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    Inclusion at the workplace: designing a barrier-free job environment at Krones

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    02. October 2023
    2:50 min.

    Quite a lot is currently happening in the context of plant structure planning at Krones headquarters in Neutraubling. And our representatives for severely disabled employees and our Works Council have made sure that barrier-free design of workplaces in the office and on the shopfloor is given top priority in all the refurbishment and department-relocation projects. 

    Often, it’s the seemingly minor details in our daily work environment that may prove challenging for persons with a physical impairment. Remedial action has been taken at Krones in many regards, aimed at facilitating daily work routines for disabled people and upgrading safety levels. To give just two examples: an interpreting software enables deaf people to take phone calls, and fork lift trucks emit a light signal to warn they are crossing the road.

    “Inclusive design for our plant concerns us all. Disablement can hit every one of us. At present, about 15 per cent of all employees have some kind of physical impairment,” to quote Milan Majstorovic, one of Krones’ representatives for severely disabled employees, and Gerhard Schuster, a member of the Works Council. This aspect is currently of particular importance since there are going to be a number of changes in Neutraubling as a result of plant structure planning. It is therefore crucial to incorporate designs that are as barrier-free as possible into the plans for new buildings, major modifications and relocations.

    What are the benefits of inclusive workplace design?

    • Processes can be organised flexibly and independently of individual employees’ restrictions.
    • Safety risks for persons with or without disablement are minimised or entirely avoided. 
    • A greater number of specialists in different circumstances of life (age, physical or cognitive restrictions, etc.) can play an active part in working life.
    • Extensive retrospective modifications, most of which are rather expensive, are avoided.

    Barrier-free access in production halls and office premises

    Work is currently ongoing to merge two assembly areas in Neutraubling, with the department concerned being relocated from Hall 1 to Hall 9. To this end, a lifting aid for repositioning heavy crates of material must be installed in Hall 9. Ergonomics are another important aspect in this context: The worktables are required to be height-adjustable to match each worker’s physical size, something that is a health benefit for everyone, of course, not only for disabled persons. Moreover, new parking slots have to be built in the vicinity of Hall 9 as a result of the relocation, so all staff can reach their workplace easily. 

    Furthermore, one of the office buildings is currently being gutted and redeveloped. This project also includes the provision of height-adjustable desks for all staff. “Height-adjustable desks are a putatively small but very important step in the right direction. Sure, people can request them if necessary but that is often a rather protracted process. So we’re all the more pleased that we can put them in place straight away for all employees as part of the building refurbishment process,” says Gerhard Schuster. Another top priority for the construction work is barrier-free toilet facilities and lifts. 

    A fresh breeze and time to listen to problems

    “We’re delighted by the foresightful planning and the fact that the need for inclusive design of the working environment has been taken fully on board. That is because all the progress already made enables us to devote more time and effort to special one-off cases which tend to be rather complex and require the input of integration support experts,” to quote Milan Majstorovic.

    Feedback on the great number of measures already implemented is good. The representative for severely disabled employees has noticed a change in people’s attitudes towards inclusion across the board: “Our colleagues’ awareness for this topic has been honed, they highlight areas with potential for improvement. We get tips from people with and without disablement. That’s just great because we definitely depend on their input.” 

    All the progress already made enables us to devote more time and effort to special one-off cases which tend to be rather complex. Erwin HächlMilan MajstorovicRepresentative for severely disabled employees

    02. October 2023
    2:50 min.

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