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This page was last updated on: 23 October, 2012
Let's Meet John
Many years experience as a diesel mechanic
Most knowledgeable mechanic in the shop
Has worked there over 9 years
Employer likes John and wants to keep him
He wants to work
John's Work Challenges:
Received a lower back injury, right radial nerve damage, and a minor head injury in a non-work related accident
Has a spinal fusion which reduces flexibility of his back
Continuous back pain, not controllable with medication
Poor balance from a minor head injury
Injury to radial nerve decreases strength and endurance in right arm
Member of a team of diesel mechanics that maintains a fleet of 200 trucks. He must perform maintenance on the engine, transmission, electrical systems, suspension, brakes, etc of trucks weighing up to 20,000 pounds.
John suffers worse back pain when he needs to bend, stoop, squat, and twist his torso when working on undercarriage of the truck. He feels unable to maintain his balance when working on the engine (mechanics must stand on the engine or it's mounts). His weakened right arm slows him down when he needs to cut metal strips or drill holes with a hand drill while making repairs. The main issue was John's work speed. It was taking him too long to perform his tasks.
The engineer worked closely with the shop manager and employee do determine the accommodations. A four-post truck lift was recommended so that the truck could be lifted up so John would not need to twist his back to gain access to components on the underbody of the truck. A mobile work platform (a wheeled set of stairs with a platform at the top) was provided so he had a stable place to stand when working on the engine. A bench top drill press and chop saw were provided to minimize the amount of time and force needed to drill holes and cut strips for repairs. Because of the total amount of the accommodations, about $6,800 and the small size of the shop, vocational rehabilitation's Employment Development Coordinator negotiated with the business owner and the vocational rehabilitation counselor and her supervisor to split the cost of accommodations.
Both John and his supervisor were contacted after 3 months. John said everything was going great, and his supervisor said the shop had saved around $20,000 in time due to the increase in production, not only for John, but other employees who had access to the accommodations.