Diabetes is a condition that is becoming more apparent in the workplace. Over the last 12 months, almost 4 million people have been diagnosed with the condition. This lifelong condition affects the blood sugar level, causing it to become too high. This is all down to the way in which the body is unable to break down glucose into energy.
However, there are two types known as Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 occurs when the immune system destroys those cells that produce insulin. Type 2 is when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not react to insulin. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
Is Diabetes Considered a Disability?
While someone who has diabetes might not consider themselves to have a disability, they would be classed as having a disability. As diabetes is a condition that stays with them for the rest of their life it can be managed, however, it can still have an impact on their time in the workplace.
Diabetes UK has found that 1 in 6 people feel as though they have been discriminated against by their employer. While one-third of those believe that living with the condition has caused them difficulties at work. The stats show that there is an issue around awareness in the workplace. This comes from the perspective of employee’s rights and the adjustments in the workplace that need to be made.
It is important that employers discuss any conditions with staff before they begin working. However, in the case of diabetes, is the employee’s responsibility to inform their employer so they are aware of any adjustments.
Managing Diabetes in the Workplace
While employees can manage their diabetes in the workplace, it is not that simple for everyone. Therefore, it is important that a risk assessment is carried out. This will require assistance from the employee to ensure that they are prepared for any difficult situations. The assessment should consider:
- How stable they are and what treatment they are receiving.
- Will they take regular meal breaks
- How will their role affect sugar in the blood
- Can they work safely?
- Are they able to work alone
With the correct planning and understanding, there is no doubt that diabetes can be actively managed in the workplace by both the employee and the employer.