The challenge with most blue-collar jobs is that they are very physically demanding. Auto mechanic work is especially so.
Mechanic work is also one of those unique jobs that is a hobby for many people. Working on cars provides a fun challenge that many find relaxing and enjoyable.
Unfortunately for many, this dream of having a shop where they tinker on project cars is out of reach due to physical limitations.
The right mobility equipment might give these dreams back.
Often, car aficionados and mechanics find that they have to surrender their hobby due to injury or illness. A stroke might render someone unable to use their limbs as they once had. That person is now unable to continue with the tasks that they once enjoyed.
Retrofitting an existing shop with a few handicap-accessible tools can help restore functionality and independence to these disabled mechanics. It can empower mechanics to do once again the work they love.
Simple Creepers For Disabled Mechanics
For less restrictive disabilities, off-the-shelf products can often provide the accessibility that a mechanic needs.
According to ToolTally.com, some of the best topside creepers were designed to help eliminate back pain. These can be used as-is to help a mechanic who can no longer reach and bend as they once did, to still access those remote areas of the engine.
Other creepers offer a little more adjustability. These models are still off-the-shelf models, but they might have higher upfront costs to get greater flexibility.
Some of the motorized creepers and aviation creepers are good examples of this. These tools provide push-button adjustment. A mechanic can move from their wheelchair to the creeper and then use the button to lower the creeper and then recline the back.
If the mechanic only needs limited motorization, they can take advantage of the more affordable creepers with manual adjustments. These have a small bar to adjust at the back and they can be moved between the sitting and lying position.
However, they don’t have the added help of the motor for raising and lowering the positions.
The kneeling creepers are also a good choice for people who suffer from knee pain. These devices are similar to a knee walker but provide support for both knees and the chest to make it easy for mechanics to extend the amount of time they spend on their knees working on detailed projects.
High End And Experimental Creepers For Mechanics
Where the greatest advantages are being provided are with the custom creeper designs. Many of these use motors and gears to offer height adjustments.
These adjustments allow the mechanic to slide from their wheelchair to the creeper. From there they can use the motors to drop as low as 3 inches from the ground.
This low profile allows them to drive or pull themselves underneath the vehicle like they would with a standard creeper.
Unfortunately, this is still a small niche. Mechanics are partnering with universities and engineers to get their creepers custom created to help them work around their limitations.
As opposed to investing in a creeper, sometimes the best thing to do is to invest in a lift for your shop that can lift the car higher than the wheelchair being used.
Automotive lifts are common and allow the mechanic to access the car from a standing position. However, there are car hoists that will enable the vehicle only to be raised a few feet off the ground, providing ample room for the mechanic to wheel under the vehicle with their wheelchair.
The upfront costs of these pieces of equipment are always intimidating. However, there are often grants and tax advantages available to the shops that invest in making their workspace more friendly to disadvantaged workers.
Assistive Technologies For Mechanics
Equipping a garage with assistive technologies can restore a person’s autonomy and their ability to earn a wage. The dignity of working in an enjoyable and profitable career should never be overlooked.
As the baby boomer generation is aging, the need for advanced technology that can help them stay in the workforce is going to increase.
Many of the Baby Boomers don’t have the funds to support a full retirement. By empowering them with the proper tools, they can remain as valuable members of our workforce, while enjoying a higher quality of living.
The more we help our fellow employees increase their productivity, the more we can grow our business and strengthen our economy as a whole.
What you will likely find, is that your customers will enjoy shopping with a business that gives disabled people a chance. Your loyalty to your disabled employees can translate directly to more business for your company.