Diabetes in the Workplace
Diabetes is a chronic condition that can cause serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, neurologic disease, and leg ulcers and amputations.
Workplaces can help prevent and manage diabetes by:
• Including diabetes prevention and management information in any workplace health or wellness program
• Educating management and supervisors about diabetes and the needs of employees with diabetes
• Asking employees with diabetes what accommodations they need and changing their work schedule if necessary
• Increasing awareness and understanding of diabetes among all staff and educating those in high-risk roles
Diabetes is generally a manageable condition and it’s possible for diabetic workers to stay in work and make a great contributon. Moreover, employers must be aware of their duties to diabetic employees under the law. Under the Equality Act of 2010, it is illegal to discriminate against people because of their diabetes, and this would likely include sanctioning them for taking time off work to manage their condition or attend appointments. It would also be illegal to exclude new job applicants with diabetes because of their condition, unless it could be proven that they would be unable to perform the job sufficiently or safely.
Diabetes may be considered a disability and, in these circumstances, employers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to help diabetic employees stay in work whilst safely managing their conditon. This could include avoiding working at heights and providing safety gloves for working with tools, as diabetes can cause longer wound healing times and increase the possibility of complications Lone working with diabetes can be a concern for many people, however, this is not a blanket rule and depends on the industry and the employer’s policies.
It is important to note that people with diabetes can work safely alone if they take necessary precautions. For instance, they can carry glucose with them, monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, and inform their colleagues or supervisors about their condition.
It is important to note that where there is a risk to employees it is your duty to carry out a risk assessment and detail the controls you will put in place to keep your workforce and others safe.
We are always on hand to assist you.