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- Technology and Adjustments Which Improve Access to Employment
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Summary: There are many different adjustments that can be made and technology that can be employed which improves access to employment. In many cases grants are available to cover the cost of these adjustments.
The Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 states that an employer shall take appropriate measures wherever needed in a particular case to enable a person who has a disability (i) to have access to employment (ii) to participate or advance in employment or (iii) to undergo training. Appropriate measures means “(a) effective and practical measures, where needed in a particular case, to adapt the employer’s place of business to the disability concerned (b) includes the adaptation of premises and equipment, patterns of working time, distribution of tasks or the provision of training or integration resources”.
What is required varies greatly, so ask your employee what they require – your employee is usually the expert on what appropriate measures are suitable.
Some appropriate measures can include:
- Dots of silicon on switches will enable an operator to identify and align controls on a machine.
- Use a thick felt-tip marker to make handwritten notes and names on file folders easier to see.
- Instead of sending handwritten notes between supervisors and employees or among colleagues, voice or e-mail messages could be sent, or if neither of these is available, you could use an inexpensive dictaphone onto which a message may be dictated.
- Lighting is of crucial importance in being able to see. Many people can find it difficult to see if there is glare or extreme variations in light level. Control the lighting levels by adding desk lamps, dimmer switches or adjustable blinds.
- Signs should be large and clear using good contrasting colours. They should also be well positioned and provided in tactile form as well as in large print and Braille.
- For more information on making your building more accessible and making signage accessible contact NCBI’s Access advisor on LoCall 1850 33 43 53.
- For a job that requires measuring, weighing or calculations, many different kinds of ‘talking’ measuring and calculating devices are available from the NCBI shop. These include measuring scales, tape measures, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, watches, calculators and money identifiers.
Assistive technology can offer employees with sight loss an excellent way of reading and writing at work. Assistive technology can magnify text or images, making them easier to see, enlarge text on computer screens or laptops and read aloud what is on the screen. Adapted scanners can also scan printed material onto a computer.
Choosing assistive technology
NCBI’s technology assessment service can advise and demonstrate a range of technology and give the opportunity for employees to try out the technology hands-on. Once the employee gets his/her assistive technology, it will be set up to ensure they get maximum benefit. The employee can be provided with training and support with using this equipment.
What will these adaptations cost?
The Workplace / Equipment Adaptation Grant, administered by FÁS, offers a grant to cover the cost of adaptations needed to accommodate a person with a disability in the workplace.
Contact NCBI’s technology service for current prices on a comprehensive range of equipment which you can apply for under this grant.
Getting to work
Independent travel to a variety of destinations is usually possible. People who are vision impaired are often experienced at finding creative travel solutions. While many people with sight may have enough usable vision to move around independently, others may require a mobility aid, such as a long cane, which will help the person to navigate a safe way in front of them. Prescribed telescopes can help a person to read signs when travelling.
NCBI Employment Service
Our employment service provides advice to both employers and employees on application procedures, interviews and career advancement, as well as on what adaptations can be made to assist a person with sight loss in the workplace and the grants that are available.
Other services that you may find helpful are:
- Our technology service offers advice on a range of magnification and speech software to make information accessible.
- The NCBI library and media conversion service converts written material and textbooks into Braille and audio formats.
- We can also assist employees with sight loss to live independent lives by enabling them to carry out everyday tasks and move around safely and independently. See our mobility training service.
- Our community resource service aims to provide emotional and practical support to meet the individual needs of people living with sight loss.