From the desk of Brittany Lambert, M.S., CRC, Senior Consultant - Sensory Team
Depth perception is the ability to discern the distance of objects from one another in a three-dimensional space. This requires two eyes working together and may be limited in those with monocular vision or other vision impairments. It’s important to note that many individuals with limited depth perception will have minimal challenges in the workplace. Employers should always assess the essential functions of the job to determine whether a lack of depth perception would legitimately interfere with one’s ability to perform job tasks, and whether reasonable accommodation can adequately address these limitations. When appropriate, it may be beneficial to allow a demonstration of specific work tasks. Below are examples of workplace challenges that may arise for individuals with limited depth perception and some accommodations to explore for each:
Driving, whether it be the commute or on-the-job travel, can be difficult for individuals with limited depth perception.
- Shift change to daylight hours
- Driver (e.g., hired driver, volunteer, coworker)
- Public transportation or carpool
- Modified or flexible work schedule to meet public transportation needs
Working in an industrial setting may pose unique challenges, such as operating or working around forklifts and other moving equipment.
- Establish set paths of travel for industrial vehicles and pedestrians. Paths could be created using industrial tape, paint, ropes, or detectable warning surfaces designed to alert pedestrians with low vision that they are approaching a hazard, such as an edge
- Establish and enforce rules requiring all moving equipment, forklifts, and vehicles to stop and flash lights/beep horn at intersections
- Install an alarm system that provides a visual warning of oncoming vehicles
- Install industrial mirrors around the work environment in strategic locations
Individuals who work in a kitchen setting may find it difficult to perform certain tasks, such as pouring and measuring liquids and using knives.
- Liquid level indicators
- Knife guards or slice-proof gloves
- Instruction on proper knife techniques
If you have questions about a particular workplace situation, feel free to contact JAN for an individualized consultation.