What is Vertigo?
Vertigo refers to a sense of spinning dizziness. It is a symptom of a range of conditions and can happen when there is a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway.
Dizziness, or vertigo, can happen at any age, but it is common in people aged 65 years and over. An individual who experiences vertigo may feel like things in their environment are moving.
Vertigo can be temporary or long-term. Persistent vertigo has been linked to mental health issues. A psychiatric problem may cause dizziness, or vertigo may affect a person's ability to function in daily life, potentially leading to depression or anxiety.
Vertigo can impact a person’s ability to work. Individuals with vertigo may be limited in activities such as getting out of bed, walking, traveling, working around moving objects, under bright or fluorescent lights, or at heights, climbing ladders, viewing a computer monitor, or working in an environment that has many colors or patterns (e.g., a patterned carpet).
Accommodating Employees with Vertigo
People with limitations from vertigo 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.
Situations and Solutions:
It is important to discuss the symptoms of vertigo with employees, assess whether there are any recognized trigger points, and see whether any reasonable adjustments can be made to support regular attendance at work.
Employers must consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ to employment practices and premises. These can vary according to the needs of individuals but examples of adjustments commonly required by people suffering from chronic vertigo include:
- The possible need for ongoing work restrictions or accommodations. Positional vertigo could mean that the work station may need to be adapted to make sure that the employee is not forced to move his/her head at certain angles.
- The employee should avoid tasks requiring good balance or physical maneuvering, such as working at heights or around moving machinery, driving, or operating moving machinery.
- If he/she experiences permanent hearing loss, hearing enhancements or amplification may be needed.
- In the event of a severe hearing loss consideration should be given to evacuation procedures.
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