Is your workplace disability friendly?
As an employer, it is your duty to ensure employees feel comfortable at their place of work. Scope, a charity for individuals with a disability, reports that there are 13.3 million disabled people in the UK, at least 18% of those are adults of a working age. It was further reported that 3.4 million disabled people are currently employed.
It is suggested that this is not down to choice, or the nature of their disability; for some, it is the obstacles they face within a working environment that restricts them from getting a job.
Therefore, it is crucial that an organisations culture is inclusive of every single person, even those who suffer from a disability. However, this becomes problematic when an employer does not know how to achieve this.
What does the law say?
Under current employment and health & safety legislation, employers are obliged to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace for disabled employees. The purpose of this is to ensure those with a disability have equal access to workplace opportunities. An adjustment may be permanent or temporary, depending on the nature of the disability.
You may have the facilities within the building for a disabled individual to carry out their job, however, without easy access in and around the building, this person is likely to face problems before reaching their place of work.
In the first instance, employers should consider offering disabled parking located closely to the building. In addition, employers should insert ramps at the entrance of the building, this gives wheelchair users access in and out of the premises without any difficulties.
When stairs are not an option for an individual, elevators and ramps will be required if the company operates across multiple floors. All elevators should have braille signs for those who are visually impaired.
Papworth Trust reported that 53% of working age adults with some impairment experienced obstacles to work, in comparison to 30% of adults without.
In this day and age, most job roles require some form of technology engagement, assistive technologies can help break down those barriers that disabled employees encounter every day. Assistive technologies include braille keyboards, screen readers and listening devices.
Small adjustments like placing braille signs in areas can dramatically change the working experience for those with a visual impairment.
In addition, providing employees with an alternative desk or chair can make a massive difference in helping an employee reach their potential.
In any event, employers should:
- Manage work risks for all employees
- Never make assumptions
- Take disabled employees into consideration when conducting risk assessments and any reasonable adjustments required
- Consult with specialists where necessary
How can Employment Law Services (ELS) help?
If you require employment law advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or any other employment issue give us a call today on 0370 218 5662. You can also find out more about our fixed fee HR packages here and fixed fee employment law packages here, or get in touch.