Employee accessibility can be complex

Health and safety | March 2017

wheelchair user exiting car

How we helped a client support a new employee with muscular dystropy

Ensuring full employee accessibility can be a complex business, requiring specialist knowledge across a range of issues. Our expert accessibility consultants help organisations optimise their approach.

With our support, our clients are able to attract and retain the best talent, while also meeting their responsibilities as corporate employers.

Challenge

muscular dystrophy cellular structureOur client – a blue chip, globally established professional services firm – had a new member of staff with spinal muscular atrophy. Due to this condition, the male employee was bound to an electric wheelchair, and had limited dexterity in his hands and arms.

The new staff member’s office-based role was located on the 4th floor of the building. In addition to assessing and advising on the accessibility of the facilities, our brief was also to support the employee’s attendance at a course in London for 9 weeks, prior to starting their new role.

What we did

Our accessibility and ergonomics consultants supported the new employee’s arrival through a number of pieces of work.

 

Accessibility

We began by conducting a thorough accessibility assessment of the office premises where the new employee was to be based, establishing the required adjustments. Our recommendations included modifications to the access control doors and the lift, so that they could be operated using remote control devices. We also identified the need for a ramp to improve access to the building.

 

Workstation Assessment
Our accessibility team also reviewed the suitability of the employee’s workstation. Our consultants were able to recommend specialist speaking software that enunciated what he otherwise needed to type: this helped to minimise the impact of his limited dexterity.

 

Evacuation

Providing proper employee accessibility requires full consideration of a variety of scenarios, such as emergency situations. We ensured that the client had this covered, developing a personal evacuation plan to ensure that the staff member could leave the building safely if an emergency arose.

The 4th floor of the building where the man was based did not have a fire evacuation lift, nor could he be transferred to an evacuation chair. Our team consulted with the fire service and gained permission to use the firefighting lift, and then developed a plan based on using this to ensure he could safely leave the building. As part of this process, we also trained some of his colleagues to assist.

 

Training

Prior to commencing his new role, the employee was required to visit London for 9 weeks to complete a training course. Our accessibility consultants worked with his occupational therapy team to ensure that his accommodation was appropriate. This exercise included checking that the accommodation had suitable equipment, and we identified the need for an adjustable bed, hoists and shower chair to assist the employee during his stay.

Benefits

dystrophy definitionThe employee was able to commence his new role, and settled in well. He has provided great feedback on the level of support that has been provided.

As this case study shows, the issues involved in employee accessibility can be very diverse. Engaging a specialist consultancy like System Concepts enables your organisation to optimise its approach, boost its workforce and productivity, and be confident that its corporate reputation is protected.

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