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Making Workplaces accessible for people with disabilities

Image of people in workplaces and officesAccording to the European Disability Forum, 75% of people with severe disabilities do not have the opportunity to fully participate in the European labour market and Persons with disabilities do not have equal access to education, are on the top of unemployment rates and generally live on significantly lower income.  Accessible workplaces for people with disabilities need to address a number of factors including:

The following are a number of recommendations on how you can make your workplace accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities.

  1. Ensure all employment policies are reviewed and consider how to make reasonable adjustments.  Reasonable adjustments should be embedded into all policies and procedures. The Employers Forum on Disability in the UK highlights that policies and procedures that require particular attention include: recruitment, flexible working hours, procurement; emergency evacuation, information provision, employee training and development to name but a few.
  2. Carry out an access audit of the workplace and ensure your premises are accessible. It is good practice for employers to have access audits carried out to ensure their premises are accessible and to identify any improvements that can be made to the built environment.  Some of the common shortfalls in workplaces include poor signage; poorly designed accessible WCs, badly designed approaches to buildings, inadequate communication facilities (induction loops) and poor day to day management of buildings
  3. Ensure all staff are have undertaken Disability Awareness Training.  This training should be carried out in-line with the requirements outlined by the National Disability Authority.
  4. Ensure the workplace is a safe and health environment for all staff.  For further information review the Health and Safety Authority’s guide entitled “Employees with Disabilities – An employer’s guide to implementing inclusive health and safety practices for employees with disabilities”.
  5. Ensure effective consultation takes place with staff members with disabilities. Remember people with disabilities will have a better idea of how a possible adjustment can help them overcome a barrier in the workplace. Serious consideration should be given if the suggestion is reasonable and effective.
  6. Ensure you monitor and review the effectiveness of all reasonable adjustments made for staff and ensure the results of the review are acted upon.

If you would like further information on reasonable adjustments to remove barriers for people with disabilities in the Workplace, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01-4151285 or [email protected].