Workplace Safety

Most people with epilepsy can work without worrying about safety issues. However, some jobs are more risky if seizures are frequent, involve loss of consciousness, and happen without warning.

Jobs can often be made safer with a few changes. Employers are, in many cases, required by law to make such changes or accommodations.

  • Review any job-related risks that apply to you. Can something be changed to improve safety?
  • Consider telling your co-workers you have epilepsy and the correct first aid for the type of seizure you have. This often helps calm fears and corrects any strange ideas they may have about seizure first aid.
  • Let the local ambulance service know too. If they are ever called to help, they will know in advance what you want them to do and how you want your seizure to be handled.
  • Climb only as high as you can safely fall, especially on a concrete/floor, unless you are protected by a reliable safety harness and wearing a secure hard hat or helmet.
  • When working around machinery, check for safety features, such as automatic shut off or safety guards.
  • Try to keep consistent work hours so you don’t have to go a long time without sleep.
  • If you are sensitive to flashing lights, try to limit your exposure. Look away if you can. Use dark glasses. Some people think blue lenses work best.
  • Does stress make your seizures worse? Is your job a very stressful one? If so, look at ways to reduce stress on the job.
  • Depending on your job and demands of the work site, consider wearing protective clothing if you have frequent seizures.
  • Keep a small pillow tucked away in a drawer so a co-worker (who knows where it is and what to do with it) can place it under your head if you have a generalised tonic-clonic seizure.
  • Keep a change of clothes at work in case your clothes get soiled during a seizure.

EFA “Tips for Living with Seizure Disorders”: Updated April 2002