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  3. HSE Issues New Guidelines for Supporting Disabled Workers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published new guidance to help organisations support the health and safety of disabled workers.

The HSE wants all employers to create an enabling and supportive work environment that takes an inclusive approach to health and safety. All health and safety practices that affect disabled employees should be clear and applied consistently.

Employers and managers need to understand the barriers that affect disabled workers. Suitable adjustments and modifications need to be made for such employees. For example, PPE (personal protective equipment) may need to be modified or specialist equipment provided. As well as modifying the physical environment, the attitude of fellow workers needs to be positive and express inclusiveness. Disabled staff should be welcome at social events. All workers should feel valued and feel confident at work.

All employees need training on understanding the issues that disabled people face in the workplace. Communication skills may need to be improved and accessible communication systems used.

Disabled people may need support if absent due to sickness and helped when they return to work.

The HSE guidance is targeted at small to medium businesses, but all organisations can benefit if they adopt their guide.

The HSE also reminds employees that they have legal obligations. Businesses have a duty to protect their employees' health and safety and other people that are impacted by their activities at work. The Equality Act 2010 protects the rights of all people and establishes the principle of equal opportunities for all.


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