Work on Wheels

Reprinted from PN December 2012

Employees in New Zealand get better understanding of what it's like to work in a wheelchair.

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Some employees of a pharmaceutical company Down Under tried to get a better understanding of what it’s like to work in a wheelchair.

Eight employees at Merck Sharp and Dohme’s (MSD) Auckland, New Zealand, office spent Oct. 2 working in wheelchairs as part of Wheels at Work Week held there.

MSD is an international pharmaceutical company providing medicines and vaccines. It is the first Auckland business to take part in this campaign in support of the New Zealand Spinal Trust.

Wheels at Work Week was held the first week of October and involves local business employees using wheelchairs for a day in the office. This is being done to highlight the difficulty of returning to work after a spinal-cord injury.

Mischa Winnard, medical manager of MSD Auckland, says some challenges faced by the staff included making a cup of tea, fitting a wheelchair under a desk and accessing the toilet.

Despite the challenges, MSD employees found their day in a wheelchair an enjoyable learning experience.

“Great idea and great challenge,” Winnard says. “It has certainly got lots of people talking in our building and given us a much greater appreciation of the challenges and how we might adapt our workplace if required.”

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