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Can people with disabilities safely do construction work?

Yes, many people with disabilities can safely do construction work. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that if someone with a disability can perform the job safely, the presence of the disability is immaterial. OSHA also states that employers have the responsibility to provide a safe working environment for employees of varied ability levels.

Here is a look at some adaptations that employers make for workers with disabilities.

Performing "lighter" work

An employer may task someone with a disability with lighter work, such as work that does not include heavy machinery or tools. Or perhaps the employer only assigns that person to do work on the ground to avoid any risk of falling from above.

Training employees

Employers can also train all of their employees, regardless of ability, on why having a diverse workforce is beneficial. There can also be specific training for managers and supervisors on how to adapt communication when necessary. Speaking of adaptations, training can often be adjusted to better fit a worker with a disability.

Changing hours

Sometimes, a change in hours is all it takes to best accommodate a worker with a disability. Other times, the schedule may not be a problem, particularly if the person wears prosthetics.

Listening to the employee

Many disabilities are invisible or virtually invisible. If an employee in such a case needs an accommodation, he or she should tell the employer, and they can agree on what type of solution is best. The types of disabilities construction workers have may include physical disabilities, hearing impairment or a disease such as cancer.

If a construction worker with a disability suffers an injury because of a lack of accommodations or other unsafe work environment issues, an attorney may be able to help him or her hold the employer liable for the damages.

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