Harald WEBER Institute of Technology and Work, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
European legislation forces employers to assess health and safety conditions at work (Council Directive 89/391/EEC; European Commission 1989). An additional specification regarding work with visual display units (VDU) was released 1990 (Council Directive 90/270/EEC; European Commission 1990). All member states meanwhile have transfered these directives into national law. Nevertheless, in none of the states assessment tools are known that take into account adaptations at workplaces for employees with disabilities. To fill this lack an accessible assessment tool was developed that guides employees through an assessment, evaluation and documentation procedure.
The development of this assessment tool based on a VDU workplace model, which is an adaptation of a general work system model ( Luczak, H. 1998). This VDU workplace model identifies the relevant components of a workplace system (e.g., hardware, social context, tasks) and limits the analysis focus to the micro level. Literature surveys referring to these components indicated a lack of safety and health information regarding input and output devices for people with disabilities. To collect this information, surveys were launched to gather data. The target groups for these surveys were: a) technical counselors at job centres specialized on disability specific workplace adaptations (n = 99), b) experts at trade unions and at safety and health authorities (n = 97), and b) manufacturers of input and output devices (n = 53).
The collected data were used both to value the 'significance' of several criteria of devices and to build a set of questions for the analysis tool. The high-level structure of the tool was taken from the according law (in Germany: ArbSchGBildscharb V,