Game-Changing Technology: A Review of the Horizon Smart Glasses from Aira – AccessWorld® – June 2018

AccessWorld: Technology and People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired is a monthly periodical for anyone who uses or wants to use assistive technology, provides technology training, has students or clients who use technology, needs to make purchasing decisions, or wants to keep abreast of technological trends and events.
— Read on www.afb.org/afbpress/pubnew.asp

Resource: How to Read Text Using Headings with a Screen Reader

How to Use Headings

Taken from:

http://www.washington.edu/accessibility/documents/word/

 

Using good heading structure helps people without eyesight to understand how the document is organized. Screen reader and Braille users can also jump between headings, which makes navigation much more efficient than if there are no headings.

 

Making text larger and bold does not make it a heading. In order to convert text to a heading in Microsoft Word, you must use the built-in Heading styles like “Heading 1” and “Heading 2”, available under Styles in the Home tab of the Ribbon in Office versions 2010 and higher.

 

Headings should form an outline, using the “Heading 1” style for the main heading, and “Heading 2” for sub-headings. If there are additional levels of headings within the document’s outline, using “Heading 3”, “Heading 4”, etc.

End of quoted text.

 

Instructions Written by Albert Ruel:

To create section headings in your documents, do the following:

  1. Highlight the text you wish to turn into a Heading. Note, the entire paragraph will be turned into a Heading if the text you wish to use isn’t on its own line. For example: The Contacts Section of a document might be created as follows;

For more information contact:

Sally, Sue, Bill or Jack at 1-888-555-1234.

If the names of the individuals were left on the same line as the Heading, it too would have been marked as a Level 1 Heading.  For screen reader users it is cumbersome to hear an entire paragraph read as a Heading, so keep those bits of text short.

To create a level 1 Heading with the selected text, hold down the Alt and Control keys and press the number 1 on the number row. Conversely, levels 2 and 3 can be created as above, and Levels 4, 5 and 6 Headings can only be created by accessing the Styles Sheet in the Ribbons.

 

To access Headings when reading text with a screen reader:

  1. To list all the Headings in a document or email message, hold down the Insert key while pressing the F6 key.
  2. Arrow through the list to read each Heading, or use First Letter command to locate a specific Heading. Note, your screen reader will announce after each Heading the corresponding number of the Heading.
  3. Press the Enter key on the Heading you wish to access and your cursor will be placed at that location within the document, web page or email message.

 

Using the letter H for accessing Headings in MS Word:

  1. Hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys on. This action takes you out of edit mode and allows you to press the letter H to move from one Heading to the next, or Shift H to move backward from Heading to Heading.
  2. Once you have located the desired Heading and want to return to edit mode you will hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z again to turn Quick Keys off.

*Note: pressing the letter H will navigate all the Headings in a document in the order they appear, and using Shift H will have you accessing them in reverse order.

 

An additional means of accessing Headings:

  1. To access the Level 1 Headings, press the number 1 on the number row. This will take you to the first occurrence of a Level 1 Heading, and pressing it again will take you to the next occurrence. Shift number 1 will move the cursor backward through the Level 1 Headings.
  2. Once a Level 1 Heading is located, pressing the number 2 on the number row will have the cursor landing on the first Level 2 Heading found below that Level 1 Heading.
  3. Once the desired section of a Web Page, MS Word document or Email message is found, you can press your down arrow keys to read the text found below that Heading.
  4. If the desired Heading is also marked as a Link, pressing the Enter key will activate the Link.

*Note: Don’t forget to hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys off and return to edit mode.  Quick Keys is only needed in MS Word or when creating an Outlook email message.  It is not needed on the web or when reading an email message because edit mode is not turned on when doing those functions.

 

 

Resource: How to Send a Text Message from an Email Account to a Cell Phone

To send a text message from your computer to someone’s cell phone, do the following.

 

A complete list of cell phone suffixes are provided at the end of the steps.

 

  1. If you want to send a text message to someone using Telus Mobility, for example, and their cell phone number is 555-123-4567. Open a new email message and

In the “To” field type

5551234567@msg.telus.com

 

Don’t insert any dashes or spaces in the cell number, just the digits.

 

  1. Tab to the subject field and put in a subject line.

 

  1. Tab to the edit field and put in your message. Then send as usual.

 

When I sent a text message to my Telus Mobility Cell number from my Outlook email account the text message seemed to come from the number, 999-999-9999, followed by my email address.  When I tried to reply from the text message, it didn’t work as that number does not receive replies, and it sent me a text message indicating that I must reply using the email address of the original sender.  When I did that it was sent as a normal email using the iPhone’s Native Email app.

 

Here is a very long list of email suffixes you add to the cell phone number.  Note: Every suffix listed here is written with the word “at” rather than the @ sign.  It is listed alphabeticly.

 

3 River Wireless:

PhoneNumber at sms.3rivers.net

 

ACS Wireless:

PhoneNumber at paging.acswireless.com

 

Alltel:

PhoneNumber at message.alltel.com

 

AT&T:

PhoneNumber at txt.att.net

 

Bell Canada:

PhoneNumber at txt.bellmobility.ca

 

Bell Canada:

PhoneNumber at bellmobility.ca

 

Bell Mobility (Canada):

PhoneNumber at txt.bell.ca

 

Bell Mobility:

PhoneNumber at txt.bellmobility.ca

 

Blue Sky Frog:

PhoneNumber at blueskyfrog.com

 

Bluegrass Cellular:

PhoneNumber at sms.bluecell.com

 

Boost Mobile:

PhoneNumber at myboostmobile.com

 

BPL Mobile:

PhoneNumber at bplmobile.com

 

Carolina West Wireless:

Number at cwwsms.com

 

Cellular One:

PhoneNumber at mobile.celloneusa.com

 

Cellular South:

PhoneNumber at csouth1.com

 

Centennial Wireless:

PhoneNumber at cwemail.com

 

CenturyTel:

PhoneNumber at messaging.centurytel.net

 

Clearnet:

PhoneNumber at msg.clearnet.com

 

Comcast:

PhoneNumber at comcastpcs.textmsg.com

 

Corr Wireless Communications:

PhoneNumber at corrwireless.net

 

Dobson:

PhoneNumber at mobile.dobson.net

 

Edge Wireless:

PhoneNumber at sms.edgewireless.com

 

Fido:

PhoneNumber at fido.ca

 

Golden Telecom:

PhoneNumber at sms.goldentele.com

 

Helio:

PhoneNumber at messaging.sprintpcs.com

 

Houston Cellular:

PhoneNumber at text.houstoncellular.net

 

Idea Cellular:

PhoneNumber at ideacellular.net

 

Illinois Valley Cellular:

PhoneNumber at ivctext.com

 

Inland Cellular Telephone:

PhoneNumber at inlandlink.com

 

MCI:

PhoneNumber at pagemci.com

 

Metrocall:

pagernumber at page.metrocall.com

 

Metrocall 2-way:

pagernumber at my2way.com

 

Metro PCS:

PhoneNumber at mymetropcs.com

 

Microcell:

PhoneNumber at fido.ca

 

Midwest Wireless:

PhoneNumber at clearlydigital.com

 

Mobilcomm:

PhoneNumber at mobilecomm.net

 

MTS:

PhoneNumber at text.mtsmobility.com

 

Nextel:

PhoneNumber at messaging.nextel.com

 

OnlineBeep:

PhoneNumber at onlinebeep.net

 

PCS One:

PhoneNumber at pcsone.net

 

President’s Choice:

PhoneNumber at txt.bell.ca

 

Public Service Cellular:

PhoneNumber at sms.pscel.com

 

Qwest:

PhoneNumber at qwestmp.com

 

Rogers AT&T Wireless:

PhoneNumber at pcs.rogers.com

 

Rogers Canada:

PhoneNumber at pcs.rogers.com

 

Satellink:

pagernumber.pageme at satellink.net

 

Southwestern Bell:

PhoneNumber at email.swbw.com

 

Sprint:

PhoneNumber at messaging.sprintpcs.com

 

Sumcom:

PhoneNumber at tms.suncom.com

 

Surewest Communicaitons:

PhoneNumber at mobile.surewest.com

 

T-Mobile:

PhoneNumber at tmomail.net

 

Telus:

PhoneNumber at msg.telus.com

 

Tracfone:

PhoneNumber at txt.att.net

 

Triton:

PhoneNumber at tms.suncom.com

 

Unicel:

PhoneNumber at utext.com

 

US Cellular:

PhoneNumber at email.uscc.net

 

Solo Mobile:

PhoneNumber at txt.bell.ca

 

Sprint:

PhoneNumber at messaging.sprintpcs.com

 

Sumcom:

PhoneNumber at tms.suncom.com

 

Surewest Communicaitons:

PhoneNumber at mobile.surewest.com

 

Telus:

PhoneNumber at msg.telus.com

 

Triton:

PhoneNumber at tms.suncom.com

 

Unicel:

PhoneNumber at utext.com

 

US Cellular:

PhoneNumber at email.uscc.net

 

US West:

PhoneNumber at uswestdatamail.com

 

Verizon:

PhoneNumber at vtext.com

 

Virgin Mobile:

PhoneNumber at vmobl.com

 

Virgin Mobile Canada:

PhoneNumber at vmobile.ca

 

West Central Wireless:

PhoneNumber at sms.wcc.net

 

Western Wireless:

PhoneNumber at cellularonewest.com

 

 

Where PhoneNumber equals your 10 digit phone number without dashes or spaces.

 

RNIB: Factsheet for Employers and Employment Professionals; Guidance and good practice for Risk Assessors

Factsheet for employers and employment

professionals

Blind and partially sighted people at work

 – Guidance and good practice for Risk

Assessors

 

About this factsheet

 

This factsheet is for anyone who needs help with safety management in a place where blind or partially sighted people work. Blind and partially sighted people compete for, perform and succeed in a wide range of jobs. Many need little or no adjustment to their workplace or to working practices, and yet many employers worry about employing blind and partially sighted people, sometimes having concerns for their safety and for the safety of others.

 

This guidance has been compiled in consultation with: health and safety professionals; people in the workplace who assess the risks to employees; employers; and with blind and partially sighted people. We aim to help risk assessors by providing the information they need to reach decisions, and ensure a safe environment with safe working guidelines.

 

Contents:

 

  1. The need for Guidance
  2. Blind and partially sighted people at work
  3. The process of Risk Assessment
  4. Key points for Risk Assessment
  5. Common issues

 

5.1   Dealing with Guide Dogs

5.2   Mobility and travel

5.3   Lighting

5.4   Trip hazards

5.5   Lone working

5.6   Evacuating the building

5.7   Stairs

5.8   Safe use of computer systems

5.9   Machinery

5.10 Caring for others

 

  1. References
  2. Sources of help and further information

 

 

1. The need for guidance

 

Carrying out a risk assessment of the workplace or an activity for blind or partially sighted people doesn’t have to be difficult, but it can sometimes be a daunting prospect. If you haven’t worked with blind people before, it can be very easy to over-estimate risks or make assumptions about what blind people can or can’t do.

 

People who risk assess the workplaces and activities of blind and partially sighted people, looking for advice, often approach RNIB. While we are aware that mistakes can be made, we also know that risks can be managed successfully and we want to share good practice.

 

This guidance has been produced to highlight some of the things that we’re often asked about, share examples of successful risk management and suggest sources of help.

 

We are also aware that risk assessment, or health and safety in general, has been used as an excuse not to employ blind and partially sighted people (Hurstfield et al, 2003). We hope that the guidance we have put together will help to overcome unnecessary barriers.

 

Most importantly, we hope that this guidance helps you to reach informed decisions and, in so doing, ensures that blind and partially sighted people can continue to work effectively and safely.

 

 

2. Blind and partially sighted people at work

 

In the middle of the last century, blind people were encouraged to work in specific occupations. These included jobs as switchboard operators, masseurs, piano tuners and even basket weavers.

 

Things have changed quite considerably and blind and partially sighted people now succeed in a range of jobs across different sectors. “This IS Working 2” (RNIB, 2009), gave examples of ten people working as: a company director, senior physiotherapist, sales and marketing manager, shop owner, policy officer, development and funding officer, teacher, administrative assistant, and outreach worker. A copy of this document, which includes testimonials from employers, can be fond here: http://www.rnib.org.uk/livingwithsightloss/working/successstories/Pages/success_stories.aspx

 

Blind people do succeed at work. When safety management works well, we know that all employees, including blind and partially sighted people, can work safely.

 

 

3. The process of risk assessment

 

Employers are required by law to manage health and safety in the workplace. Each organisation will have their own ways of doing this and the roles of individual risk assessors can be different.

 

This document does not deal with the mechanics of undertaking and recording risk assessments. The principles are the same for everyone, but guidance is already available on dealing with “disability” in relation to safety management. See, for example, ‘Health and Safety for Disabled People and Their Employers (Health and Safety Executive and DRC).

 

IOSH, the Chartered body for health and safety professionals, offers advice on their website about the responsibilities that the Equality Act imposes on those who manage safety.

 

They specifically suggest that:

 

  • the Equality Act has an effect on the way you
  • manage safety.
  • while you may be able to use health and safety issues related to disability as a reason not to employ someone – or to refuse a service to someone – you can only do so if certain conditions are met.
  • if the safety of a task may be affected by someone’s disability, then a risk assessment should be carried out for everyone, not just for disabled employees.
  • if you don’t document the steps you’ve taken to consult disabled workers or customers, and to make reasonable adjustments, your organisation could be involved in an expensive tribunal case.

 

This factsheet will focus on how risk assessment can affect blind and partially sighted people at work.

 

 

4. Key points for risk assessment

 

In general, the following points will help to shape your risk assessments:

 

4.1 Risk assessments should address a task and everyone

involved

 

Whilst the legislation requires employers to identify groups that might be at risk of harm, telling someone that “you must be risk assessed” sends out a negative message. In a way, it suggests that the individual is the issue, when this is clearly not the case. It sounds much more positive to tell someone that activities are being assessed.

 

4.2 The individuals involved must be consulted

 

The Health and Safety Executive’s “Five Steps to Risk Assessment” recommends that: ‘In all cases, you should make sure that you involve your staff or their representatives in the process. They will have useful information about how the work is done that will make your assessment of the risk more thorough and effective.’

 

Your blind or partially sighted employee is usually the best person to describe how their sight loss affects them and you should be able to tap in to that knowledge. Risk assessments carried out without the involvement of blind and partially sighted employees are significantly more likely to be inaccurate.

 

4.3 “Adjustments” must be considered as part of the process

 

Employers have a responsibility to make “reasonable adjustments” to working practices and physical features. This is likely to include the provision of auxiliary aids. While this might be beyond your area of responsibility as a risk assessor, you must be prepared to take proposed changes into account.

 

4.4 It is important that you do not make assumptions about

the level of someone’s functional vision

 

Most blind people have some useful vision. Some people will be able to see fine detail, while some may have very good peripheral vision. Even people with the same eye condition can have widely different levels of useful sight.

 

Employers often ask for medical guidance to help understand what people can or can’t see. However, this is often presented in medical terms and is usually lacking an occupational focus.

 

Asking the individual to describe their sight is often the best way to gather information to assess risk. Professionals who work with blind and partially sighted people at work can be another source of information. Making assumptions about what people can and can’t see will produce flawed risk assessments.

 

 

5. Common issues

 

Employers often contact RNIB to ask for advice about specific worries they have about the safety of a blind or partially sighted colleague. Things we have been asked about include:

 

5.1 Guide Dogs at work

 

Guide dogs are one example of an aid to mobility. However, it has been estimated that as few as one or two per cent of blind or partially sighted people use guide dogs to get around. It is therefore important that you don’t assume that people either use guide dogs, or choose to bring them to work.

 

Having said that, if an employee brings a guide dog to work, proper planning is required to ensure that things run smoothly.

 

We have been asked about accommodating guide dogs at work and, in most cases, working practices can be adopted to ensure a safe and comfortable working environment.

 

Some of the common questions revolve around:

 

Toileting – a suitable area must be identified for the guide dog. While in some places there are very obvious locations for this, some companies (particularly in town centres) find this difficult.

 

Moving around building – the extent to which a blind person uses a guide dog once at their workstation will vary, depending on the person’s other mobility skills and knowledge of the environment. It is important that the guide dog user is aware of his or her responsibilities. Working rules should be established. These could include where the dog goes when not “on harness” or how often breaks are required.

 

Induction/emergency procedures – it may be necessary to review your evacuation plans. There may already be a structure in place (such as personal emergency evacuation plans) to facilitate this within your organisation. Standard instructions, such as those issued during induction should be available in the correct format for the employee to read.

 

Colleagues – the extent to which colleagues interact with guide dog users is likely to vary. There are both positive and negatives to this. For example, colleagues can distract a working dog, or alternatively can assist with “walking” the dog. Colleagues may need to be told of their responsibilities.  For example, they may need to know when it might be appropriate to play with or to walk the dog, or to know when the dog is working.

 

Allergy/Fear of dogs/cultural influences – Some thought may need to be given to where guide dogs are based while people are working to allay concerns.

 

If in any doubt about any aspect of working with Guide Dogs, representatives from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association will want to help you with this.

 

5.2 Mobility and travel

 

When considering potential risks involved in travelling, it is important to bear in mind that most blind or partially sighted people will travel easily with no problems. Some may need support.

 

Blind and partially sighted people have varying levels of sight and particular eye conditions affect sight in different ways. We can’t assume that people with the same eye condition are affected in the same way, as people with the same eye condition often see the world in entirely different ways. Familiarity with the area and environmental factors, such as lighting, are other things that can affect someone’s mobility.

 

Additionally, people adjust to sight loss in different ways. It is safe to say that the mobility skills of blind and partially sighted people vary considerably.  Some people travel independently, while others use mobility aids or support from others to travel.

 

It probably goes without saying that an individual should be consulted when considering potential risks with travel. It is also good practice to ensure that any concerns about mobility are kept in perspective – issues should not be allowed to be blown out of proportion.

 

If an individual is looking for mobility support for specific parts of their travel, two agencies might be able to help.

 

In each local authority area, there are mobility specialists, sometimes known as rehabilitation workers, who can teach people how to use mobility aids and help them learn to navigate routes. They either work for the local authority social work team, or the organisation that holds the register of blind and partially sighted people.

 

The Access to Work programme supports people at work and individuals can apply for financial assistance to travel to and from work and within work. The Access to Work programme can only cover the additional costs of travelling to meet disability-related and it is not intended to replace the standard costs involved in business use.

 

5.3 Lighting

 

Both the quality and quantity of lighting has a significant impact on all working environments. For some people, it can help to create a comfortable workplace. For others, lighting can pose a barrier to effective working.

 

Guidance on lighting levels tends to be either general, aimed at a technical audience, or individual, based on one person’s experience. For example, Building Site (1995), suggests that light levels are crucial. It suggests that lux levels (a measure of luminance) for blind and partially sighted people should be 25 per cent to 50 per cent above the “general” level.

 

The difficulty with such generalised recommendations is that individual blind and partially sighted people have very different needs. Increasing the general “background” lighting levels might not necessarily make a working environment safer or more comfortable.

 

For some people, increasing background light would be helpful. But it might be more effective to introduce additional light sources, rather than make the existing fittings brighter. This is particularly true if units can be switched on and off to allow more control over lux levels.

 

Other people find it difficult to work with high levels of lighting and prefer a darker working environment.

 

As well as the amount of light, the source of light is also an important factor.   Many people find that natural light is best. This can mean that making the best of light from windows is preferable to using electric lighting. Similarly, some people find that light fittings emulating natural light (daylight bulbs) are very effective.

 

The key to resolving lighting issues is to talk to the people involved and call in specialists where necessary. Sometimes simple changes can make a huge difference to a working environment. At other times, more work is required to strike a balance between the needs of one individual among a group of other employees.

 

5.4 Trip hazards

 

Research suggests that blind and partially sighted people are more likely to trip than sighted people (Legood et al, 2009). Yet, when we introduce controls to reduce risk, it is very important to keep a sense of perspective. Introducing “no-go” areas, such as stairs or in specific areas you perceive as dangerous, can be discriminatory. It is very unlikely that the only way to manage potential trip hazards is to exclude people from certain areas, as other alternative steps can be taken to reduce risk. Most blind and partially sighted people can navigate around buildings and other workplaces. If you feel strongly that there are parts of a workplace that are not safe, you should seek advice.

 

5.5 Lone working

 

Working alone is an integral part of many jobs. Whether this involves visiting customers at home, working from other premises, travelling either locally or more widely or working at home.

 

Lone working is an area that often raises concerns for employers. But while there may be occasions when a blind or partially sighted person is exposed to risk, these risks are often no greater than a sighted colleague would face.

 

It is very easy to make assumptions about potential dangers and introduce unnecessary risk controls. And yet, very many blind or partially sighted people work successfully and safely on their own, sometimes in challenging environments.

 

Considering risks

 

It is important to consider how an individual is affected by sight loss.  Some people travel independently and confidently. Others look for support, particularly in unfamiliar environments.

 

Some employers have found it helpful to consider the extent of an individual’s sight loss. Having an understanding of what a person can or cannot see can make it easier to discuss risks. Medical “evidence” is not likely to help with this. A diagnosis does not usually describe the extent of functional vision.  Most of the time, your blind or partially sighted employee is the best person to describe this to you.

 

Minimising risk

 

Your starting point for managing risks should be the systems you already have in place for your lone workers. Your local working practices must be robust and comprehensive, so that the work of all of your lone-working employees is covered. Your blind or partially sighted employee is no different in this respect.

 

5.6 Evacuating the building

 

Most blind and partially sighted people will understand the need for plans to deal with unexpected evacuations, for example, in the case of fire.   Employers generally deal with evacuation routes, procedures and assembly points during an employee’s induction period.

 

It is important to ensure that written evacuation procedures are available in different formats during induction. For example, having a Word version of the procedures available will allow most users of access technology to read them.

 

Some blind or partially sighted people would welcome the chance to familiarise themselves with the main routes and practise leaving the building by emergency exits. This could be arranged with their line manager when starting work.

 

If a blind or partially sighted person is finding it difficult to learn routes and needs some support, it may be appropriate to allocate a “buddy” to assist with evacuation until routes are learned.

 

Further information can be found in the publication “Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Means of Escape for Disabled People”, Department of Communities and Local Government, 2007.

 

5.7 Stairs

 

While risk assessing the use of stairs, your starting point should be to assume that blind and partially sighted people are subject to the same risks as any other employee. Therefore, any steps you might take to reduce risk apply to all employees.

 

If you believe that there are risks to stair users, you may want to consider the following extracts form Building Sight:

 

“Lighting on stairs should be sufficient to highlight any obstructions on the flight of the stairs, but should highlight the treads as opposed to the risers to emphasise each step.  It is very important that ceiling-mounted luminaires do not become a glare source – they should be well shielded. Alternatively, large-area, low-brightness sources can be mounted on a side or facing wall.”

 

“The stair covering should not have a pattern that can cause confusion between tread and riser or between one tread and another.”

 

It is worth pointing out that making physical changes of this type may be the responsibility of your landlord, but this does not mean that you shouldn’t raise the issues with them.

 

5.8 Safe use of computer systems

 

Employers are required to “analyse workstations, and assess and reduce risks. Employers need to look at the whole workstation including equipment, furniture, and the work environment; the job being done; and any special needs of individual staff. The regulations apply where staff habitually use display screen equipment as a significant part of their normal work.” (HSE, 2006).

 

It is entirely likely, then, that the needs of blind and partially sighted people will be highlighted as part of a general risk assessment of display screen equipment.

 

In addition to this, employees will often highlight difficulties in using computer systems related to their sight. Unless the individual has a good idea of their requirements, it is usually a good idea to seek specialist advice. RNIB or Action for Blind People offices will be able to recommend ways to make it easier to change the way screens look, or alternative ways of accessing screen content.

 

 

5.9  Machinery

 

Employers often have legitimate concerns about blind or partially sighted people operating power tools, hand tools or other machinery such as grass cutting or gardening power tools.

 

There will be times when you will need to eliminate risk by specifying tools that should not be used at work.
However, it is very important to discuss with an individual exactly how their sight restricts them and how real the risks are. Bear in mind that some new employees may underplay any difficulties as they may have had negative experiences with past employers.

 

Another factor to take into account is the environment in which people will be working. If you can control the immediate work area, machinery can be made safe to use. For example, in a factory, machines can be fitted with guards and walkways restricted to improve the safety of the work environment. If you are in doubt, ask for advice.

 

5.10 Caring for others

 

Many blind and partially sighted people work in jobs where they provide social care services. This can include working in nurseries, care homes and delivering community services.

 

As you would expect, the generic risk assessments carried out to cover the working routines of care workers are often sufficient to ensure a safe working environment for blind and partially sighted people.

 

However, employers sometimes have concerns about certain aspects of working that could be perceived as dangerous. These could include, for example:

 

 

Reading facial expressions to predict behaviour:

 

This is a contentious issue. The vast majority of blind or partially sighted people will be able to read facial expressions, but some will find it difficult or impossible. Logically, this could suggest that a blind person may be at higher risk of sudden changes in behaviour.

 

However, there is a considerable body of research that shows how people are able to perceive mood or feelings from verbal communication only. So the extent of the risk involved is not at all clear.

 

Reducing risk in this situation calls for a balanced judgement based on an understanding of an individual’s sight and the requirements of the job.

 

Missing visual cues, such as evidence of substance misuse or

concealed weapons:

 

Potential hazards of this kind could be addressed by adopting working practices that apply to all employees. This could include ensuring that thorough background information is obtained with referrals. Additionally, initial assessments of the individual customers should cover the likelihood of issues arising. There may be situations where it is safer for people to work in pairs.

 

Reading correspondence while visiting customers:

 

In some jobs, workers may be required to read forms or letters when visiting people in their homes or other settings. Generally, this can be overcome by using access technology, such as portable video magnifiers or scanners.

 

Perceived difficulties dealing with children:

 

Nurseries, after school clubs and similar establishments that provide childcare services have well-developed risk management systems in place. If a blind or partially sighted person starts work, the working practices in place are often robust enough to ensure safe working.

 

Occasionally, parents have concerns about blind or partially sighted people caring for their children. Concerns could include tripping, not seeing children putting things in their mouths, escorting children in the local area or identifying parents when children are collected.

 

In your role as a risk assessor, you should discuss concerns with the individual to establish whether any of these concerns are genuine and if so how they could be minimised. For example, another worker could check the identity of parents collecting children.

 

It is really important that the concerns of parents are not confused with actual risk.

 

 

6. References

 

‘Building Sight: A handbook of building and interior design solutions to include the needs of visually impaired people’, P Barker, J Barrick and R Wilson, London HMSO in Association with RNIB, 1995

 

‘Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Means of Escape for Disabled People’, Department of Communities and Local Government, 2007

 

‘Five Steps to Risk Assessment’, Health and Safety Executive

 

‘Health and Safety for Disabled People and Their Employers’, HSE and DRC

 

J Hurstfield et al, ‘The extent of use of health and safety as a false excuse for not employing sick or disabled persons’, research report 167, HRC/DRC, 2003

 

JMU Access Partnership, Fact Sheet 24 – Lighting

 

Legood R, Scuffham PA and Cryer C, “Are we blind to injuries in the visually impaired?  A review of the literature”, June 2009

 

RNIB and Thomas Pocklington Trust, ‘Make the most of your sight, Improve the lighting in your home”, RNIB and Thomas Pocklington Trust, 2009

 

‘This is Working 2’, RNIB, October 2009

 

‘Working with VDUs’, HSE leaflet INDG36(rev3), revised 12/06

 

 

7. Sources of help and further information

 

7.1 RNIB and Action for Blind People

 

Employment services for employers

 

We can help you retain a current employee who is losing their sight, and we can help you to take on someone who is visually impaired.

 

Advances in technology mean that visually impaired people can now overcome many of the barriers to work that they faced in the past, and government schemes like Access to Work mean that many of the costs can be met.

 

We provide a number of services that can be directly commissioned by employers. These include:

 

  • Work-based assessments – a visit to a workplace, by one of our specialists, to evaluate the potential for equipment, software, and adjustments that would better allow an employee to fulfil their role.
  • 1 to 1 access technology training. Our technology specialists can visit your workplace and provide training tailored to suit your employee’s needs.
  • Visual and disability awareness training.

 

For further information about any of these services, please contact us via our website or directly via our employment services mailbox:

 

Web site: www.rnib.org.uk/employmentservices

 

Email: employmentservices@rnib.org.uk

 

Employment factsheets

 

We currently produce the following factsheets for employers and employment professionals:

 

  • Access to Work
  • RNIB work-based assessment services
  • Blind and partially sighted people at work – Guidance and good practice for Risk Assessors
  • Testing the compatibility of access software and IT applications
  • Guidelines on meeting the needs of visually impaired delegates on training courses

 

In addition to this you may like to check out our ‘This IS Working’ documents, which showcase blind and partially sighted people working in a range of occupations, and include testimonials from employers, as well as our ‘Vocational rehabilitation’ document, which sets out the business case for retaining newly disabled staff.

 

All of these factsheets and documents can be found in the employment professionals section of our website www.rnib.org.uk/employmentservices which also contains the latest research in the field, as well as information on IT and accessibility, the Equality Act, success stories, and more.

 

We also produce a number of factsheets aimed at blind and partially sighted people, on a range of employment related issues. These can be found at www.rnib.org.uk/employment

 

RNIB Helpline

 

The RNIB Helpline can refer you to an employment specialist for further advice and guidance. RNIB Helpline can also help you by providing information and advice on a range of topics, such as eye health, the latest products, leisure opportunities, benefits advice and emotional support.

 

Call the Helpline team on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk

 

7.2 Access to Work

 

Access to Work is a scheme run by Jobcentre Plus. The scheme provides advice, grant funding, and practical support to disabled people and employers to help overcome work related obstacles resulting from a disability. Read our Access to Work factsheet, or visit the Access to Work pages at www.rnib.org.uk/employmentservices to learn more about qualifying for the scheme. Further details are also available at www.directgov.uk

 

7.3 Guide Dogs

 

The best place to find out information relating to guide dogs. Visit: www.guidedogs.org.uk

 

7.4 The Health and Safety Executive

 

HSE is responsible for enforcing health and safety at workplaces. Visit: www.hse.gov.uk

 

7.5 Equality and Human Rights Commission

 

The Equality and Human Rights commission have a statutory remit to promote and monitor human rights; and to protect, enforce and promote equality across the nine “protected” grounds – age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment. The website includes a section on employment.

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/

 

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-and-guidance/your-rights/disability/disability-in-employment/

 

Factsheet updated: April 2013

 

 

 

Accessible Devices: Philips offers a line of accessible TV and Video Players for blind and low vision users.

Taken from a CoolBlindTech article:

The entire line of 2017 Philips brand televisions and video players now offers Enhanced Accessibility to allow blind and visually impaired users to control the devices’ functions. Adding Enhanced Accessibility to products entails the addition of voice guide descriptive menus, easy to read user interface, guide dots on remote controls, easy access to closed captioning/subtitles and secondary audio, easy access to support, and an easy way to identify these products with the help of an Enhanced Accessibility logo.

Remote controls on the affected Philips products feature guide dots so that users can easily control key functions, such as power on/off, volume adjustment and mute, channel selection, playback functions, input selection, and other important functions.

Philips groups these new capabilities under its Enhanced Accessibility feature set, which also includes an easy-to-read and navigate user interface, large format support information, and closed captioning, a long-mandated requirement for assisting the hearing impaired.

The user interface voice guide and other features are new requirements established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). The new rules mandate that certain built-in functions in TVs, Blu-ray players, and DVD players, among other consumer electronics products, be usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The deadline for meeting the new requirements was December 20, 2016.

The new rules mandate that any key functions available only via an on-screen menu must offer user interface voice guides, with the menu options spoken and user selections audibly confirmed.

“The FCC regulations on Enhanced Accessibility allow us to design our products so they can be enjoyed by more consumers,” said Karl Bearnarth, executive vice president, sales and marketing, P&F USA, Inc., the exclusive North American licensee for Philips consumer televisions and home video products.

“We took this initiative very seriously and were determined to ensure that our entire line of TVs and video players, including basic DVD players, met the requirements and that they were as intuitive as possible to use for those who are visually impaired.”

P&F USA, Inc. is a subsidiary of Funai Electric Co., LTD and is the exclusive licensee for Philips consumer televisions and home video products in North America.

Funai Electric Co., Ltd., established in 1961, is headquartered in Osaka, Japan and is a major original equipment manufacturer supplier for appliance, consumer electronics, computer, and computer peripheral companies.

Advocacy Org Leaves the Scene: Thank you and Farewell ASIC, Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers

At a meeting held the morning of Saturday January 17th, 1998, with 20 members of the blind community present, the concept of a consumer-driven advocacy coalition was discussed and a few short weeks later, Advocates for Sight-Impaired Consumers was born. After
20 years of providing advocacy services for the benefit of British Columbians and other Canadians, after engaging a total of 122 individuals to serve on its volunteer board at different times, and after undergoing a minor amendment to its brand in 2007, the Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers Board has elected to wind down its entire operation effective May 31st, 2017. In doing so, it leaves behind a legacy of independence and access initiatives that will benefit persons who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted for generations to come. The list in part, includes:

* Leading the call for and creating the position paper for accessible pedestrian signals including wayfinding messages, a pedestrian clearance tone and other optional functionalities.
* Successfully advocating for high-contrast tactile platform edging on all Metro Vancouver SkyTrain and Canada Line platforms.
* Successfully advocating for and seeing the initial implementation of descriptive video and closed captioning services in Famous Players theatres that expanded into identical services in Cineplex Entertainment complexes.
* Developing the concept of, and assisting with the implementation of, the “VIP Assistance Line” which provides sighted guide assistance in and around SkyTrain and Canada Line stations.
* Successfully advocating for the installation and implementation of automated stop announcements on all conventional transit and community shuttle routes operated by the Coast Mountain Bus Company in Metro Vancouver.
* Successfully advocating for the installation of audio ATM machines at Vancouver City Savings branches.
* Creating a heightened awareness amongst senior officials at Elections BC of the needs of voters who are blind or partially sighted and working collaboratively with Elections BC to provide braille candidate lists, large-print facsimile posters of the election ballot, rigid plastic voting templates, a pilot telephone voting option for all persons with a disability for the 2017 general election, and participating in the creation of a training/awareness video to educate election officials on how best to assist voters with sight loss.
* Successfully advocating for the expansion of the Taxi Bill of Rights throughout BC which was voluntarily adopted by 33 taxi companies.
* Successfully advocating for the design and implementation of universally accessible bus stops with appropriate features to assist transit users with various disabilities (including blindness) so that they can independently locate a public transit passenger loading zone in the Metro Vancouver area.
* Successfully advocating for a pilot installation of taxi meters with optional audio output by the Vancouver Taxi Association. The success of the pilot project has resulted in the BC Passenger Transportation Board establishing guidelines for the implementation, installation and operation of Soft Meters (tablet-based) with optional audio output.
* Successfully advocating for the availability of accessible prescription medication information in an audio format from 10 pharmacy chains throughout BC.

These are only some examples of the many projects that were the focus of ASIC’s attention over the years.

As the ASIC Board works to tie up all administrative and operational duties by May’s month end, it is their intention to update the Resources section of the ASIC website and to leave the entire website running for as long as feasible. The Community Calendar will be discontinued. Accessible Media Inc began featuring audio promotions of community events throughout BC starting mid-April 2017. Details regarding community events may be sent to amyamantea@hotmail.com

ASIC’s Contact Us web page has been updated and now offers a telephone number which will be manned by former ASIC Board member Reed Poynter going forward. British Columbians who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted may write to our existing email address or call to obtain the name(s) of various resources when tackling a self-advocacy issue. Or, individuals may seek assistance from any one of the many other consumer advocacy organizations listed on our web page at:
http://www.asicbc.ca/resources/ConsumerOrganizations/Pages/default.aspx

At the close of the final meeting of Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers, ASIC’s Chair Rob Sleath summarized the past 20 years by
saying: “The past 20 years has given many caring and compassionate individuals an opportunity to give back to their community by volunteering time and energy toward the goal of improving the independence and access for British Columbians who are blind, deafblind or sight-impaired. It has been an honour and a privilege to work with these individuals, and we hope our efforts will enhance the independence of all British Columbians for years to come. To all those who supported Access with Sight-Impaired Consumers with donations, gifts-in-kind, financial support and/or through their donations of time and energy, I extend a simple but most sincere thank you! We could not have achieved so much without your generous and vvalued support.”

Guest Post: Check out the GARI Web Site to learn more about Accessible Smart Phones, TVs and other Devices

The Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative

The Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) is a project created in 2008 by the Mobile & Wireless Forum (MWF) and designed to help consumers learn more about the various accessibility features of wireless devices and to help them identify a device that best suits their needs.

The project website (www.gari.info) includes information on more than 110 accessible features in over 1,100 mobile phone models from around the world, as well as information on accessible tablets, accessibility related mobile applications, and as of late 2016, accessible Smart TVs and Wearables.

As part of the GARI project, the MWF has committed to regular reviews of the features that we report on in light of changes in the technology and customer needs. As a result, we invite all stakeholders to provide any comments or suggestions on the features that they would like to see reported on by manufacturers, as well as comments on the usability of the GARI website.

Comments or suggestions can be made by 31 July 2017 in order to be included in the current review cycle.

Guest Post: How to Download YouTube Videos for Dummies

How to Download YouTube Videos

By Ashley Watters, Abshier House.

YouTube is a video-sharing website where users post all kinds of media.
YouTube is so popular that it has one billion unique visits every single month. From how-tos to educational cartoons, YouTube has a large selection of videos from every genre.

You’ve likely watched videos on YouTube and seen something that you might want to watch when you don’t have access to the internet. Need a cartoon for your child who watch while on an airplane?
Or, maybe an instructional video to review while actually doing the task later? Downloading YouTube videos is quite simple.

How to download YouTube videos with Savefrom.net.

The easiest way to download YouTube videos involves using savefrom.net. It’s so simple that you don’t even have to visit the website directly.

Follow these simple steps:

Navigate to Youtube and find the video that you want to download.

Once you have found the video, highlight the full address in the navigation bar and add “ss” after the www portion of the URL.For example, if the website address is http://www.youtube.com/watchexample, you would type http://www.ssyoutube.com/watchexample.

Once the address is complete and you have entered “ss” into the appropriate part of the URL address, hit enter on your keyboard.You will be redirected to savefrom.net’s website. A download button will appear on the screen.
Click the download button and save the video to your device.

Your video is now downloaded to your device for viewing at a later time.

How to download YouTube videos with Keepvid

You can also use keepvid.com to download YouTube videos. This website works similarly to savefromnet.com.

Heed these steps to use Keepvid:

Go to YouTube and find the video you’d like to download.

Click the Share button underneath the video on YouTube to copy the link.

Open a new window and navigate to keepvid.com.
Paste the link into the download text box.
Click download and save the video.All done!

Keepvid can also download videos from other websites, including videos posted to social media.

Before you begin downloading videos from YouTube, you need to understand the legal issues that accompany your use of those videos. YouTube content is copyrighted. That means that you absolutely cannot download it for anything other than personal use.

Also, Google (the owner of YouTube) includes terms of service for users.
These terms specifically state: “You shall not download any Content unless you see a ‘download’ or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content”
(Section 5 – B). The following is provided for informational purposes only.

There are several methods for downloading YouTube videos. The instructions above discuss two popular ways to complete the task, but other options exist. There are numerous software suites available to download these videos.
If you prefer this method, you can easily find choices by searching the internet for “YouTube downloading software.” The directions you find here discuss the use of websites that are specifically created to download YouTube videos.

Guest Post: Shaw Communications has recently released a “Usable by the blind” TV Service called, BlueSky TV

BlueSky TV by Shaw Communications

Here is what I learned about the base technology that Shaw has imported into Canada and are now calling BlueSky TV. It’s originally a ComCast system called X1 and is licensed by Shaw exclusively in Western Canada and Rogers in Eastern Canada for the next 3 years.

I wouldn’t call it completely accessible, however thanks to the Voice Guidance it is, for the most part, usable by blind folks. This is a service designed for and promoted to the sighted TV viewer, so not necessarily built with blind accessibility in mind.

Check out these videos.

How to use X1 Voice Guidance Talking Guide:

How to learn the X1 Remote Control Layout:

How to Program your X1 Remote Control to your TV and Audio Device:
(Sighted assistance may be needed)

Graphical Layout of the X1 Remote Control:
(Not accessible to blind) computer users)

For the ComCast Support Page in the USA:

Thx, Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator
The Canadian Council of the Blind
Email: GTTWest@CCBNational.net
Mobile: 250-240-2343

Guest Post: How to Re-Arrange App Icons on your iOS 10 Device

Dear GTT Members,

Thanks goes out to GTT Edmonton member, Owais, who has written a tutorial on arranging iOS app icons that he would like to share with us. See his email below.

Subject: Arranging Apps In Ios 10

Hello Gtt. I have prepared a Tutorial that demonstrates how to Arrange Applications in iOS 10 since Apple has made it very easy to do this. In this tutorial I have prepared all the steps to arrange apps with a Braille Display and without a Braille Display. I hope this helps everyone.

Arranging Apps In iOS 10 With A Braille Display:
Note: This tutorial assumes that the user is already connected to a Braille Display.
Step 1. First locate on your Home Screen of the iOS Device to an app. It will help if your at the very top of the Home Screen.
Step 2. Press Spacebar and Dot 6 to go to your options of your current Rotor Settings. Try to find Arrange Apps.
Step 3. Click or Double-Tap on it with your Rotor Keys. The Braille Display and Voiceover will announce Arranging Apps.
Step 4. Scroll up or down once and then back to the app you were previously on. You will then read the App’s name and the word “Editting” beside it.
Step 5. Be careful here because Double-Tapping on this may Delete the App however you will get an Alert Pop-Up.
Step 6. Locate to the app that you wish to move and swipe up by pressing Spacebar and Dot 3. Look for Move the specific app for example Messages.
When you swipe up your Ios Device should say Move Messages.
Step 7. Double-Tap and a Pop-Up should be seen spoken to choose a Destination.
Step 8. Now anywhere on your phone locate to an app on your phone that you would like the currently moved app to be with.
Step 9. When you have found that app swipe up by pressing Spacebar and Dot 3 again. You will see place Message in this case before or after or the current app. Another option you will have is to Create a folder with the following 2 apps. Select the option you want and press the either of Rotor keys to Double-Tap. Your app will then be mrved.
Step 10. To end the Editting Mode press the Home Button or do the same steps if you wish to mrve other apps.
Step 11. When you create folder with several apps the iPhone may name it randomly according to the Category of apps they fit in. You may change the App’s name by going into the Folder and putting your Ios device in Editting as explained above as you want to move an app.
Step 12. Instead of mrving apps go to the very top of the folder. You will see Clear Text and when your Ios Device has focused the Braille Display on the Folder’s Title, a Pop-Up comes saying “Double-Tap to edit text field.”
Click on it using the Braille Display Rotor keys and simply enter the Title you wish to give this Folder. Press Spacebar and E when your done.
Step 13. End your Editting as described above.
Note: When you have completed formatting your Ios Device’s Layout place your Rotor Setting option to Activate Default since if it’s focused on Arrange Apps, your phone will go back into Editting Mode as soon as you Double-Tap on the app to use it or when you press Enter.

Arranging Apps Without A Braille Display:
Step 1. Swipe Up or Down on your Ios Device’s screen and Double-Tap on Arrange Apps. Swipe to the right/left and then back to your current app you would like to move and Voiceover will announce for example Messages Editting.

Step 2. Be careful here and don’t Double-Tap since that may lead you to Deleting your app. Please note that if you click on this button here as well Voiceogher will alert you telling you that your about to delete an app.
Step 3. Swipe up to find move Messages for example and Double-Tap on it.
Voiceogher should announce Choose A destination.
Step 4. Locate to the app you wish to move the current app before or after.
Step 5. Swipe up or down and you will get options to place Messages after or before or even create a folder with the following 2 apps. Select the one you want.
Step 6. Now your app has been moved and your done. Press the Home Button if your done formatting your Screen Layout or follow the same steps to mrche your other apps.
Step 7. When your folder in a folder and wish to change the folder’s name in which your apps are located do the follow things.
Step 8. Proceed to the very top of the folder and put your Ios Device back into Editting Mode.
Step 9. You will hear Voiceover announce the folder current name in addiy to a Pop-Up saying Double-Tap to edit the Text Field.
Step 10. Double-Tap and use your Touch Screen to enter the Title you wish to give your folder.
Step 11. Double-Tap on done and your all done.
Note: Make sure your screen is focused on Activate Default instead of Arrange Apps when your done since this will do the same thing as described in the note with the Braille Display above.

Best Regards,
Owais

Please send your questions and comments to,
GTT.Edmonton@Gmail.com