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Harvard School of Public Health Study Finds Lack of Workplace Accommodations and Supports May Lead to Poorer Health Outcomes for Workers with Disabilities

August 30, 2016

A July 2016 survey by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports that people with disabilities, who are not provided with necessary workplace accommodations and health-related supports in the workplace, are disproportionately likely to report adverse health effects as compared with people without disabilities. The survey shows that workers with disabilities are more likely than workers without disabilities to rate their stress levels as higher; to rate the healthy food options at the workplaces as poorer;  to state that the absence of such options has had an adverse effect on their health; and to rate their workplace policies as less accommodating.

About half of all workers with disabilities rate their workplace as only fair or poor at providing a healthy work environment, as compared to 21 percent of non-disabled workers. These statistics may suggest that workplace policies and wellness policies and programs geared towards preserving the health of all workers may have less of an impact on workers with disabilities. A more individualized approach towards wellness with regards to workers with disabilities may or may not be necessary.

The Harvard study also details the effect of the workplace on health with regards to a wide variety of other social groups and types of workers. For more information on the study, read “The Workplace and Health,” produced by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.