The Business Disability Forum has published new guidance that outlines how and when occupational health practitioners should support employees with sight loss.
The guidance, which is part of a wider toolkit of resources for supporting people who are blind or partially sighted, says that OH does not automatically need to see every employee with sight loss, as long as their condition does not affect their medical fitness to carry out their role safely and competently.
It outlines the process OH practitioners should take if an employee in a safety-critical role starts to lose their sight, and what an OH professional should do if an employee mentions symptoms that relate to their vision.
In the UK, there are around 84,500 registered blind and partially sighted people of working age. However, only one in four is in employment according to sight loss charity RNIB.
The guidance, developed in partnership with health diagnostics and pharmaceutical company Roche, also outlines some of the barriers employees with sight loss can face when it comes to communication, and how some of these could be removed.
Disability and reasonable adjustments
Measures to improve the recruitment process for people who are blind or partially sighted are also offered, including consideration of whether certain aspects of a job could be changed to make it easier for someone with sight loss to perform the role, and how to adapt interviews to facilitate someone with sight loss.
Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum, said: “Many of us will be affected by sight loss during our lives. Losing our sight can be a frightening experience as we have to navigate everyday situations, such as medical appointments, shopping, and working in a new way. We may come across barriers that we never expected.
“By increasing understanding amongst employers, clinicians and businesses we hope to improve services and workplace experiences for people with sight loss. We also want to remove fear and uncertainty by equipping people with sight loss with the information they need to live life to the full.”