Accommodations for Employees with Sensory Impairments in Automated ManufacturingBy Haynes, Scott, MBME; Endicott, Sarah, OTR/L; Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) 2007 Conference,
Publication Date: 2007
Paper summarizes the results of an investigation into the type of accommodations used to make an automated manufacturing technology (AMT) manufacturing environment accessible to people with sensory disabilities. The authors visited the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, which works closely with the National Industries for the Blind to derive 75 percent of its labor hours from employees who are blind, deaf-blind, or blind with other disabilities. A wide range of accommodations were found to be used in order to improve access to four primary areas of manufacturing: (1) facility access, (2) machine operation, (3) tool utilization, and (4) information transfer. Facility access was made accessible via the installation of textured, raised stripes on the floor, and solid rail barriers to indicate aisle ways. Tactile markers were also added to railings in order to indicate direction. Machines were made accessible to employees with low vision via screen magnification software, high contrast computer keyboards, and high contrast labels on all machine buttons. For machine operators who were blind, screen reading software was utilized, as was a Mitutoyo Voiceman speech synthesizer. Measurement tools were made accessible via handheld magnifying glasses, and CCTV workstations, while information transfer was accomplished via braille translation software and a braille printer. Sign language interpreters were also on staff to assist with face-to-face communication. The authors contend that based on the information gathered, it is possible for people with significant sensory disabilities to successfully operate automated manufacturing equipment. This paper was presented at the 2007 Annual Conference of the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America.
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) (Website:http://www.resna.org)