Health and safety law should not prevent disabled people from finding work or staying in employment so it should not be used as an excuse to justify discrimination against you.
This HSE guidance is also available in an easy read format.
What you must do
The main safety responsibilities as an employee are to:
- take reasonable care of your own health and safety, and the health and safety of anyone who might be affected by the work you are doing
- co-operate with your employer on health and safety issues. This includes listening and following the instructions and training you are given, while using any safety equipment provided
- inform your employer or manager if you see something that might harm you or someone else
Your employer must manage the workplace risks to the health and safety of all their employees and they must include you in any relevant health and safety information and training.
You do not have to disclose your disability to your employer and they have no right to insist on your giving them further details, even if you have already told them about your disability. However, you should consider the following facts before making this decision:
- Workers with a disability are protected under the Equality Act 2010. This makes it unlawful for employers to treat them less favourably than other employees for any reason connected to their disability
- Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled workers are not disadvantaged in comparison to non-disabled employees when doing their jobs
- If an employer does not know about your disability, they will not be able to take any necessary action to protect you from harm
Working with your employer to create a safe workplace
Your employer may need to involve others (such as specialists or your doctor) to understand:
- any effects your disability may have on workplace health and safety
- how those effects can be minimised through reasonable adjustments
Your employer can only approach others if you have given consent and they should involve you in the process (such as telling you the recommendations made by a specialist).
Employers should discuss general workplace safety with employees. Talking about your disability or health condition with your employer may lead to helpful solutions, as shown by our practical examples.
Reasonable adjustments may also be provided for employees with mental health conditions, including those linked to stress, and employees and employers can benefit from working together to discuss solutions. You can find information about support with stress and mental health at work.
Further support and guidance
If you have raised safety concerns with your employer and feel they have failed to take appropriate action, you can either ask them to look into this again or contact HSE. These pages give advice on safety in different types of workplace, how you can ask HSE to investigate and what happens next.
If you are blind or partially sighted, you have the option to register with your local authority (ie your local council). This is entirely voluntary and you do not have to be registered to access their help but being registered may entitle you to certain concessions. For more information on registering with your local authority, see the RNIB’s: Registering as sight impaired.
Access to Work is a government website that provides guidance and can help pay for practical support for those with a disability, health or mental health condition to help them find and stay in work.
Find out more
There is more information on the adjustments your employer is required to make on GOV.UK: