RSC, Von Roll Partner to Get Employee Back to Work
Kenneth (Doug) McLaughlin is the first guy to tell you to
never burn your bridges at work. Disabled by a massive heart
attack and stroke on Memorial Day 2003, McLaughlin faced a long
recovery, an uncertain future, periods of isolation and
disability checks, tough news for an active hard working man not
prone to idleness. When his eyesight blurred—blame that on the
stroke—even a desk job seemed unlikely. Then McLaughlin did
three important things: he hired an optimistic cardiologist,
called an optimistic coworker, and contacted the Ohio
Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC), Bureau of Services for
the Visually Impaired.
A job evaluation by a vocational rehabilitation counselor with RSC revealed that the Negley, Ohio man (near East Liverpool) had employable computer skills, in spite of deteriorated vision. McLaughlin related his good news to a friend and coworker who worked as a human relations specialist at Von Roll WTI, a hazardous waste treatment plant. After a brainstorming session, Von Roll offered McLaughlin, a 12-year veteran at the site, employment as a part-time data mapping specialist, someone who reviews workflow and visually depicts it as a drawing. He accepted the challenge immediately, hoping that Von Roll would feed him more projects and increase his hours.
The Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired helped McLaughlin and Von Roll with workplace accommodations, which included a magnified computer screen, a closed-circuit TV to enlarge drawings, and eyeglasses with prism lenses that widened his peripheral vision. The enhanced vision also lets McLaughlin to focus on other important things, like fishing, building a deck at the lake cottage, frolicking with the grandsons, and completing the chores suggested by a supportive spouse.