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  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:  L ifelong  L earning  Programme,  Erasmus

   

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.  

   

 


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DOCUMENT CONTROL  

1.1 Document history   Date   16.01.2015   22.01.2015  

Version 0.1   0.2  

19.03.2015

0.3

1.5.2015

0.4

1.6.2015

Final EN  for  translations  

15.6.2015 1.7.2015  

Final draft  1  for  release     0.6  

5.7.2015

0.7

10.7.2015

Final EN  

23.7.2015

Final in  EN,  SI,  PL,  ES,  IT  

Change Initial  version   Review  and   comments  by  All  at   meeting  in   Salamanca   Implementation  of   suggested  changes   Review  and   comments  by  the   Coordinator   Implementation  of   coordinator’s   suggestions     Translations  into  SI,   PL,  ES,  IT   Review  and   comments  by   EASPD  (P10)   standing   committee     Evaluation  by  PMG   &  Evaluator    

Implementation of   final  suggested   changes   Translation  of   amendments  into   SI,  PL,  ES,  IT  

Author P10   P10   +P1,  P2,  P4  

P10 P1  

Author P10  

P1, P4,  P8,  P9   EASPD  Standing   Committee  for   Employment  

PMG (Project   Management   Group)  &  External   evaluator   Author  P10  

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  2013\WP7_Sustainability\   D43_recommendations  to  the  system  and  policy  makers     1.4 Document  privacy   Project  team   yes    

The Agency   yes    

Public yes  

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1.5 1  

Table of  Contents   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  

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Introduction ....................................................................................................................................  3  

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ERGO WORK  project  overview  ........................................................................................................  4  

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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  

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5.1

Disability &  employment  .........................................................................................................  5  

5.2

Education and  vocational  training  ...........................................................................................  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  

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Conclusions ...................................................................................................................................  10  

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ANNEX I.      Summarized  recommendations  for  multidisciplinary  curriculum  ergonomics  ............  11  

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER  ........................................................................................................................  12  

 

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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                                                                                                                           •

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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.”  

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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.  

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.    

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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):   4    


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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.    

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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;   5  


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5.2

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.   Education  and  vocational  training  

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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.    

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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.  

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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. ! !

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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   7  


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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:   !

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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   8  


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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   9  


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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.    

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.    

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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:   •

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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.   11  


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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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Recommendations to the System and Policy Makers  

Recommendations for System and Policy Makers in order to improve workplaces for people with disabilities through ergonomic design. Recommend...

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