How To Prepare Your Workplace To Welcome People With Disabilities

In the Getting to Equal report, inclusive workplaces are referred to as the “next frontier of corporate social responsibility.” But how do you get ready to welcome a more diverse workforce and workplace into your company?

As you go through the information below, consider how, beyond simply following your legal Occupational Health and Safety obligations, you can deliver a secure, welcoming, and dignified experience for all employees.

 

1. Tailored Supports

It’s vital to remember that people with disabilities aren’t all the same; therefore, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. To maximise the productivity of each disability type, there are several corresponding, specific conditions which must be addressed.

For example: 

  • Accessibility and the physical structure of the workplace may require special consideration for people with mobility disabilities.
  • Individual employment tasks may need to be broken down into simple steps for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Deaf people may require their colleagues to communicate differently.
  • Breaks may be required more frequently by those with psychosocial disabilities.

 

Consult with the employee early on to determine what modifications, adjustments, or support they require in the workplace. If Disability Employment Services (DES) is involved in the hiring process, a DES representative can advocate on the person’s behalf and discuss any workplace needs during the recruitment phase.

Some things, such as rearranging furniture to accommodate a wheelchair or placing non-slip mats in common areas, can be done immediately and for little or no cost, while others may take longer.

 

2. Health and Safety in the Workplace

According to Australian legislation, businesses must guarantee the health and safety of their employees and not endanger the safety of others by providing a safe work environment, safe ways of working and supplying and maintaining suitable facilities. Furthermore, all employees have a responsibility to contribute to workplace safety.

Safe Work Australia is the Australian government organisation in charge of national workplace health and safety policies and workers’ compensation. Visit the Safe Work Australia website for additional information on your responsibilities.

 

3. Mental Health

It is worthwhile to invest in Mental Health First Aid training for employees, which will teach them how to help coworkers, family members, or friends facing a mental health crisis.

Around 45% of Australians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives. Therefore, it makes good business sense to assist the mental health of all employees.

Because the Disability Discrimination Act covers mental illness, it is illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace based on mental illness, mental health concerns, or psychosocial disability.

Many individuals who suffer from mental illness are aware of their triggers and have coping mechanisms. The National Disability Employment Service will assist some people with psychosocial disabilities. Other mainstream plans, such as Mental Health Care Plans, are also available to assist employees in managing a psychosocial disability or mental health difficulties.

 

4. Internal Champions

An Internal Champion helps create a sense of belonging for everyone in the workplace.

Think about how your company’s structure can help with diversity and inclusion. It is vital to have a committed internal resource responsible for breaking down obstacles while implementing an Accessibility Action Plan. Accountability and responsibility should begin at the top, with a manager or senior leader supported by all employees.

 

5. Having a Support Worker

 

Some people with disabilities require support workers who can assist them with critical functions of their job and/or personal care while they are at work.

Support in Employment – Specialised Supported Employment is a new type of funding accessible through the National Disability Employment Service (NDIS). NDIS participants who are less autonomous in their work tasks may be eligible for this funding.

They may require additional training to function in the workplace, such as staying focused, communication, or behaviour management.

 

Feel confident in the workforce.

Ebenezer Mission’s Job Training and Employment focuses on developing important work skills that can help you become more employable and enter the workforce. We equip you with the confidence and skills to overcome barriers preventing you from achieving your employment goals.

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