Disability Support for University Employees

The Occupational Health Service works within the University’s Safety, Health and Wellbeing Service.  We assist employees and managers to ensure that the work environment is safe and that an employee's health is not adversely affected by their work activities. The role of the Disability and Wellbeing Adviser is to support employees with disabilities and provide specialist guidance and support in the workplace. This involves individualised assessment and recommendations in line with the Equality Act (2010) and Access to Work this may also include advice on coping strategies and reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

The Disability Adviser can help you with:

  • Specific advice on equipment  to promote function and wellbeing at work
  • Advice to employees and managers on adaptations to the workplace in line with statutory requirements
  • Information on how to maintain function and independence
  • Information and links to wider community disability resources
  • Referral to specialist services
  • Information on Access to Work
  • Lifestyle advice and guidance – at work and at home
  • Signpost to appropriate statutory and voluntary sector organisations

The Equality Act (2010)


‘A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.’ In this context long term means having lasted or likely to last for at least 12 months or the rest of the person’s life’.

Where someone meets the definition of a disabled person in the Equality Act, employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to any elements of the job which place a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people. The most successful reasonable adjustments result from open and honest discussion.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments:

The employer has a duty to ensure that a disabled person is not placed at a substantial disadvantage through practice, physical feature or through the lack of an auxiliary aid compared to people who are not disabled. This applies throughout the person’s employment from recruitment, application and once in post. 

Further information: www.gov.uk/equality-act-2010-guidance/


If further professional support and guidance advice is required the employee’s line manager and HR Business Partner can make a referral to the Occupational Health Service. Alternatively an employee can make contact directly to discuss any issues, but for ongoing support this will need to be supported by a management referral.

Email: managementreferrals@exeter.ac.uk

The Disability and Wellbeing Advisor will contact the employee to arrange an appointment, carry out an assessment and will provide an advisory report with recommendations to the line manager and HR Business Partner.

Useful links:

Disabled Go - Provides information for students, staff and visitors who have a disability with detailed information of the University facilities. This includes the location of blue badge parking bays and detailed access information including photographs of the rooms and facilities in each building.

Access to Work - An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support for individuals with a long term disability, health or mental health condition to enable them to start work or stay in work. Employee must make application.

DSE Policy - This Standard sets out the responsibilities for implementing the requirements of the Display Screen Equipment Regulations (1992). The Standard explains the steps that should be taken by managers and their staff to ensure that all DSE Users have been identified, have been assessed and risks in the workstation controlled.

Staff Wellbeing Website - This website draws together all University health and wellbeing activities, courses and information for staff and is managed by the Wellbeing Group part of the Positive Working Environment work stream.