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Designing Wheelchair-Accessible Workbenches for Warehouses

Oct 6, 2022 | All Articles, Ergonomics, Productivity, Custom Solutions, Success Stories

Wheelchair accessibility can open businesses to a much broader talent pool. For warehouses that are struggling to find qualified workers, it could offer relief to their labor shortage problem.

When a company has a diverse workforce, its workbenches will have to work harder. They will need to fit not only workers of different sizes but also different abilities.

This case study will show how a thoughtful workstation design can encourage diversity in the workplace.

Challenges of Designing Workbenches for a Diverse Workforce

The challenge was brought to us by a leading online retailer with an inclusive company culture. They have a diverse workforce with employees varying in height, weight, strength, and abilities. The company is striving to improve ergonomics for all workers.

Their current workbenches are equipped with electric height adjustability. Most operators can adjust the height with a touch of a button to reach what they need easily. The adjustable workbenches have been effective in minimizing awkward postures and unnecessary motions.

Ergoman-Reachzones

However, workers with disabilities often have difficulty using these standard packing stations. Sitting in a wheelchair, they have to raise their arms above their shoulder height to access supplies on the shelf. Long reaches, in combination with repetition, could lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as shoulder injuries. As a result, workers in wheelchairs have been excluded from these positions.

The company needs adaptable workbenches that can accommodate both able-bodied workers as well as workers with disabilities.

How We Overcome the Challenges

Our team developed a design with two simple adjustments for enhanced flexibility and accessibility.

Workers who stand can adjust the height of their work surface for the best ergonomic setup.

For wheelchair users, an adjustable vertical system lowers the corrugate shelf to bring supplies closer to them. In addition, a slide system allows the shelf to move forward for easy access.

wheelchair-accessible-workbench-adjustments

Now both the standing and sitting operators are able to set up ergonomic reach zones at their workstation.

For best results, you want to set up your workstations following these zones:

Zone 1: High-use items, easiest access

Zone 2: Medium-use items, comfortable reach

Zone 3: Low-use items, occasional access

ergonomic reach zones

Watch a short video to see how our ADA packing stations work for employees of different sizes and abilities.

Benefits of Wheelchair-Accessible Workbenches

Our solution enables our customers to improve the efficiency of their packing operation. At the same time, it allows them to offer a truly inclusive work environment in their distribution centers.

It is a great example of what wheelchair-accessible workbenches can do for a business:

  1. Optimize comfort and productivity for employees of different sizes and abilities
  2. Prevent ergonomic injuries, thus reducing medical and training cost
  3. Open opportunities to a bigger talent pool
  4. Increase worker retention and engagement

Looking for Custom Solutions?

We understand that every business is different. That’s why we design custom solutions that address unique challenges. Contact us today to get started!

About the Author

Nina Neuschuetz
Nina Neuschuetz
As the Marketing Manager for BOSTONtec, Nina brings a wealth of experience with over 25 years of B2B marketing expertise in both the United States and Europe. Her tenure at BOSTONtec has been marked by a keen focus on ergonomics within the industrial market. Notably, she lead an ergonomic study in collaboration with the Ergonomics Center of North Carolina State University and developed comprehensive ergonomic guides for industrial and commercial workstation environments. Nina’s role extends to collaborating with customers and partners, guiding them through market trends and solutions tailored for the industry. She holds a post-graduate degree in Marketing and Business Administration from the University of Passau, Germany. Connect with Nina to explore ergonomic solutions and industry insights on her LinkedIn profile.
Yi Han
Yi Han
Yi Han is the Marketing Specialist at BOSTONtec. Through her years of collaboration with applications engineers, customer service specialists, and customers, she has cultivated a deep understanding of the transformative power of ergonomics and its applications across industrial, medical, and technical settings . Her primary focus is to inspire individuals and organizations to find the right workplace solutions that optimize productivity and prioritize overall well-being. Yi holds an MBA degree from the Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management at Northwood University in Michigan. Connect with her on LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest insights on workplace ergonomics.

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