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Decision support system for designing and assigning ergonomic workplaces to workers with disabilities

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Workers with disabilities are still lagging in employment rates compared to the healthy workforce. Those workers are also more sensitive for stress at work and possible injuries that are usually connected with non-adequate workplace design. Generally, absenteeism presents high costs for companies and costs can be even higher if injuries at work occur. Therefore, companies face the problem of identifying a suitable workplace for workers with disabilities and supplying the needed requirements. The purpose of our research was to develop a decision support system that would aid in the process of identifying and categorising disabilities of workers, and assigning the most suitable workplace with needed requirements in an integrated work environment to ensure high safety, productivity and satisfaction. The developed decision support system is also a step toward prevention of injuries at work. The usefulness of the system has been shown in a case study of a large-sized production company.

Practitioner summary: The purpose of our research was to develop a decision support system that would aid companies to identify a suitable workplace for workers with disabilities with needed requirements in an integrated work environment to ensure high safety, productivity and satisfaction with lower costs.

Abbreviations: OSHA: occupational safety and health act; UN Convention: The United Nations Convention; EU Directive 89/654/EEC: European Union directive concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace; ICF: The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health; ICD: The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems; RULA: rapid upper limb assessment; OWAS: ovaco working analysing system
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Keywords: Decision support system; integrated work environment; occupational ergonomics; workers with disabilities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Laboratory for Productions and Operations Management, University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia; 2: Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Laboratory for Intelligent CAD Systems, University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia

Publication date: February 1, 2020

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