Supporting Construction and Warehouse Employees With Visual Impairments
No matter where you work, there are certain rights that should be honored. For instance, every employee deserves to be part of an inclusive environment where they can be protected from harm and disease and work in comfort, even if they have a visual impairment or other unique situation. This is especially true in the construction and warehouse industries, where attention to detail is the most important aspect of the job.
Managers need to be aware when their employees have visual impairments and do what they can to ensure that they can be just as productive and successful as everyone else on the staff. Let’s talk about how you can identify issues and make a difference.
Start With Proper Training
When working in a warehouse or contraction environment where heavy machinery is in constant use, safety and training need to be the priority. Each employee needs to be certified and educated on the essential protective gear, how to work each piece of equipment, and where to locate the emergency brakes and shutoffs in the case of an emergency.
In addition to keeping everyone on the work floor safe, proper training can help management and employees recognize if they have a visual impairment that they may not have realized. Employees who deal with vision issues should be informed about how to contact the human resources department and request an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accommodation, which will ensure that they have the tools necessary to work safely and protect the other workers.
Those with vision issues may need to have extra protections around the workspace, including specialty lighting, assistive technology, and flexible schedules. Some employees may even require the use of a service dog. If your management generally restricts pets in the workspace, it may be necessary to adjust the policy for this particular scenario. It may be worth it to keep your best employees on board.
If you believe you have a visual impairment, then talk to your manager as soon as possible.
When there are employees with visual impairments on the worksite day after day, proper signage is a must. Large, bold, and obvious signs need to be placed wherever dangers can be found, including near machinery, chemicals, spills, and stairwells.
In order to ensure that your signs are up to standards, they should all be ADA-compliant. To be compliant, they must meet particular requirements, including incorporating braille dots alongside raised lettering, pictograms (symbols like those often found on restrooms), and signs that are posted at a specific height.
The color of your signage is also important. Employees who are color blind may have issues seeing and differentiating between shades of red, green, yellow, and blue, so try to avoid those colors. Instead, stick to black and white to prevent confusion and ensure that they are seen.
Assistance For Computer Work
Although some visual impairments might prevent employees from working on the warehouse floor or construction site, they can often still work in the office in an administrative position. If they do, they should be provided with the technology that can help them perform as well as anyone else.
For instance, legally blind employees should be provided with text-to-speech functionality on their computers and devices that will allow them to complete forms and reports. If necessary, employees should be provided with automated screen magnifiers that will adjust to the worker’s vision specifications. They might also require apps and devices with enlarged buttons for ease of use.
If your warehouses or construction company still uses physical paper handbooks for some processes, then visually impaired workers should be supplied with large-print books that convey the same information. If an audio version is available, then that is even better.
In the end, it is very important that management helps to support employees with visual impairments so they can be productive members of the team. Consider these tips and create a fair workspace for all.