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Tips to Help Employees Manage Diabetes at Work

Diabetes affects many workers.

It is is important to know how to prioritize their health and manage unique risks.

Diabetes is on the rise in the U.S., and the numbers will probably get worse due to the pandemic and the economy. The number of Americans diagnosed with the condition is set to increase from 22.3 million to 39.7 million by 2030. Absenteeism due to type 2 diabetes costs employers over $20,000,000,000 billion dollars every year,

Diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents the body breaking down glucose into energy. This occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. The result is the need for medication, including injections and testing blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Helping your employees manage their diabetes can benefit individual employees and your bottom-line.

Accurate Ergonomics integrated health, safety and prevention education and skills training courses, include lessons with helpful information on diabetes prevention.

Many employees start a new healthy diet, increase exercise and lose weight after taking one of our courses.


Prevention Tips

While many people can manage their diabetes without it impacting their work performance, shift work can negatively affect the condition. If an employee is unable to check their blood sugar or take insulin when needed, they run the risk of it going high or low. A low blood sugar can result in feelings of weakness, dizziness, and potentially loss of consciousness.

Are these employees performing tasks that may be dangerous if their blood sugar goes low? Can working conditions such as working alone, overnight, or driving be safely performed?

  • Encourage employees to make healthy dietary and lifestyle choices at work and home, as this can help manage their condition.

  • People with diabetes commonly experience foot problems caused by nerve damage. Diabetic socks can be helpful in minimizing or preventing foot pain, especially if employees spend a lot of their time at work on their feet.

  • Healthy eating can prevent and control diabetes and even reverse Type 2 conditions. Implementing a diabetes nutrition program in the workplace can empower employees with diabetes with the knowledge they need to stay healthy.

  • Be willing to make reasonable adjustments to allow your employees with diabetes to work comfortably and safely. You may need to offer flexible working hours or private spaces to allow them to check their blood sugar and administer insulin.

  • It may be helpful to create storage space for insulin supplies if it isn’t feasible for employees to keep them with them all the time at work.

"The effort you put in will ultimately improve quality of life for these employees, lower health care expenses and minimize costly absenteeism and presenteeism."

Diabetes Facts

Type 2 diabetes comprises 90% of people with diabetes around the world, and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycemia (raised blood sugar), is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Type 1 diabetes, previously known as insulin-dependent, juvenile, or childhood-onset, is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin.

The cause of type 1 diabetes is not known and it is not preventable with current knowledge. Symptoms include excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes, and fatigue. These symptoms may occur suddenly.

Type 2 diabetes symptoms may be similar to those of Type 1 diabetes, but are often less marked. As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years after onset, once complications have already arisen. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in children.

  • Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

  • Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Fifty percent of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke).

  • Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers and eventual limb amputation.

  • Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. After 15 years of diabetes, approximately 2 percent of people become blind, and about 10 percent develop severe visual impairment.

  • Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure. Ten to 20 percent of people with diabetes die of kidney failure.

  • Diabetic neuropathy is damage to the nerves as a result of diabetes, and affects up to 50 percent of people with diabetes. Although many different problems can occur as a result of diabetic neuropathy, common symptoms are tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in the feet and hands.

  • The overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double the risk of their peers without diabetes.

  • Diabetes also increases the risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus, and people with diabetes are more likely to suffer the serious negative effects of COVID-19.

Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:

  • Achieve and maintain healthy body weight;

  • Be physically active, doing at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight loss;

  • Eat a healthy diet of between three and five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and reduce sugar and saturated fat intake;

  • Avoid tobacco use as smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Early diagnosis can be accomplished through relatively inexpensive blood testing.

Treatment of diabetes involves lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels.


Accurate Ergonomics offers employers custom education and training solutions, designed to keep your workforce energized, healthy, safe and injury-free.

Our integrated health and wellness, ergonomics and musculoskeletal injury prevention training system will help your employees: increase efficiency; reduce fatigue, discomfort and pain; prevent costly injuries; and increase both productivity and longevity.

Contact Accurate Ergonomics at 1.866.950.3746, or email


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The information contained in this post is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the date of this blog post. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This post is not a substitute for review of the current applicable government regulations and standards specific to your location and business activity, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice or opinion.

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