Diabetes and Worker Safety: Employees and Employers

diabetes-ThinkstockPhotos-498304272.pngBy law, in most cases, workers with diabetes do not have to disclose the condition to their employer. “I would never say someone should definitely disclose,” Strobel Gower said. “If you need to do something differently on your job, because of your diabetes to do your job effectively, you should probably say something so you can ask for what you need, but it’s a personal choice.”

Workers who have diabetes may choose to disclose their condition to request “reasonable accommodations.” The employer may then require proof of disability and need for accommodations, the American Diabetes Association states. According to law, an employer cannot retaliate against a worker for requesting such accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations may include breaks to eat, take medicine and test blood sugar levels; and larger computer screens.

Accommodations also can involve protective equipment. In a 2012 OSHA interpretation of standards 1910.132 and 1910.136, the agency states that workers who cannot wear certain PPE required by their employer should discuss possible alternatives or reasonable accommodations. For example, some people with diabetes develop foot problems such as poor circulation and ulcers. OSHA notes that some PPE manufacturers offer footwear designed for people with diabetes, featuring extra wide steel or non-metallic toe caps.

The above is an excerpt from,”Diabetes and worker safety.” For more information please visit, www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com.

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