported away. Stooping, lifting and carrying for sorting and stacking the blanks thus eliminated completely. The hydraulic drive no longer causes much noise when cutting the sheets. Overall, the operating noise is more than 50 percent lower because the noise from falling metal sheets no longer occurs.

Keywords and Further Information

Funding and participation:

The disability-friendly design was promoted by the Integration or Inclusion Office. The advice was provided by the engineering specialist service for disability-friendly work design of the integration or inclusion office - the so-called technical advisory service.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 3 Jul 2019