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About Hand Amputation
An individual may have use of one hand for a variety of reasons. It could be from an injury or amputation. It may also be from a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel or it could be congenital. For some jobs an individual may not need an accommodation. In others, modifications may be needed to make the individual more productive.
Hand Amputation and the Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA does not contain a definitive list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA defines a person with a disability as someone who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more "major life activities," (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).
Accommodating Employees with Hand Amputation
People with limitations from a hand amputation may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people who are aging will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.
Questions to Consider:
- What limitations is the employee experiencing?
- How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
- What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
- What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
- Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
- Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?
Situations and Solutions:
The following situations and solutions are real-life examples of accommodations that were made by JAN customers. Because accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, these examples may not be effective for every workplace but give you an idea about the types of accommodations that are possible.
An applicant for an administrative position only had the use of one hand.
The employer requires all employees to be able to type at a certain speed or higher. The applicant states that she is unable to meet this speed with a traditional keyboard, but can with a keyboard designed for one hand use. The employer purchased a one-handed keyboard as an accommodation.
An employee recently returned to work after having one hand amputated.
The employee had difficulty using a staple remover. The employer agreed to switch from using staples to paper clips as the employee finds those much easier to work with.
An employee was having trouble using heavy power tools due to only having the use of one hand.
The employer provided tool balancers to counter the weight of the tools as an accommodation.
An applicant for a truck driver position only has the use of one hand.
The employer agrees to allow the applicant to drive an automatic transmission truck and also outfit that truck with steering grips as an accommodation.
An employee working as a nursing assistant had the use of only one hand and had difficulty lifting patients to bathe them.
The employer provided a patient lift as an accommodation.