Diabetes in the Workplace



Over the past few years more workers are affected by Diabetes and there has been a significant increase in the number of workers who have been diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 .





Here are a few facts about Diabetes .

There are two types of Diabetes :Type 1 and Type2 .  Type 1 Diabetes usually requires one to have insulin and Type 2 usually require tablets and insulin at times though it is mainly managed by diet control.  Diabetes can be prevented if the right diet is considered before the onset .

How can diabetes affect your work ?

  1. If your work involves working for some hours without obtaining a  definite break or a designated break you might need to advice the supervisor of your condition or wear a medic alert  so that if a medical emergency like a Hypoglycemia happens your colleagues can be able to seek for help quicker.
  2. Night shift can affect your health if you have Diabetes due to the changes in eating habits  so careful planning might be needed to ensure that meals are taken to avoid a Hypoglycemia episode .
  3. Some places are of high risk in infection areas and more protection might be needed as a Diabetic patient is more susceptible to infection and some infections may be fatal as a result of the body’s inability to fight infections.
  4. The type of PPE worn should be examined and ensure that it is comfortable, for example very comfortable shoes to be worn ensuring that the individual with diabetes does not get blisters which can be difficult to heal.
  5. Jobs which need high concentration might be affected if the blood sugar levels change ,thereby it is important to check the sugar continuously to ensure that the correct measures are taken before a hypo or a hyperglycemia happens .

How can other workers support a colleague with Diabetes ?

  1. Ensure that your colleague with Diabetes does have a break, as it is important for them to have their meals and insulin.
  2. Watch out for signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia which include sweating, slurred speech ,loss of consciousness in some instances ,shaking and not being able to focus.
  3. If you are able to check the blood sugar levels and if below 3 mmol/dl ,you may offer some sugar if still conscious ,call the ambulance or the medical team immediately .

How can one prevent Diabetes ?

Nothing much can prevent Diabetes Type 1 but changing lifestyle habits and taking diabetes medications if needed can prevent Diabetes type 2.  Many Doctors recommend screening for type 2 diabetes at age 30 among people at risk and those who have a family history of Diabetes or who are overweight.

Eating a healthier diet and increasing physical activity will produce very good results and may negate the need for medication.  If you have High Blood pressure (hypertension) or are overweight, modifying lifestyle habits may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes.  Quitting smoking, taking medications to lower cholesterol levels may assist in the prevention of Diabetes Type 2.

Health promotion activities at work can assist in educating the workers more on the condition.  Participating in the workplace health tests that are provided by some state health authorities is also a good idea.  It is another step in the process of promoting health in your workplace.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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