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Occupational Health and Safety

Effective Occupational Health and Safety policies and procedures will ensure that risks are prioritised and safe work procedures documented to minimise the risk of harm. Regular employee training on safety procedures is also essential. Occupational Health and Safety is important for all employees, irrespective of whether they have a disability or not.

When an employee with disability joins your workforce, the first step should be to consult with the employee on their individual situation and confirm that they are able to follow the safety procedures.

Consulting with your employee will also help to identify any specific adjustments they may require to ensure a safe work environment for everyone.

It is important to consider your organisation's emergency evacuation procedures, and think about any assistance that an employee with disability may require in an emergency situation.

This may include having equipment in place such as flashing alarms for people who are hard of hearing, or implementing a “buddy system” to ensure the safety of all employees during an evacuation.

The employee with disability should discuss any arrangements in relation to evacuation procedures with fire wardens and/or appropriate team members.

Contrary to common employer perceptions, research has shown that employees with disability are not an increased safety risk in the workplace, and in fact have, on average, a lower number of workplace incidents and lower workers' compensation costs than employees without disability.

It is important to balance your Occupational Health and Safety obligations with your obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992).

*Are People with Disability at Risk at Work? A review of the evidence. Australian Safety and