Can people who have visual impairments work in a machine shop?

Date Updated
04/07/21

Completing projects in the machine shop is a critical part of many engineering degrees, but, if not designed to be accessible, can present barriers for many individuals with disabilities, including individuals with visual impairments. There are examples of individuals with visual impairments who successfully work as machinists. Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind has been training people with visual impairments to become Boeing machinists since 1951.

Machinists with visual impairments make use of assistive technology and training tailored to their needs. The Lighthouse for the Blind machine shop makes use of Braille and enlarged fonts, extra lighting, raised safety lines on the floor, and voice output. Learn more on the Modern Machine Shop website.

To find out more about designing an engineering lab to be accessible consult, How can engineering labs and machine shops be made more accessible to students with disabilities? and Checklist for Making Engineering Labs Accessible to Students with Disabilities. For information on how to create an accessible makerspace using universal design visit, Making a Makerspace? Guidelines for Accessibility and Universal Design.