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ERGO	
  WORK	
  
ERGO	
  WORK	
  –	
  Joining	
  academ...
1	
  
	
  
1 DOCUMENT	
  CONTROL	
  
1.1 Document	
  history	
  
Date	
   Version	
   Change	
   Author	
  
16.01.2015	
  ...
2	
  
	
  
1.5 Table	
  of	
  Contents	
  
	
  
1	
   Document	
  control	
  ................................................
3	
  
	
  
2 INTRODUCTION	
  
Reducing	
   unemployment	
   is	
   one	
   the	
   main	
   priorities	
   set	
   by	
   ...
4	
  
	
  
unemployed;	
   in	
   particular	
   those	
   most	
   excluded	
   from	
   the	
   labour	
   market	
   (y...
5	
  
	
  
- Curricula	
   for	
   Ergonomics	
   programmes	
   need	
   to	
   include	
   following	
   topics	
   in	
...
6	
  
	
  
- Reasonable	
  accommodation	
  and	
  universal	
  workplace	
  design	
  is	
  crucial	
  in	
  providing	
 ...
7	
  
	
  
While	
  it	
  is	
  recognised	
  that	
  employment	
  on	
  the	
  open	
  labour	
  market	
  is	
  the	
  ...
8	
  
	
  
and	
  universal	
  design.	
  Specialists	
  with	
  specific	
  knowledge	
  in	
  the	
  fields	
  of	
  erg...
9	
  
	
  
require	
   greater	
   tailoring	
   of	
   workplace	
   adaptation.	
   The	
   general	
   awareness	
   of...
10	
  
	
  
between	
   labour	
   demand	
   and	
   supply.	
   It	
   is	
   also	
   necessary	
   to	
   note	
   tha...
11	
  
	
  
8 ANNEX	
  I.	
  	
  	
  SUMMARIZED	
  RECOMMENDATIONS	
  FOR	
  MULTIDISCIPLINARY	
  
CURRICULUM	
  ERGONOMIC...
12	
  
	
  
9 LEGAL	
  DISCLAIMER	
  
	
  
This	
  project	
  has	
  been	
  funded	
  with	
  support	
  from	
  the	
  E...
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Recommendations to the System and Policy Makers

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Recommendations to the System and Policy Makers in order to improve workplaces for people with disabilities through ergonomic design. Recommendations carried out by ERGO WORK project (deliverable D43).

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Recommendations to the System and Policy Makers

  1. 1.                             ERGO  WORK   ERGO  WORK  –  Joining  academia  and  business  for  new  opportunities  in  creating   ERGOnomic  WORK  places       RECOMMENDATIONS  TO  THE  SYSTEM  AND   POLICY  MAKERS     Work  package  7:  Exploitation  and  Sustainability  Plan   Deliverable:  D43.  Recommendations  for  the  System  and  Policy  makers             This  project  has  been  funded  with  support  from  the  European  Commission.  This  publication  [communication]  reflects  the  views  only  of  the   author,  and  the  Commission  cannot  be  held  responsible  for  any  use  which  may  be  made  of  the  information  contained  therein.       Project  no.:  539892-­‐LLP-­‐1-­‐2013-­‐1-­‐SI-­‐ERASMUS-­‐EKA Grant  Agreement  no.:  2013-­‐3750/001-­‐001 Project  Title:  ERGO  WORK  –  Joining  academia  and  business  for  new  opportunities  in  creating  ERGOnomic   WORK  places Programme:  Lifelong  Learning  Programme,  Erasmus
  2. 2. 1     1 DOCUMENT  CONTROL   1.1 Document  history   Date   Version   Change   Author   16.01.2015   0.1   Initial  version   P10   22.01.2015   0.2   Review  and   comments  by  All  at   meeting  in   Salamanca   P10   +P1,  P2,  P4   19.03.2015   0.3   Implementation  of   suggested  changes   P10   1.5.2015   0.4   Review  and   comments  by  the   Coordinator   P1   1.6.2015   Final  EN  for  translations   Implementation  of   coordinator’s   suggestions     Author  P10   15.6.2015   Final  draft  1  for  release     Translations  into  SI,   PL,  ES,  IT   P1,  P4,  P8,  P9   1.7.2015   0.6   Review  and   comments  by   EASPD  (P10)   standing   committee     EASPD  Standing   Committee  for   Employment   5.7.2015   0.7   Evaluation  by  PMG   &  Evaluator     PMG  (Project   Management   Group)  &  External   evaluator   10.7.2015   Final  EN   Implementation  of   final  suggested   changes   Author  P10   23.7.2015   Final  in  EN,  SI,  PL,  ES,  IT   Translation  of   amendments  into   SI,  PL,  ES,  IT   P1,  P4,  P8,  P9     1.2 Document  distribution  list   All  members  of  ERGO  WORK  project  group  and  relevant  stakeholders.   1.3 Document  location   Latest  version  of  the  document  is  available  at:  DROPBOX,  ERGO  WORK  2013WP7_Sustainability   D43_recommendations  to  the  system  and  policy  makers     1.4 Document  privacy   Project  team   The  Agency   Public   yes   yes   yes      
  3. 3. 2     1.5 Table  of  Contents     1   Document  control  ...........................................................................................................................  1   1.1   Document  history  ....................................................................................................................  1   1.2   Document  distribution  list  ......................................................................................................  1   1.3   Document  location  ..................................................................................................................  1   1.4   Document  privacy  ...................................................................................................................  1   1.5   Table  of  contents  .....................................................................................................................  2   2   Introduction  ....................................................................................................................................  3   3   ERGO  WORK  project  overview  ........................................................................................................  4   4   Key  findings  of  ERGO  WORK  in-­‐depth  analysis  for  improving  curricula  ergonomics  ......................  4   5   Key  factors  enabling  equal  employment  opportunities  and  quality  work  environment  for  persons   with  disabilities  .......................................................................................................................................  5   5.1   Disability  &  employment  .........................................................................................................  5   5.2   Education  and  vocational  training  ...........................................................................................  6   6   Recommendations  ..........................................................................................................................  6   6.1   Recommendations  to  the  European  Commission  and  the  European  Parliament  ...................  7   6.2.   Recommendations  to  the  national  authorities  in  the  piloting  countries  ................................  8   7   Conclusions  ...................................................................................................................................  10   8   ANNEX  I.      Summarized  recommendations  for  multidisciplinary  curriculum  ergonomics  ............  11   9   LEGAL  DISCLAIMER  ........................................................................................................................  12        
  4. 4. 3     2 INTRODUCTION   Reducing   unemployment   is   one   the   main   priorities   set   by   the   European   Union’s   Europe   2020   strategy.  In  order  to  achieve  smart,  inclusive  and  sustainable  growth,  it  will  be  necessary  to  facilitate   the  participation  of  people  of  all  ages  and  skill  levels  in  the  labour  market.  It  is  important  to  note  that   different  people  have  different  needs,  but  the  needs  of  some  groups  are  not  always  met  in  the  open   labour  market.  In  order  to  avoid  the  social  exclusion  of  such  groups,  it  is  important  to  take  extra   measures  to  accommodate  their  needs.  The  current  paper  looks  specifically  into  the  ways  in  which   the  needs  of  workers  with  disabilities  can  be  met  in  the  context  of  workplace  ergonomics1 .     If  we  take  into  account  that  people  are  all  different,  the  need  for  individual  ergonomic  support  in  the   workplace  becomes  a  necessity.  Employees  carry  special  ergonomic  needs  due  to  their  disability,  age   or  other  specific  personal  conditions.  The  aging  population  and  the  increasing  period  of  employment   contribute  to  a  growing  number  of  employees  with  special  needs  either  with  special  visual,  hearing,   physical  or  other  needs.  Holistic  ergonomic  approach  at  companies  supports  these  human  factors   and  the  increasing  diversity  of  employees,  and  as  such  contributes  to  the  economic  efficiency  of  the   company.  It  is  recognized  that  ergonomic  measures  minimize  absence  from  work  (less  injures,  less   work  related  diseases),  and  increase  satisfaction  and  efficiency  of  employees.  Taking  all  these  into   account,  intensive  campaigns  focused  on  decision  makers  inside  organisations/companies  need  to  be   promoted,  supported  and  initiated.   Based   on   the   findings   of   studies   conducted   as   part   of   the   European   Union-­‐funded   ERGO   WORK   project,   namely   the   deliverables   “Recommendations   for   Multidisciplinary   Curriculum   Ergonomics”   (Summary  of  these  recommendations  may  be  found  in  Annex  I)  and  “Report  on  In-­‐depth  Analysis,”   this  paper  provides  a  list  of  recommendations  to  system  and  policy  makers  on  improving  workplace   ergonomics   for   people   with   disabilities.   In   addition,   the   document   takes   into   account   in-­‐depth   discussions   with   experts   from   the   Standing   Committees   on   Employment   and   Education   of   the   European  Association  of  Service  Providers  for  People  with  Disabilities  (EASPD).  The  recommendations   aim  to  provide  a  contribution  to  the  future  development  and  innovation  of  the  open  labour  market   in   the   partner   countries   of   the   ERGO   WORK   project   and   throughout   the   European   Union.   In   the   debate  about  disability,  quality  of  life  should  always  be  at  the  core  of  every  decision  regardless  of  the   field.   It   is   of   utmost   importance   to   recognise   that   in   the   open   labour   market   every   person   has   different  support  needs  and  different  goals  in  his  or  her  life  and  individual  choice  should  be  fostered   and  respected  as  much  as  possible.     The   employment   of   people   with   disabilities   is   an   important   policy   topic   that   has   been   regularly   brought  up  on  the  international  arena.     • The  Article  27  of  the  UN  Convention  on  the  Rights  of  Persons  with  Disabilities  (UNCRPD)   recognizes  the  right  of  persons  with  disabilities  to  work,  on  an  equal  basis  with  others.   • The  European  Commission  addresses  labour  market  issues  in  the  framework  of  the  European   Semester   by   asking   Member   States   to   develop   additional   support   measures   for   the                                                                                                                             1  According  to  the  International  Ergonomics  Association,  ergonomics  is  “the  scientific  discipline  concerned  with   the  understanding  of  interactions  among  humans  and  other  elements  of  a  (work)  system,  and  the  profession   that  applies  theory,  principles,  data  and  methods  to  design  in  order  to  optimize  human  well  being  and  overall   (work)  system  performance.”  
  5. 5. 4     unemployed;   in   particular   those   most   excluded   from   the   labour   market   (young   people,   elderly,  disadvantaged  groups,  persons  with  disabilities).  European  Semester  is  a  governance   instrument  that  aims  to  ensure  a  better  coordination  between  EU  Member  States  and  the   European  Commission  to  successfully  achieve  the  EU’s  strategies  and  targets.   • The  European  Disability  Strategy  (2010-­‐2020)  aims  to  improve  the  social  inclusion  and  well-­‐ being  of  people  with  disabilities  by  enabling  them  to  fully  exercise  their  rights.   • The   Employment   Equality   Directive  2000/78/EC   fights   against   age   and   disability   discrimination  in  employment.   3 ERGO  WORK  PROJECT  OVERVIEW   ERGO  WORK  –  Joining  academia  and  business  for  new  opportunities  in  creating  ERGOnomic  WORK   places  is   a   European   project   launched   in   October   2013   under   the   Lifelong   Learning   Programme   (Erasmus).   It   aims   to   improve   the   ergonomic   design   of   jobs   and   workplaces   for   people   with   disabilities.   The   project   promotes   knowledge,   skills   and   “social   cohesion”   in   order   to   create   reasonable  accommodation  at  work  for  all  employees,  including  people  with  disabilities.  A  total  of  10   partners   from   six   countries   -­‐   Slovenia,   Poland,   United   Kingdom,   Italy,   Spain,   and   Belgium   –   are   involved  in  ERGO  WORK.     The   project   is   founded   on   the   view   that   the   labour   market   can   significantly   benefit   from   greater   inclusion  of  people  with  disabilities.  It  holds  that  the  multidisciplinary  field  of  Ergonomics  can  help   and   support   inclusion   through   improved   design   and   adaptation   of   workplace   to   cater   for   diverse   needs.   The   long-­‐term   objective  of   the   project   is   to   set   the   foundation   for   a   systematic   and   sustainable   cooperation  between  Academia  and  Business  and  all  other  relevant  stakeholders  in  Ergonomics  for   persons   with   disabilities   in   order   to   foster   Reasonable   Accommodation   at   work.   The   project   as   a   whole  aims  to  update  the  existing  Ergonomics  teaching  contents  at  partner  universities,  particularly   in  Poland  and  Slovenia.   As  part  of  one  of  the  project’s  work  packages,  the  partners  developed  the  “Recommendations  for   Multidisciplinary   Curriculum   Ergonomics”   based   on   a   study   entitled   “In-­‐depth   Analysis   of   existing   Curricula  Ergonomics”.  The  study  produced  important  findings  on  the  existing  Curricula  in  partner   countries   in   the   field   of   Ergonomics   and   specifically   showed   how   different   study   programmes,   subjects,  teaching  contents,  or  modules  address:  a)  Multidisciplinary  issues  –  which  disciplines  are   included  or  need  to  be;  b)  needs  of  people  with  disabilities–  how  well  specific  contents  on  ‘adapted   workplace  design’  are  represented  within  the  curriculum.     4 KEY  FINDINGS  OF  ERGO  WORK  IN-­‐DEPTH  ANALYSIS  FOR  IMPROVING  CURRICULA   ERGONOMICS   An   in-­‐depth   analysis   of   Ergonomics   curricula   taught   by   17   faculties   from   13   higher   education   institution  from  6  countries  (focussing  on  the  UK,  Slovenia  and  Poland)  has  revealed  the  following   findings  (ERGO  WORK,  2015):  
  6. 6. 5     - Curricula   for   Ergonomics   programmes   need   to   include   following   topics   in   order   to   accommodate   the   needs   of   people   with   disabilities   at   work:   inclusive   design;   empathetic   methods   of   design;   introduction   to   organizational   behaviour;   assistive   technology   knowledge;  and  accessible  environments  knowledge.   - Awareness  should  be  raised  among  students  of  various  needs  of  people  with  disabilities  in   general,  rather  than  placing  the  focus  on  specific  groups  and  their  needs.   - Empathic   skills   are   crucial   in   raising   students’   awareness   in   relation   to   people   with   disabilities.   Empathic   skills   can   be   taught   through   practical   work,   for   example,   by   using   a   wheelchair  or  glasses  that  simulate  a  disability.  This  way,  students  can  empathise  with  the   user  experience  and  design  accordingly.   - Teaching  content  about  mental  health  needs,  including  stress,  depression  and  schizophrenia,   is  rare  in  the  curricula  covered  by  the  study.  There  is  a  need  to  include  more  knowledge  on   the   aspect   of   mental   disability   in   relation   to   workplace   ergonomics   for   people   with   disabilities.   - Workplace  intervention  in  Ergonomics  courses  is  not  always  related  to  the  needs  of  people   with  disabilities  at  workplace.  In  theory,  such  needs  are  included  in  Ergonomics  training,  but   the  practical  application  is  rare.   - Knowledge   sharing   in   terms   of   the   tools   used   by   training   programmes   can   improve   the   effectiveness  of  teachings.     - It  is  important  to  use  the  knowledge  and  practices  developed  within  other  disciplines,  for   example,  organisational  and  occupational  psychology.  The  needs  of  people  with  disabilities   at   workplace   should   not   be   covered   only   through   the   physical   design   of   the   working   environment.  Adaptation  can  be  made  also  in  terms  of  scheduling,  type  of  work,  daily  tasks,   etc.       5 KEY  FACTORS  ENABLING  EQUAL  EMPLOYMENT  OPPORTUNITIES  AND  QUALITY  WORK   ENVIRONMENT  FOR  PERSONS  WITH  DISABILITIES     5.1 Disability  &  employment     - The  labour  market  should  develop  inclusive  environments  meeting  the  demands  of  persons   with  various  support  needs,  ranging  from  low  to  high  levels  of  assistance.   - All  forms  of  employment  should  be  equally  valued  according  to  their  role  in  social,  health   and  employment  policies.     - Discrimination  on  the  basis  of  disability  should  be  legislated  against.   - Free  choice  of  work  in  the  preferred  environment  should  be  respected.   - All  forms  of  employment  for  persons  with  disabilities  should  address  their  individual  needs   and  respect  their  abilities.   - Employment  of  persons  with  disabilities  in  the  private  sector  should  be  promoted    through   appropriate   policies   and   measures,   which   may   include   affirmative   action   programmes,   incentives  and  other  measures;  
  7. 7. 6     - Reasonable  accommodation  and  universal  workplace  design  is  crucial  in  providing  real  access   to  work  and  employment  positions.    Not  only  tools  and/or  adaptations  may  be  needed  to   perform   job-­‐tasks,   but   also   the   availability   of   human   support   and   support   services   could   overcome  barriers  faced  in  the  working  environment.    The  reasonable  accommodation  and   workplace  design  concepts  should  be  fully  implemented  in  the  labour  market  to  allow  people   with  disabilities  to  have  concrete  chances  to  find  and  to  keep  a  job  in  the  labour  market.   - Support  must  be  made  available  in  all  phases  of  working  life  (recruitment,  retention  and  end   of  work).   - Vocational   and   professional   rehabilitation,   job   retention   and   return-­‐to-­‐work   programmes   should  be  in  place  for  persons  with  disabilities.   - Cross-­‐sectorial   cooperation   between   all   stakeholders   working   in   the   field   of   disability,   ergonomics,   workplace   design   and   employment   is   essential   to   establish   sound   support   frameworks  and  to  identify  and  tackle  any  issue  with  an  adequate  response.     - Accessibility   and   universal   design   should   be   given   a   broad   definition   to   cover   all   types   of   disability.  Accessibility  of  the  workplace  and  accessible  transport  is  the  first  step  to  enable   access  to  the  labour  market.         - Support   for   employers   to   create   their   own   Corporate   Social   Responsibility   plans   and   implement   ergonomic   workplaces   is   an   essential   part   of   improving   access   to   work   and   employment  for  persons  with  disabilities.   5.2 Education  and  vocational  training   - People   with   disabilities   should   have   effective   access   to   general   technical   and   vocational   guidance  programmes,  placement  services  and  vocational  and  continuing  training.   - Vocational   education   and   training   (VET)   programmes   should   be   adapted   to   the   needs   of   persons   with   disabilities;   persons   with   disabilities   should   be   involved   and   trained   as   educators  when  possible.   - The   concepts   of   reasonable   accommodation,   workplace   design   and   ergonomics   should   be   part  of  the  curricula  in  VET  and  higher  education  for  students  in  different  fields  of  study  such   as  Psychology,  Engineering  and  Occupational  Health.   - New  learning  methods,  teaching  methods  and  contents  about  Ergonomics  should  be  made   available  and  mainstreamed  in  VET  and  higher  education.  Cooperation  between  educational   institutes  is  crucial.       6 RECOMMENDATIONS     As   stated   in   Article   27   of   the   UN   Convention   on   the   Rights   of   Persons   with   Disabilities   and   the   European   Union’s   2020   Strategy,   employment   and   job   opportunities   are   a   key   priority   for   all   Governments  in  Europe.  Although  mainly  a  policy  area  that  belongs  to  the  competence  of  Member   States,   it   is   also   of   relevance   to   the   European   Union,   which   acts   as   coordinator,   initiator   and   innovator.  
  8. 8. 7     While  it  is  recognised  that  employment  on  the  open  labour  market  is  the  preferred  option,  it  should   be  also  acknowledged  that  many  people  with  disabilities  are  in  other  labour  schemes  for  reasons   depending  on  different  support  needs  and/or  because  of  a  lack  of  adequate  structures  in  the  open   labour  market.   EU   Member   States   have   developed   work   and   employment   schemes   according   to   their   respective   historical   background   of   disability   care   and   support.   According   to   its   specific   framework,   each   Member  State  has  developed  its  range  of  structures  and  programmes  as  well  as  its  own  definitions  -­‐   hardly  comparable  as  they  imply  different  concepts.   The   multi-­‐level   approach   towards   policy   making   in   the   area   of   employment   for   people   with   disabilities  makes  it  essential  to  address  decision-­‐makers  both  on  national  and  supranational  levels.   The  current  article  provides  separate  sets  of  recommendations  for  targeting  these  groups.   6.1 Recommendations  to  the  European  Commission  and  the  European  Parliament   Inclusion   of   people   with   disabilities   in   the   open   labour   market   is   a   high-­‐priority   objective   for   Europe.  Addressing  special  needs  of  disabled  employees  through  tailored  ergonomic  solutions  and   workplace  adjustments  is  one  of  the  ways  in  which  this  objective  can  be  achieved.  Therefore,  the   European  Commission  (EC)  and  the  European  Parliament  need  to  take  the  lead  in  stimulating  fully   inclusive   employment   conditions   in   Member   States.   Based   on   the   outcomes   of   the   ERGO   Work   project,   and   taking   into   account   the   EASPD   Employment   Declaration   2014,   the   following   set   of   recommendations   for   the   European   Union   (European   Parliament,   Council   of   the   European   Union,   European  Commission)  has  been  developed. ! The  EU  should  promote  the  development  of  employment  opportunities  for  people  with   disabilities  in  the  framework  of  the  European  Employment  Directive.   ! The   EU   should   extend   the   spectrum   of   employment   opportunities   for   people   with   disabilities   in   terms   of   Public   Procurement.   The   European   Social   Fund   and   the   opportunities   given   by   the   General   Block   Exemption   Regulation   can   also   be   used   to   develop  ergonomic  working  environments  for  people  with  disabilities.  Furthermore,  the   European   Commission   should   encourage   Member   States   to   use   structural   funds   for   developing  fully  inclusive  workplaces.     ! The  EU  need  to  encourage  better  European  collaboration  and  transfer  of  knowledge  and   practices   in   the   field   of   ergonomics   and   workplace   adjustment   for   people   with   disabilities.  It  is  crucial  to  identify  and  to  promote  models  of  good  practice  with  regard  to   policies  and  approaches  providing  adapted  workplaces  and  workplace  design.   ! A  further  development  of  a  European  Network  in  the  field  of  workplace  ergonomics  for   people   with   disabilities   is   an   important   element   for   strengthening   the   collaboration   among   European   countries.   Hence,   a   stakeholder   network   that   focuses   on   structural   relations  between  stakeholders  at  local,  regional,  national  and  European  levels  needs  to   be  further  developed  and  financed.  At  the  EU  level,  the  network  would  ideally  include,  in   addition  to  political  authorities,  service  providers,  academia  representatives,  workplace   design   and   ergonomic   developers,   employers,   chambers   of   commerce,   trade   unions,   expert  associations,  boards  and  consultancies,  etc.   ! It  is  further  recommended  to  foster  the  training  of  professionals  specialized  in  ergonomic   solutions  for  people  with  disabilities.  Specifically,  it  is  crucial  to  promote  multidisciplinary   ergonomics  curricula  in  universities,  with  the  focus  on  inclusive  design,  accessible  design  
  9. 9. 8     and  universal  design.  Specialists  with  specific  knowledge  in  the  fields  of  ergonomics  and   workplace  design  for  people  with  disabilities  are  essential  for  creating  adapted  working   environments.     ! The  Erasmus+  programme  should  tackle  the  promotion  and  the  development  of  training   opportunities  for  ergonomics  specialists  focused  on  the  needs  of  people  with  disabilities.   It  should  support  the  accessibility  of  training  about  workplace  adjustments  for  people   with  all  types  of  disabilities.   ! The  full  potential  of  the  ‘flexicurity  approach’  -­‐  flexible  employment  schemes  -­‐  should  be   used  and  promoted.  This  approach  aims  at  tailor-­‐made  job  opportunities  addressing  the   needs   and   abilities   of   people   with   disabilities   while   providing   them   with   the   needed   security,  including  flexible  social  protection  schemes.     ! Instruments   to   collect   accurate   and   comparable   data   on   employment   and   on   the   situation   of   people   with   disabilities   in   employment   must   be   developed.   A   close   cooperation  with  Eurostat  is  needed,  and  a  closer  cooperation  with  researchers  and  the   academic  world  should  be  put  in  place,  especially  regarding  Ergonomics.  Data  collection   should   add   value   for   employers   when   implementing   ergonomic   workplaces.   The   data   should  be  used  to  influence  employers  and  to  raise  awareness.   ! In   order   to   have   a   clear   overview   of   the   needs   of   people   with   disabilities   in   terms   of   employment,  it  is  crucial  to  involve  the  representatives  of  the  disability  sector  and  the   academic  world  in  political  consultations  on  relevant  topics.  The  European  Commission   needs  to  consider  the  impact  of  any  European  policy  on  related  schemes  for  people  with   disability.   ! As   part   of   the   EC’s   efforts   to   tackle   long-­‐term   unemployment,   it   is   important   to   pay   specific   attention   to   the   long-­‐term   unemployment   of   people   with   disabilities   and   consider  ergonomic  improvements  as  a  solution  to  tackle  this  problem.   ! The  European  Social  Fund  should  also  be  used  for  ensuring  employment  opportunities   for   people   with   disabilities   through   improving   reasonable   accommodation   and   accessibility  at  work.     ! Provide   training   and   information   sessions   for   young   people   with   disabilities   seeking   employment  about  workplace  ergonomics  through  the  EU  Youth  Guarantee  Programme.       6.2.Recommendations  to  the  national  authorities  in  the  piloting  countries   While  the  European  Union  recognized  employment  and  social  policy  as  a  priority  sphere,  these  fields   remain  a  Member  State  competence.    Therefore,  the  issue  of  inclusion  of  people  with  disabilities  in   employment  also  needs  to  be  addressed  at  national  level.  Following  is  the  set  of  recommendations   for  the  national  authorities  in  piloting  countries:   ! In  order  to  ensure  and  protect  the  rights  of  persons  with  disabilities,  a  legal  framework  is   always   fundamental.   Therefore,   the   partnership   recommends   that   the   Member   States   promote   a   legal   framework   guaranteeing   adapted   and   fully   accessible   workplaces   of   high   quality.   ! A  top  down  approach  needs  to  be  adopted,  ensuring  that  decision  makers  (on  national  and   corporative  levels)  gain  awareness  and  initiate  the  internal  ergonomic  changes.   ! It  is  also  necessary  to  raise  awareness  among  employers,  human  resources  managers,  non-­‐ disabled  employees  and  the  public  in  general  about  specific  needs  of  people  with  disabilities.   Improvements  need  to  be  made  in  terms  of  information  and  overall  culture  at  workplaces.   Employers  need  to  be  aware  of  their  obligations  and  of  different  types  of  disabilities  that  
  10. 10. 9     require   greater   tailoring   of   workplace   adaptation.   The   general   awareness   of   the   topics   of   ergonomic  design,  universal  design,  inclusive  design  and  accessible  design  needs  to  be  raised   through  involvement  of  experts  and  training.  Specialised  trainings  and  seminars  need  to  be   financially  supported  by  relevant  Policy  and  System  makers  (Ministries,  Local  and  Regional   Authorities),  and/or  organised  within  the  scope  of  work  of  Chambers  of  Commerce,  Trade   Unions,  Public  Consultancy  Bodies  etc.   ! In  addition,  better  information  is  also  needed  for  the  disabled  employees.  They  need  to  be   aware  of  their  rights,  of  EU  provisions  for  meeting  their  needs,  and  of  what  adaptations  are   possible   to   facilitate   them.   It   would   be   useful   to   launch   a   campaign   targeting   their   associations  in  order  to  spread  this  type  of  information.   ! Furthermore,   more   research   needs   to   be   done   into   assistive   technology   and   accessible   environment  solutions,  as  well  as  into  specific  needs  of  disabled  people,  particularly  in  areas   often   neglected   in   workplace   design.   These   include   mental   health   needs   and   intellectual   disability.  In  addition,  better  knowledge  is  needed  about  adaptations  that  go  beyond  purely   physical   adaptations   to   buildings.   There   is   more   scope   for   adaptations   to   individual   work   areas,  furniture,  environment,  IT  equipment,  software,  and  attitude  training,  to  allow  people   with  disabilities  to  do  jobs  without  the  need  for  changes  in  role,  hours  or  pacing.   ! Policies  based  on  ‘career  thinking’  as  a  precondition  for  sustainable  employment  should  be   developed,  because  employment  is  not  only  about  finding  a  job.  It  is  essential  to  build  up  a   new   Life-­‐long   Learning   strategy   as   a   very   important   step   forward,   including   adapted   workplaces  and  workplace  design  strategies.  Sustainable  and  inclusive  employment  is  only   possible  when  Life-­‐long  Learning  is  organised  and  implemented  in  such  a  way  that  people   with  disabilities  can  benefit  from  it.   ! Sustainable   employment   of   people   with   disabilities   needs   to   be   facilitated   by   providing   incentives  for  employers  to  hire  disabled  people,  and  to  cover  the  costs  linked  to  adjusting   the  workplace,  not  only  on  a  legislative  level,  but  also  on  actual  implementation  level,  being   flexible  in  setting  conditions  by  which  the  employers  receive  funding,  evaluating  impact  of   undertaken   measures   and   improving   the   system   if   necessary.   Pilot   countries   should   also   provide   information   to   employers   about   possibilities   to   receive   subsidies   to   make   adaptations.   ! A   Working   Group   for   Ergonomics   (WGE)   and/or   an   Ergonomics   Coordinator   need   to   be   promoted   in   the   companies   in   order   to   establish   an   operational   approach   with   close   cooperation  with  the  management  on  one  hand,  and  employees  on  the  other.   ! A  top  down  “Risk  list”  needs  to  be  promoted  for  each  company,  specifying  priority,  level  of   danger,   frequency   etc.   and   being   based   on   a   detailed   annual   evaluation   of   previous   accidents,   injuries,   reasons   for   absence   from   work,   on   work   assessment,   and   efficiency   assessment.   ! Active   involvement   of   employees   in   ergonomic   improvements   at   the   work   should   be   promoted,   as   employees   know   their   workplace   the   most.   Regular   evaluation   with   questionnaires,  interviews,  individual  workplace  plans  etc.  should  be  implemented.   ! National   authorities   should   also   promote   the   establishment   of   (supported   employment)   agencies  that  assist  employers  in  adapting  the  workplace,  coaching,  job  design,  job  creation   and  all  other  services  required  to  support  people  with  disabilities  in  employment.  In  addition,   the  Member  States  should  provide  financial  means  for  supported  employment  schemes  to   enable   them   to   exchange   models   of   good   practice   in   order   to   fulfil   their   role   as   a   bridge  
  11. 11. 10     between   labour   demand   and   supply.   It   is   also   necessary   to   note   that   better   publicity   is   needed  for  organizations  working  with  people  with  disabilities.   ! Standardisation   in   educating,   designing   and   employing   ergonomic   principles   should   be   promoted.   Chambers   of   Commerce,   Trade   Unions,   Expert   associations,   boards,   and   consultancies  need  to  be  encouraged  to  intensify  actions  towards  standardisation.  Existing   oversee   standards   can   be   used   as   guidelines,   for   example   US   OSHA   standard   (www.osha.gov).   ! Employment   and   career   prospects   for   people   with   disabilities   in   the   labour   market   could   clearly  be  improved  by  opening  up  the  public  sector  at  local,  regional  and  national  levels.  The   public  sector  needs  to  set  an  example  by  providing  adapted  and  accessible  workplaces  for   persons   with   disabilities.   A   specialised   agency   might   be   needed   to   help   public   employers   introduce  disability-­‐friendly  solutions  in  workplace  design.     ! To   achieve   these   goals,   Member   States   should   include   in   their   Action   Plans   measures   to   combat   discrimination   and   social   exclusion.   Plans   with   clear   targets   should   be   set   and   achieved  on  the  reduction  of  unemployment  rates  and  the  increase  of  employment  rates  of   persons  with  disabilities  through  improvement  in  workplace  design  and  adaptation.   ! Long-­‐term  unemployment  among  people  with  disabilities  should  be  tackled.  Improvements   in  workplace  ergonomic  should  be  seen  as  an  instrument  to  tackle  this  issue.   ! The  European  Social  Fund  should  be  used  for  ensuring  employment  opportunities  for  people   with  disabilities  through  improving  reasonable  accommodation  and  accessibility  at  work.     ! Provide   training   and   information   sessions   for   young   people   with   disabilities   searching   for   jobs  about  workplace  ergonomics  through  the  EU  Youth  Guarantee  Programme  at  national   level.     7 CONCLUSIONS   The  inclusion  of  people  with  disabilities  in  the  labour  market  is  not  possible  without  ensuring  their   ability  to  physically  access  their  working  places.  In  order  to  fulfil  the  provisions  of  the  Article  27  of  the   UNCRP  on  equal  employment  opportunities,  the  working  environment  needs  to  be  adapted  to  meet   their  specific  needs  and  facilitate  their  day-­‐to-­‐day  operations.  Ergonomic  solutions  at  workplace  can   not   only   ensure   equal   opportunities   for   people   regardless   of   their   abilities,   but   also   improve   the   economic  efficiency  of  companies.  It  is  clear  that  universal  design  at  workplace  that  provides  these   equal   opportunities   is   beneficial   from   many   points   of   view.   However,   to   achieve   inclusive   employment   opportunities   it   is   crucial   to   provide   specific   training   to   students   studying   workplace   ergonomics.  Specialized  training  that  focuses  on  the  needs  of  people  with  disabilities  should  provide   comprehensive  knowledge  of  the  topic  area.  For  this  reason,  it  is  important  that  decision  makers  on   both   European   and   national   levels   take   the   recommendations   presented   in   this   article   for   future   policy  actions.      
  12. 12. 11     8 ANNEX  I.      SUMMARIZED  RECOMMENDATIONS  FOR  MULTIDISCIPLINARY   CURRICULUM  ERGONOMICS     Summarising  the  findings  of  the  Report  on  the  In-­‐depth  Analysis,  ERGO  WORK  partnership  agreed  on   the  following  list  of  recommendations  for  developing  or  improving  curriculum  content  relating  to  the   needs  of  people  with  disabilities  in  the  workplace:   • Raise  awareness,  understanding  and  empathy  among  students  about  the  varied  needs  of  people   with   disabilities   rather   than   placing   the   focus   on   specific   ‘groups’   and   their   needs.   This   is   important  because  the  needs  of  people  with  disabilities  are  varied  and  may  differ  from  person  to   person.     • However,  some  specific  groups  are  less  researched  and  understood  in  terms  of  adaptations  in   the   workplace.   Therefore   we   argue   that   greater   emphasis   should   be   placed   on   the   better   understanding  of  hearing  impairment,  mental  health  needs  and  intellectual  impairment.  All  of   these  are  currently  poorly  covered  in  the  curricula  about  people  with  disabilities  and  workplace   design.   • Teach   from   a   perspective   of   ‘inclusive   design’   or   ‘universal   design’   so   that   methods   can   be   applied  across  different  contexts  and  scenarios.   • Ensure  all  students  gain  in-­‐depth  knowledge  on  the  topic,  without  limiting  the  coverage  to  only   those  students  who  choose  projects  related  to  people  with  disabilities.   • Help  students  develop  empathic  skills  through  the  use  of  empathic  equipment,  case  studies  and   personas.   • Teaching  should  include  some  interaction  with  people  with  disabilities  as  part  of  every  student’s   training,  including  ‘older  people’  –  this  is  an  essential  part  of  good  practice  in  inclusive  design  and   Occupational  Therapy  teaching.   • Include  more  knowledge  about  mental  health  needs  in  the  workplace,  in  particular  in  relation  to   job  design  and  interventions.    Material  for  this  will  most  likely  have  to  be  sought  in  the  area  of   Occupational  Health  curricula,  as  it  is  rare  in  Ergonomics  and  Occupational  Therapy  curriculum   material.   • Place  a  focus  on  linking  workplace  interventions  to  persons  with  disabilities  needs  –  currently   most   Ergonomics   training   in   relation   to   the   workplace   tends   to   focus   on   prevention   of   harm,   increasing  efficiency  etc.  We  recommend  focusing  more  on  increasing  opportunity  and  enabling   people  with  disabilities  to  carry  out  normal  jobs.   • There  is  a  need  to  explore  Occupational  Health  and  OT  curricula  for  specific  content  relating  to   persons  with  disabilities,  as  it  appears  that  this  content  was  most  closely  aligned  to  the  aims  of   the  project  and  stakeholder  needs.   • Explore   curricula   and   include   knowledge   from   organisational   behaviour   and   occupational   psychology  –  this  is  essential  for  the  success  of  workplace  interventions.   • Share  knowledge  about  tools  for  inclusive  design  –  These  include  physical  tools  such  as  empathy   simulators,  and  software  tools  such  as  hearing  and  vision  simulator  software,  specialised  building   design  software  and  specialised  ergonomics  anthropometry  analysis.   • Consider  including  knowledge  about  Assistive  technology.   • Consider  including  knowledge  about  Accessible  environments.   • Consider  ultimately  seeking  accreditation  from  European  Ergonomist  (CREE)  for  any  specialised   content  that  is  developed.  
  13. 13. 12     9 LEGAL  DISCLAIMER     This  project  has  been  funded  with  support  from  the  European  Commission.   This  publication  [communication]  reflects  the  views  only  of  the  author,  and  the  Commission   cannot  be  held  responsible  for  any  use  which  may  be  made  of  the  information  contained   therein.     For  other  languages  see:   http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/publ/graphics/agencies/use-­‐translation.pdf      

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