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.