These examples illustrate good practice. They show practical steps, including involving the disabled worker, to promote disability equality when managing health and safety.
Regular work pattern for an operative with epilepsy
A machine operator on shift work developed epilepsy. Her employer was concerned that this might increase her risk of personal injury or put others at risk.
The company involved the employee and, with her consent, her GP. They found the operative was more likely to have seizures if her sleep pattern was disrupted, so a move to day shifts gave her a regular work pattern and she was better able to manage her condition.
Fire fighter with diabetes
A fire fighter who developed insulin-dependent diabetes was seen by an occupational health ('work') doctor to help make arrangements for him to return to work.
Once the fire fighter could show he was managing his diabetes, he was carefully tested on some key tasks (e.g. using breathing apparatus) to check he could do so safely. Blood tests confirmed his sugar levels were stable and he was no more at risk of collapsing than any other fire fighter. He returned to work with the following reasonable adjustments:
- restrictions on the emergency vehicles he could drive;
- regular checks by the work health service;
- the provision of a fridge to store his insulin.
Supporting a colleague with mental health problems
An IT worker wanted to return to work after being off sick with mental health problems. Her employer helped her to manage and avoid work-related stress by:
- helping her to speak openly, so they could work together on making adjustments and checking her well-being;
- allowing her to work a three-day week until she was ready to return to full-time work;
- arranging for her colleagues and supervisor to attend mental health awareness training so her team understood.
Enabling a worker with sight loss to stay in work
An office worker who has recently suffered sight loss wants to remain in work.
Her employer arranges for her to have an occupational health assessment to assess her ability to do her job. The assessment, together with discussion with her line manager, enables the right adjustments to be made, including:
- providing a large screen monitor and magnification software;
- making changes to the workplace layout;
- making instruction manuals more accessible;
- relocating some minor duties to another colleague.
Employers are crucial to improving employment outcomes for disabled people. The further examples at Disability Confident show what can be done.