The mean economic benefit for employers who provided workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities was $11,335 in a study involving 379 businesses by Schartz et al. Half (49.4%) of the workplace accommodations had no direct cost while over three-quarters (84.9%) had no indirect cost. When accommodation effectiveness was rated on a scale of 1 (not effective) to 5 (very effective), the mean score was 4.10.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free, government sponsored consulting service that provides information to businesses and individuals regarding workplace accommodations for individuals with disabilities. From a list of employers who sought advice from JAN, 890 businesses were contacted approximately 45 to 60 days after the JAN consultation. Nearly 43 percent (379) of the employers who received accommodation suggestions had or were in the process of making the workplace changes. These employers were interviewed and questioned regarding accommodation:
- direct cost – monies required to purchase the modifications
- indirect cost – staff time required for defining/implementing the worksite change, loss of production and staff training
- direct benefit – a ramp or automatic door opener that is helpful to the whole staff
- indirect benefit
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2007-04-04.