Common Workplace Accommodations for Blind or Visually Impaired Employees
by Jessica Minneci
|A man sitting at a desk using a computer.|
Getting a job at a new company is an exciting opportunity. As a blind or visually impaired employee, you should also feel free to ask for certain accommodations so that you can be comfortable in your job setting. Often, the human resources representative or hiring manager will ask you what accommodations you may need to perform your job. If this question is not posed, bring up your needs to that person. Don’t be afraid to discuss your needs in the workplace, your needs should matter to your employer so you can be a happy and productive employee. Frequently requested accommodations include:
• Orientation and mobility training through the workplace such as verification of the floor where you work and ideas of where the surrounding elevators, stairs, breakroom, and restrooms are located.
• Clarification of emergency procedures for fires and tornadoes.
• Confirm that any production/warehouse areas have alarms for forklifts or other heavy machinery.
• Orientation and mobility training for the grounds immediately around your building.
• Request that your work schedule be adjusted so that you can take public transportation to and from work. Inform your employer of any limitations to your schedule based on public transportation and see if any adjustments can be made accordingly.
• A designated guide dog relief area.
• If you are light sensitive, you can ask for an increase or decrease in lighting along with the option to use either an overhead light source or a lamp at your desk.
• If you are a large print reader, ask for screen magnification software for your computer, electronic video magnifiers, or optical character recognition.
• Also, ask for screen readers for your computer and assistive technology such as refreshable Braille displays and notetakers.
• Request Braille or electronic communication in document formats that are accessible to screen readers such as docx, doc, rtf, text, daisy, and accessible PDF's.
• Request that other correspondences be sent in an email or voicemail instead of written notes.
• If materials cannot be converted into an accessible format, ask other employees to read them to you.
• Ask for large print, Braille, or tactile dots to label items.
• Ask your boss to remain flexible to your needs when he or she assigns different tasks for you to accomplish taking into consideration your level of visual impairment.
• It would also be helpful if the company could conduct a blindness 101 type of training for their employees that don't regularly work with blind or visually impaired teammates.
When you are hired for a new job, your employer should be more than willing to adapt to your needs. This list of accommodations provides a guide for you as you to make sure that you have a productive comfortable work environment. Use this list, be confident, and remember that your needs, while they may be different, are just as important as everyone else's.