Disability In The Workplace: Have You Got Everything Covered?
It’s surprising that so many companies do not cater enough for their employees that have a disability, whether a physical one or those that may suffer from an affliction such as anxiety. It should be a priority for companies to make sure that everyone is catered for. There are more charities championing the cause for more accessibility for wheelchairs and those that need the help, it is down to the business themselves to implement these changes. While there are big changes that may need to be made, such as installing ramps and lifts, there are smaller changes that you can make to help cater for that person so they can work better and more comfortably. Here is a little cheat sheet to get you started. This is by no means a replacement for proper research when it comes to your own employees’ individual needs, but here are a couple of things to help.
The first thing that you need to do when you hire somebody with a sight impairment is to do a work based assessment. You can then see what specific adjustments are needed for that person to perform their role better. If you are employing a blind or a partially sighted member of staff, this will need to be completed prior to them starting. Likewise, if you have an employee who is losing their sight this will need to be done.
The assessment may consist of the following:
- The environment that they work in – so you could think of ways to make the space more accessible for that person.
- Equipment – depending on their needs, you will need to provide modified equipment or technology like magnification software or screen reading software to help the employee.
- Do specialist training – this can be for the person with the sight impairment, or for those members of the team that are working with the individual.
- Systems modification – using different ways to make the work-related systems more accessible to the person.
To help your business with getting the right equipment and resources to help those employees with a visual impairment, there is specific funding available depending on the size of the business. Making sure that the workspace is safe is a priority, as any workplace accidents can result with a lawsuit on your hands. Or if you wish to help an employee make a claim for injury, you can consult a website such as http://www.sigurdsonlaw.com/.
If you have an employee that is developing a hearing impairment, or you are employing someone with this impairment, you need to establish their needs firstly. Making suitable adjustments for them to help them work better will need to be done, and the best way is to speak to them. How would they like to communicate with people during work meetings, in groups or on a one to one basis? For example, lip reading, or visual demonstrations.
Some ways to make things easier for that person can include:
- Getting employees to face each other. You could use a circular table for this.
- Ask them where they would like to sit so they can position their interpreter accordingly.
- Speak one at a time or raise your hand before speaking so the interpreter doesn’t miss any important information.
- You can set up training for deaf awareness with your colleagues.
- Learn basic sign language for easier communication.