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Good Practice 2014
Category: Spaces, products and services already in use

The communicating box

ERDF-Électricité Réseau Distribution France


Logo ERDF Picture of The communicating box

ERDF has a strong and deeply rooted belief in diversity at work. It matters to us that disabled people should be given the possibility to work in the best environment possible. Therefore we always endow the chance and encourage the disabled to apply for a position at ERDF or look for apprenceship.

Luca accepted the challenge, to work at ERDF with his disability. The idea of the box came with the challenge of integrating Lucas, a partially deaf young apprentice, to our teams. Despite his disability, we had to find a way to help him communicate safely and easily with its teamworkers while doing a manual job. Climbing to the top of an electric post can be dangerous for anyone, but even more for Lucas as he cannot hear his colleagues warning him from below. The lack of communication is a danger, hence the necessity to equip Lucas with a communicating device. The communicating box allows Lucas to communicate with one of his colleague through short pre-established messages and icons. The message is send by pushing a button and it vibrates when receving. Very easy and functional, the box is maintained to the arm by a strap. The device has been designed to promote the diversity at work and be compatible with any other device necessary to industrial tasks.

We are presenting to the awards the fourth version of the box. Two years of development has shown that the device has great potential. Not only did it improved the safety and the ability of Lucas to work, it opens new areas of research in terms of industrial equipment. The device caught the eye of other great companies such as AIRBUS. For instance, people working in loud environment, or at night, or in any unwelcoming environment, could benefit from our experience. Valid and disabled people show great interest for the device. It is a new way of thinking the work in an industrial company and is a step forward integrating diversity.

Moreover, we are thinking of developping services and outputs of the device not only for the disabled but for everyone, including other industrial situations. The services, messages, icons, or even size can be adapted to other work environement. The next version should be more compact and easier to carry on the arm. We are currently working with start-ups so the box looks more alluring.

Carrer Piquer nº 29, Baixos 1 - 08004 Barcelona Tel +34 93 470 51 18, Fax +34 93 371 76 49 -