Despite many people with learning disabilities expressing the wish that they would like the opportunity to work, rates of employment remain extremely low. One concern that potential employers may have is that the risk of injury to workers with learning disabilities may be greater and consequently, insurance costs may rise. This Canadian study set out to discover whether workers with learning disability suffered more injury than those without disabilities in a social enterprise.
The authors carried out a retrospective analysis of workplace insurance claims for those workers with and without disability the enterprise.
They found that those workers with learning disability actually sustained fewer injuries and experienced fewer absences from work due to injury than those without disability.
Concerns about increased risk of injury may be perceived as a risk by those employers considering employing people with learning disabilities, but this small scale study found that such concerns were unjustified.
Injury incidence and patterns in workers with intellectual disability: A comparative study, Lysaght R et al., in Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 36, 4, 284-288
I’m glad to see the research proved employers fears unfounded.
CHANGE has employed people with learning disabilities for over a decade. People being more accident prone has never been an issue. We work to ensure that as a general standard our workplace is as accessible as possible, which include policies and information being accessible as well as the physical environment. We have had staff with epilepsy and have volunteers who have absences and cerebral palsy, but because our work place is supportive with all staff being encouraged to understand equality and rights, the odd fit or fall are handled with little fuss and hooha and people are able to get on with their work.
I think that the fears expressed by employers are part of the underlying prejudice and resentment that may exist within their existing workforce. Many of our staff with learning disabilities have had previous employment where they tell us they were systematically bullied by staff, including management and often scapegoated for when things went wrong or were not done quickly enough.
We operate a co-working model of employment that sees staff with learning disabilities, leading projects, delivering professional training across the country and participating in debates at government level. If anyone would like to find out more about how to create an accessible workplace for people with learning disabilities check out our Guidance for Employers – How to Support Staff with Learning Disabilities. http://www.changepeople.co.uk/productDetails.php?id=2019
Thank you to Weldblog for bringing such useful information to everyone’s attention.
Accessible Information Manager
Thanks for your comment Karen. As you know, this was a Canadian study, but I am sure the issues are similar here in the UK, which is why we chose to highlight the findings.
Thanks also for your comment on the work people are doing at CHANGE and for your point that good standards of health and safety in accessible workplaces will benefit everybody, including those who have a disability.
I look forward to hearing more comments from you and your colleagues at CHANGE on our posts in the future.