What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a common neurological condition that causes frequent seizures. The condition affects around 600,000 people in the UK. Epilepsy can start at any age, it is therefore important that as an employer, that you know how to help people with this condition.
What you need to know
People who a diagnosed with epilepsy are more than likely to be classified as disabled. As an employer you must therefore ensure that alterations are put in place and the correct risk assessments are made.
Below is a simple 10-step guide, providing actions to take in order to understand and help employees with epilepsy in the workplace.
1. Understand the condition
It is very important that you understand the nature of the condition that your employee has. A simple way you can do this is by speaking to your employee. There is no better way to understand a condition, than by speaking to a person whom it affects. Ask to talk to your employee in private and discuss how their condition affects them. Here are some useful topics to discuss:
If there are any warning signs, that show they are about to have a seizure
How well managed is their condition
How long are their seizures and how often do they occur
What are the requirements for their medication in the workplace
Are there any side effects of their medication
2. Identify possible triggers
By identifying possible triggers for seizures you can reduce or eliminate these accordingly. When you ask you employee about if there are any warning signs that show they are about to have a seizure, also ask what their triggers are.
Common triggers that you should consider are:
- Computer screens
3. Consider allocating a dedicated space
By allocating your employee a dedicated space, they will have an area which they can store any items they may require before/after a seizure.
4. Understand the employee’s requirements
It’s important that you understand your employee’s requirements during and after a seizure. You should have a suitable space that they can use for recovery and rest. To help understand your employee’s requirements, it is important 12
to speak to them and ask:
- Where their preference for a recovery location is
- How long is their recovery time
5. Complete a DSE workstation assessment
A DSE is a Digital Screen Equipment assessment. This assessment can be useful for an employee with epilepsy as they are likely to require a variety of different equipment such as:
- Padding around corners and hard surface edges
- LCD Screen
- Large workable space free from hazards
- Padded chair with a high backrest, armrest and headrest.
6. Provide easy access to an accessible toilet
An accessible toilet provides more space for an employee who has epileptic seizures. If this space is easy to access when needed, it can be beneficial in a variety of ways, such as:
- The alarm pull cord can be used if they require assistance
- If there is an emergency, the door can be opened from the outside
- The risk of injury is reduced
7. Organise the employee’s work
Organising your employee’s work, such as work hours and task is something that should be managed to ensure that:
- Driving is not required
- Breaks are given appropriately
- Lone working is avoided
- Workload is manageable
- There is a first aider onsite when your employee is also
8. Develop a care plan
An individual care plan should set out, the nature of the condition, identified triggers for seizures and the employees requirements during/after a seizure.
9. Ensure safety
Ensuring safety for everyone in the workplace is essential. However, it is especially important for someone who has epilepsy.
10. Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP
It is important that other employees and employers are aware of the individuals condition, and that they know what to do when an emergency occurs. All of this should be documented in the Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan as well as the individuals Care plan.
For more information please visit www.walkersafety.co.uk.