Myth 1: Occupational Health and safety
“Occupational health and safety laws prevent employing people who are blind in some workplaces because they are more likely to be injured or place co-workers at risk”.
There is no evidence that people who are blind are more likely to be injured at work than people without a disability. Many people who are blind learn strategies to get around safely and confidently and are more likely to take more care and notice of the environment around them. And yes, people who are blind can use stairs.
Employer obligations to provide a safe workplace remain the same regardless of whether there is an employee who is blind. Work environments with good lighting, clear signage and a logical layout make it easier for everyone.
Government data shows that people with a disability take fewer sick days than other employees. So hiring a person who is blind could be a good long term strategy for your business.
Myth 2: Additional costs on employers
“Taking on an employee who is blind costs employers more because of the need to purchase equipment and training that other people don’t need”.
Government schemes pay for the adaptive technology and other equipment people who are blind use in employment, rather than employers.
There are also many costs that sighted people incur that people who are blind never need, such as parking and many office supplies. And because of the higher employer retention rate of people who are blind, the cost of filling new positions may be a lot less.
Myth 3: Mandatory drivers license requirements rule blind people out from some jobs
“A person who is blind cannot apply for this job because having a driver’s license is a mandatory requirement”.
People who are blind get around just fine without the need to drive a car. Other options include public transport, taxis, walking or using technology for virtual meetings.
People who are blind don’t waste time undertaking unnecessary work travel for business that could be done just as well over the phone or through other technology. This can lead to time and cost savings for employers.
Myth 4: Lawyers, piano tuners and basket weavers
“Most people who are blind want to tune pianos or work in workshops run by the blind association, but a few exceptional ones have been trained as lawyers”.
There are people who are blind working in most occupations and professions, ranging from university professors through to social workers, farmers, chiropractors and butchers.
This is partly because most people who are blind lose their sight later in life, well after they have completed their training and proven their skills in the workforce.
People who become blind younger in life attend mainstream schools and share the same aspirations as their friends without a disability. Many people who are blind are actually more highly educated than their sighted peers.
With the right mix of formal and informal supports in place, people who are blind with the right skills can make a significant contribution to any industry they choose.