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• Overcoming Obstacles in the Work Place
Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
Adaptive Technology


Overcoming Obstacles in the Work Place

Below are some practices store managers have put into place to overcome challenges for employees who are blind or visually impaired. Feel free to submit your own tips to

One Servmart manager found "Caution Wet Floor" signs did not prevent visually impaired employees from slipping, and actually created an additional tripping hazard. Now when there is a spill or damp floor area in the store, every employee is told where the hazard is, so they may avoid slip accidents.

Several BSCs have found improper lighting, especially in warehouse areas, causes problems for employees who are visually impaired but have some sight. These employees may not be able to identify potential trip hazards or make out item numbers in the dim light. One way to correct this issue is to install more light fixtures and ensure they are working at all times, replacing burned-out bulbs immediately. Another store created labels with large, bold block letters that were easier for employees with visual impairments to read and identify, and attached them to stock items.


At a Florida BSC, employees who are blind rarely run into obstacles because the store room was set up by an employee with a visual impairment. The result is a system devoid of trip hazards, where people with visual impairments can easily work. When shipments arrive, merchandise is immediately checked in and placed on the shelves or in the storeroom, and empty skids are removed from the store.


A manager who identified ramps leading to the warehouse as a potential hazard that could cause visually impaired employees to lose their balance installed support rails to provide both guidance and balance control.


Consistency in set-up is crucial for employees who are blind or visually impaired. Consistent placement of items in stores, warehouses and stock rooms allows employees to locate merchandise with ease. If floor layouts are changed, communicate them to employees who are blind or visually impaired. One manger walks the store with an employee who is blind to discuss and identify changes and provide a reminder of display locations.

Managers also enlist sighted employees to help maintain consistency. Keeping stock carts in a designated area when not in use helps avoid injuries, as does keeping forklifts in a designated corner. One manager assigns a sighted employee to walk the store and warehouse several times a day to identify and correct any potential hazards, such as empty pallets left on the floor or merchandise knocked off shelves. These measures not only benefit employees who are blind or visually impaired, they keep stores neat and organized.


At one Servmart, employees were required to walk through two warehouses and down the stairs of a separate building to reach the restroom - a serious obstacle for visually impaired employees. Working with people in the neighboring buildings, the manager was able to mark a passage using hazard tape for employees to follow.

Successful relationships with employees who are blind or visually impaired are no different than those with sighted employees - communication is the key! Establishing and maintaining an open dialog with employees who are blind or visually impaired will help you be aware of current and potential problems. When making changes to store layouts or standard procedures, consult employees who are blind or visually impaired to find methods that allow all employees to work safely and efficiently.


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