Health & Safety legislation is often cited, erroneously, as being a source of some of the barriers faced by visually impaired people in the workplace.
Health & Safety legislation makes it clear that both the employer and employee have a shared responsibility to protecting everyone in the workplace from accidents and injuries. The key tools used to do this are (1) common sense and (2) a sensible approach to risk assessment. Risk assessment is the process (and documentation) by which:
- risks are carefully assessed in the workplace
- measures to reduce risks are identified
- actions to reduce risks are documented and implemented
- this cycle of continual improvement is maintained
The principles of the risk assessment process apply in all work places, from a simple low risk environment such as an office to a high risk environment such as in a factory using sophisticated heavy machinery.
Naturally, a visually impaired person may represent a risk or be exposed to unsuitable risks in many jobs, and when these risk factors are identified then changes will certainly need to be made. However it is not acceptable to ‘use’ Health & Safety processes as a way of forcing someone out of their post or otherwise discriminating.
The best source of information for you as a UK employer is the Health & Safety Executive website.