Fear of increased injury should not be perceived as a risk when employing people with learning disabilities


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

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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