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Making Your Workplace More Accessible for Disabled Employees

Welcoming a diverse range of people into your business can only be a benefit. If your workplace isn’t welcoming to employees from different backgrounds and with different needs, you could be missing out on some incredible talent. People with various life experiences are able to bring diverse perspectives, experiences, and knowledge to the table. One of the ways to ensure your business is more welcoming is to help make it a better environment for disabled employees. Making accommodations and adjustments for different types of disabilities helps to create a working environment that everyone can enjoy and feel supported within.

Look at Emergency Preparedness

Being prepared for emergencies is a key employer responsibility. If an emergency occurs, it’s vital to get your staff and anyone else (such as customers) to safety as quickly as possible. This generally involves a combination of tools and equipment with emergency procedures. During an emergency, things can be slightly more challenging for disabled employees. Installing fire safety equipment that takes into account their needs, such as an emergency voice communication system, helps to make the workplace more accessible. Employees may need help with the physical aspect of getting to safety, or they may need assistance with being aware of and understanding what to do.

Make the Workplace Physically Accessible

The first thing many people think of when considering the accessibility of a workplace is ensuring the environment is physically accessible. While it’s not the only form of adjustment that might be made, it is an important aspect to consider. Making a building or site more accessible could include things like installing ramps and elevators, printing braille on signs, or having a hearing loop for hearing aid users. It could also include giving employees the right desk setup or disabled bathrooms. These adjustments help disabled employees navigate the workplace more independently and feel more comfortable.

Understand a Range of Adjustments

While physical accessibility is important, it’s also necessary to understand that there could be other types of adjustments that are helpful for employees with disabilities. For example, some people might benefit from having a sign language interpreter or a scribe. Others might benefit from being allowed more flexible breaks or might find it easier to work with certain tools at their disposal. Some employees might require a quieter working environment or could benefit from having instructions explained to them in clear and plain language.

Work with Individuals to Meet Their Needs

The most important thing to remember is that not all disabled employees have the same needs. What works for one person won’t necessarily be useful for another. That’s why it’s essential to communicate with employees to understand their individual needs and how you can best make adjustments for them. The best way to deliver the right support for someone is usually to ask them how you can help and how you can work together to create a workplace that’s right for them.

Employers can make their working environments more accessible in multiple ways. Working together with employees, as well as being aware of the law, helps to make it possible.