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Handycapped, jewelry worker

I am a jeweler looking for ways to adapt the jeweling processes for a
handycapped person. There is loss of shoulder and hand useage to an
increasing degree. I need to find out what adaptive devises are
available for sawing and filing and the other basic tasks of making.

Hi I know a jeweler in Eagan, Minnesota named Rick Waldeland,
Waldeland Jewelers. He’s in wheel chair and has had others who were
also disabled working for him look him up, he might be helpful.


If you can’t find any resources within the jewelry industry, try the
Job Accommodation Network at 800-232-9675. In addition to being very
helpful in their own right, they have an extensive set of referral
resources as well.

Good luck!
Debi Orton


Give me a bit more and perhaps I can help. I myself am
in a similar position. (Right hand reconstructed out of pieces of my
hip, 5 carpal tunnel operations, left shoulder separated in a fall,
and both elbows have had the nerve released…)

Brian P. Marshall - Instructor
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
704 W. Swain Rd.
Stockton, CA 95207

   " Would it be safe for me to work as a jeweler as I am diabetic 

Your diabetes should pose no significant risks that would not face a
non-diabetic. I’ve been an insulin dependent diabetic for the last
32 years, and after this length of time, do have significant damage
done. But working as a jeweler is not significantly more difficult as
a result.

The concerns:

If you’ve had eye damage/retinopathy with diabetes, at some point,
your vision may not be good enough to do jewelry (or any other
detailed work, like reading or whatever) but until that point, doing
jewelry work won’t make your vision worse, and with proper diabetic
control, you should be able to keep your vision problems at least
mostly under control for a long time. Current state of the art in
laser treatement of retinopathy is pretty good. I, for example, have
3500 laser burns in my left eye and 2700 in the right eye, as part of
such therapy. It considerably reduces the acuity of my peripheral
vision, but not central focused vision. So while, in general, it’s
disturbing sometimes, it does not affect my ability to see what I’m
working on or look through a loupe or microscope, or whatever.

Over time, neuropathy can affect the sensativity of skin nerves.
Usually this is most pronounced in the legs, but it can affect the
fingers too. The little fingers on each of my hands are often a bit
numb or tingly. Again, bothersome, but I’ve gotton used to it, and
jewelry work probably retards such development by keeping my hands
busy and well conditioned.

While diabetics are more prone to infections, and skin wounds like
sticking gravers or burrs into your fingers can become more easily
infected, this is again a problem you simply take care of as needed.
So far, I’ve not yet had any real problems with infections in such
wounds, other than one or two small such incidents which required
antibiotic therapy. One such incident, ten years ago, was a bit more
serious, when I took a good hit on a knuckle with a bench grinder.
That got infected, and required me to carry around an intraveinous
antibiotic setup for a week, when the oral ones didn’t seem to work
well enough. But that was a fluke, and had I been “on the ball”, and
caught the infection earlier, it wouldn’t have been that serious.
Again, simple normal care should suffice to keep you out of trouble.

If you’re planning to actually obtain work in the jewelry industry,
then a few accomodations may be needed on the part of your employer.
Diabetics sometimes end up with more frequent doctor’s visits than the
rest of the population, so you’ll need to be sure that the somewhat
more frequent times when you’ll need time off work for that won’t be a
problem. And, since proper diabetic care usually means a more tightly
controlled diet, in some cases (especially if you’re taking insulin),
you may need to be less flexible than other employees in such things
as when you need to take a break for lunch or the like. Employers
need to understand that sometimes, when you need to eat something,
that means NOW. Not after you finish one more sizing job… Your own
care requirements may not be this inflexible, and there are always
ways around most such problems, but it still should be addressed
before there are misunderstandings.

Also, as with any employer, whether jewelry or not, be sure your
coworkers know you’re diabetic, and the implications of that. They
should, for example, understand that if you’re seen taking a shot,
it’s insulin, not illegal drugs, and that this isn’t always something
that can wait for a more convenient time at home, etc. Insulin pens
are usually a good way to avoid that particular misunderstanding,
since they don’t look like syringes, and thus don’t create that
automatic assumption. And if you’re prone to hypoglycemic (low blood
sugar or insulin reactions) episodes, they should be aware of how to
help you treat it. Again, this is simple enough, but they should be
aware of such things before it becomes an issue. Similarly, if you
keep food/sugar sources of some sort in your workplace to deal with
dietary needs or hyoglycemic events, your coworkers need to know that
such items are more than a convenience for you, and that they should
not feel free to help themselves to your supplies. Nothing quite like
feeling an insulin reaction coming on, going back to the store lunch
room to drink that can of fruit juice you keep in the fridge for that
purpose, only find that some inconsiderate person has already helped
themselves to your juice…

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe