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Workplace Design And Accommodating Workers With Disabilities
 

Workplace Design And Accommodating Workers With Disabilities

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Presented at the Older HealthCare Workers Conference co-hosted by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group and the Great Lakes Centers for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health (University ...

Presented at the Older HealthCare Workers Conference co-hosted by Health & Medicine Policy Research Group and the Great Lakes Centers for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health (University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health)

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    Workplace Design And Accommodating Workers With Disabilities Workplace Design And Accommodating Workers With Disabilities Presentation Transcript

    • Workplace Design and Accommodating workers with Disabilities Department on Disability and Human Development University of Illinois at Chicago Robin Jones, Director DBTAC-Great Lakes ADA Center Glenn Hedman, Coordinator Assistive Technology Unit (ATU)
    • Legal Context
      • Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – Section 504
        • Entities receiving Federal funds
          • Non-discrimination on the basis of disability in employment or programs and services offered
      • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
        • Non-discrimination on the basis of disability in employment (Title I)
          • Private Employers of 15 or more employees
          • Public Employers of 1 or more employees
      • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
        • Provides leave for up to 3 months within 12 month period of time for individuals based on qualifying events ( Including disability )
      • State Worker’s Compensation Insurance
        • Provides for payment of income, medical and rehabilitation services for workers injured on the job (May result in a long term limitation or disability )
      • State and Local Human Rights or Fair Employment Laws
        • Protect against discrimination on the basis of disability
    • Increasing Prevalence of Disability in the U.S. Workforce
        • The 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 year old U.S. population is projected to grow by nearly 44.2 million (17%) and 35 Million (39%) in the next ten years*
        • This group will account for nearly half (44%) of the working age population (20-64) by the year 2010*
        • The prevalence of disability grows with age
        • By 2010 the number of people with disabilities between the ages of 50 and 65 will almost double, and will be significantly larger than at any other age**
      • *From U. S. Census Bureau population projects http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj/ accessed September 26, 2009.
      • **From “The Economic Consequences of Disability Onset Near Retirement,” mimeo, Robert Weathers 2005.
    • Reasonable Accommodation: The to being “qualified” “ Modification or adjustment to the application process, the position itself, the work environment, or the way things are usually done” – EEOC ADA Enforcement Guidance
    • Principles of Reasonable Accommodation
      • A reasonable accommodation must be an effective accommodation
      • The reasonable accommodation obligation applies only to accommodations that reduce barriers to employment as they relate to an individuals disability
      • A reasonable accommodation need not be the best accommodation , as long as it is effective
      • An employer is not required to provide an accommodation that is primarily for personal use (i.e. wheelchair, hearing aid, guide dog, eyeglasses, etc.)
      • ADA requirements do not prevent an employer from providing accommodations beyond what is required by the ADA. The ADA is a minimum standard .
    • Common Limitations found in Older Healthcare Workers
      • Susceptible to allergic sensitivities from long-term latex and chemical exposure
      • Experience decreased visual acuity from harsh lighting
      • Musculoskeletal disorders from lifting
      • Decreased muscle mass in joints affecting their ability to lift weight from any position
      • Impact of other health conditions acquired through the aging process (fatigue, hearing loss, arthritis, etc.)
    • Potential Accommodations:
      • Decentralizing nursing stations
      • Utilizing over-bed lifts and other lift assistance equipment
      • Ensuring wires, equipment and cords are out of walkways
      • Using portable electronic records keeping stations
      • Aesthetically designing workspaces with good lighting, visually sensitive color schemes and aesthetic facility textures
      • Decreasing noise levels
      • Utilizing big screen monitors with images on dark backgrounds with white letters
      • Instituting “no lift” policies
        • Surveyed over a 12-month period, nursing facilities that instituted “No Manual Lift” policies saw a decrease in employee injuries by nearly 97% (AARP, 2007a)
    • Use of Workplace Flexibility Practices
      • Periodic rest breaks
      • Worker rotation
      • Flexible start/end schedules to take advantage of workers most productive times.
      • Part-time or job sharing
      • Flexible rather than scheduled break times
      • Opportunity to work from home when symptoms severe
      Visit www.hrtips.org for more information on accommodations for people with specific disabilities.
    • What is the cost of providing accommodations?
      • Survey of entities who used the federally funded Job Accommodation Network (JAN) 2004-2006
        • 46% reported $0.00 cost
        • 45% reported 1 time costs (equipment, etc.)
        • 7% reported on-going, annual costs to the company
        • 2% reported a combination of one-time and annual costs
        • On average, for every $1 paid for an accommodation they received over $10 in benefits from the accommodation
      Source: University of Iowa, Law, Health Policy and Disability Center 2006
    • Key Issues/Lessons Learned
      • There is no end to what might be an accommodation-Whether or not it is “reasonable” is a case by case determination
      • Employers should be proactive in addressing the need for accommodations with any employee who is experiencing performance related problems
        • Majority of disability is invisible. Best practice is to be proactive with ALL employees.
      • Never say “NO” to an accommodation request before:
        • Considering the full array of options, not just what the individual has requested
        • Exploring resources to assist with the cost of an accommodation and/or problem solving potential accommodations
      • Monitor the effectiveness of accommodations and/or the on-going need for an accommodation
        • Some accommodations may only be needed short term
        • Accommodation needs may change as the job changes and/or the individuals disability changes (age, etc.)
    • Major Policy Issues
      • Publicly funded Vocation Rehabilitation System stops serving individuals at the age of 60.
        • Policies within traditional systems supporting employment of people with disabilities need to recognize that the workforce is aging and similar supports are needed for this population
        • The “Aging” system is not equipped to address “disability” and “employment”
      • Non-public employment services for people with disabilities do not have systems in place to serve older workers with disabilities
    • Accommodations make good business sense! Questions? 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) www.adagreatlakes.org [email_address]
    • Still Have Questions?
      • By telephone
        • 800-949-4232 (v/tty)
      • By fax
        • 312-413-1856
      • By e-mail
        • [email_address]
      • By internet
        • www.adagreatlakes.org