Working With People with A Disability
One of the characteristics of Men’s Sheds is that many of our members have some kind of disability and we are used to handling such circumstances –where we reasonably can, we adapt.
In the shed environment many members have age related disabilities such as the need for glasses, hearing aids, walking aids and so on and some members have more complex disabilities that are more difficult to manage.
It is Australian Men’s Shed Association Policy that members have an opportunity to participate in activities provided it can be done safely and without unduly expensive adaptations that could impact on a shed’s viability. All sheds are run on a shoestring budget, operating on donations, fund raising and grants.
Men’s sheds are a not-for-profit community organisation solely manned by volunteers our personnel are not qualified to provide health-related services or provide educational, trade qualifications for persons wishing to enter the work force.
Context for this Policy
Members with a disability are encouraged to let their Shed colleagues know how they can help to overcome situations that might be difficult to manage. This might be a railing, a chair, a modified workbench etc. From a Men’s Shed Health & Safety perspective, it is important that the Induction Risk Assessment that classifies the individuals ‘Work Capacity ‘will determine access to machinery and is dependent on their ability to undertake work in a way which will minimise the risk of harm to the member and others. Taking this into consideration the Beenleigh District Men’s Shed requires members to be able-bodied men who are able to look after themselves or have a full-time carer. Current members with new / worsening disabilities need to be aware of how the disability affects their safety and the safety of others. These members and/or carers need to advise the Shed member in charge of operations about any significant changes in risk. In such circumstances a revised Work Risk Assessment needs to be undertaken.