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Type 1 & snacks at work

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by Pinkpixie, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. Pinkpixie

    Pinkpixie Type 1 · Newbie

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    Hey everyone
    I won’t bore you with too many details so basically last Saturday my manager in work told me I am no longer allowed to have snacks behind the counter (I am a barista working in a very busy environment) and if I need to have something to eat I have to go to a separate area of the building to consume it.
    I’m not really sure how I feel about this as normally I am the only exception and was previously allowed to have snacks behind the counter to treat any unexpected hypos.
    Does anyone have any info or any advice they can give me? Is this acceptable or should I be allowed to have something behind the counter without having to explain myself?
    (It wasn’t the managers decision on this, she was told by the directors I can’t have anything with me)
     
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  2. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hi and welcome @Pinkpixie

    As a type 1 you have rights within the workplace under the disability act, which means your employer needs to make reasonable allowances to ensure you can manage your condition in the workplace. So on this basis if you were to have a hypo how would you normally look after yourself and have you agreed anything with your employer in regards to this ? They should be aware that keeping something near to hand is vital for your well being so you are not being unreasonable in asking for this. I use glucotabs instead of snacks as they can be kept in a round water tight container, and are quick and easy to consume, I have done some bar work with a friend at festivals and kept them in my apron, any sign of a hypo and I disappear quietly somewhere to treat until well enough to continue.
     
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  3. Pinkpixie

    Pinkpixie Type 1 · Newbie

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    Thanks for replying.
    I have been told I can go and eat/drink/treat hypo in another part of the building but that would mean leaving my stuff there and making my way there already hypo. I will keep gluco tabs with me but I’m worried I’ll get told off for it as I’ve been told NOTHING behind the counter (cctv watching everything there)
    I normally treat hypos behind the counter as it’s so busy there I work through the hypo unless I’m literally unable to stand
     
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  4. EllieM

    EllieM Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, how far away is this other part of the building? Have you explained that you normally treat and then work through your hypos and might need someone to accompany you if you walk any distance to get to your glucotabs? Do you normally do a blood test when you feel yourself going low, so you need your meter behind the bar also?
    The directors sound very unreasonable, but it probably doesn't help that you can't make you case directly to them.
    Maybe you could get your doctor to write a letter saying that you need your glucotabs with you at all times?

    Not unreasonable to have to explain why you need the glucotabs, but unreasonable to deny them once you have explained.

    I'm out of date with labour laws in the UK, but do you have a union?
     
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  5. 98Emily

    98Emily · Newbie

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    Hey I'm sorry to hear that your workplace isn't being supportive with your diabetes care. That situationfor me would cause anxietyfor worrying about when my bloods were going to drop, not being able to treat them right away,passing out on the job etc. Therefore I can only imagine the extra pressure that puts on you in an already busy environment.

    I think it's definitely worth trying to find the right person within the company to stress this situation to - that 'snacking'is purleyfor medical reasons - I used to stress about losing a job if they saw me as being unreasonable but friends told me they were sure my manager/company would rather deal with me snacking on glucotabs (as well as a carb snack because that's important to stop it dropping again), than deal with me passed out in a fit or a coma!!

    I'm quite outraged to read that it's so difficult for you at work. At college I had a lecturer who was just as adminant that during a hypo I was wrong to eat in class and was to take 3 flights of stairs down to a cafe to eat - which I might not have made. I could have took the lift but even that's ridiculous seeming to me when I felt so weak and tired already - any exertion during a hypo can very quickly cause me to become unwell, I learnt the hard way!

    I also worked in a buffet where my boss was Chinese and didn't understand my medical needs, telling me off for eating etc.

    perserverance with getting the adjustments you need is a big thing I would advise - don't accept their unreasonable new rule! I can imagine the stress build up from this alone will be giving you low mood and changing how you feel about work, which makes me sad that you're even having to go through that.

    Has there been any updates? I'm new to this forum :)
    -
     
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  6. Lillyse

    Lillyse Type 1 · Member

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    I don't know about any laws or anything, since I don't live in the uk, but the rule seems stooopid!! If I catch a hypo early it is often easy for me to treat it. Just pop in some dextrose tablets - then I often can continue work through it until I am stable again. What can that be, not even half a minute? A rule like this would only take more time that i could've spent working. ( I work in a kitchen so I know what 5 minutes away from your station can mean... :dead:)

    Are you allowed to have a bottle or something behind the counter? If so, maybe you can fill one with juice (or something else that gets your bg up) to drink in case of a hypo, just to give your bg a big enough boost to get to the back room....

    I wish you all the best! I hope they change their minds soon...
     
  7. mentat

    mentat Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    If you can afford it consider a CGM. Then you avoid a hypo before it happens. Still involves stepping out but you won't be walking around hypo and you can safely come back straight away because you don't need to wait for your sugar to come back up.
     
  8. Diakat

    Diakat Type 1 · Moderator
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    Write a letter to the directors, and copy it to your manager (if possible also get a Drs letter) in it sate that as a T1 diabetic you have rights to reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010. This might include carrying hypo treatment.
    They could possibly argue that eating behind the counter is a hygiene issue. So you could offer to step to the other side of the counter to eat or test rather than have to walk to another room.
     
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  9. NicoleC1971

    NicoleC1971 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps you could pass this to your line manager to pass onto the director.
    https://www.diabetes.org.uk/resourc...%20the%20workplace%20support%20Feb%202017.pdf
    Your employers are clearly ignorant. I imagine they rather not have you crash out whlst serving customers but possibly do not understand the nature of type 1 diabetes.
    Diabetes UK offer support to diabetics via their helpline so it may be worthwhile chatting to them on the helpline should this go any further. In the meantime, I'd take my glucose tablets in though I assume you can also get hold of sugar sachets quickly too!
     
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  10. JC Durant

    JC Durant Type 1 · Member

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    Your employers do not understand your complex needs . I use a snack to fend off a hypo if my blood sugar is 4.0 and on a gradual decline as a snack ought to gradually improve you BS rather than radically improve which is to be avoided but sometimes the only option My new discovery for radical correction is Lift fast acting glucose shot which come is convenient 60ml bottles but are prices at £1.20 a bottle.
     
  11. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod I reversed my Type 2 · Master
    Staff Member Administrator

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    I totally agree with @Kim Possible on her suggestion you reliable the topic, when referring it to yourself.

    In your shoes, snacking to me would be something like, you fancy a biscuit, or a wine gum, or whatever, whereas I would tend to describe Glucotabs as helping me stay safe in the workplace, and minimising any potential time away from my work station.

    Depending on where the recipient is, I might send them a pack of said Glucotabs to sample. I mean, they're tolerable, but I doubt too many think, gosh I'm peckish, I'll have a Glucotabs or six.
     
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  12. KK123

    KK123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I agree with every other poster but would go one further. What they should be doing is allowing you the time to manage and check your glucose levels to STOP or avoid you getting to the stage where you are hypoing, never mind telling you to go off somewhere else to take your life saving medicine when it's practically too late because you are in a busy environment. They are a large company and if you haven't already then you need to contact HR and force them to write you up a personal plan that allows you to be able to check your glucose levels at certain intervals (say every 2 hours) AND whenever you need to such as when you feel you might be low, etc. It is disgraceful that some faceless bosses who clearly have NO knowledge of insulin & diabetes have said No. It's against the law, would they say to someone with a nut allergy who had come into contact with nuts, 'Go away and use your epi pen somewhere else'. Also, you are in a dangerous environment working with hot liquid, do they want you to throw it over the customers or scald yourself? This makes me very angry on your behalf but you must stick up for yourself and educate them because they are WRONG. They have a duty of care for you and they are clearly not following it. x
     
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  13. Nondipoo

    Nondipoo Prediabetes · Member

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    I wonder if your diet is correct in the first place. If you have proper breaks at work and have eaten sensible meals at the right times, it is unlikely you would regularly have hypos. Perhaps your insulin does needs adjusting?
     
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  14. Diakat

    Diakat Type 1 · Moderator
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    @Nondipoo hypos are hard to avoid. Sometimes we can figure out reasons for them other times they come out of the blue. Everyone would love to avoid them but life is not that easy.
     
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  15. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Moderator
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    It's not necessarily a case of diet or eating at regular times, there are many variables with hypos, such as exercise, stress, heat, hormones which are just a few factors which can affect dramatic changes in bg levels, as an insulin dependent diabetic hypos can occur unexpectedly and are generally unavoidable.
     
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  16. Marie 2

    Marie 2 LADA · Well-Known Member

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    I think part of the problem is the “snack” I’m not sure what you are eating but if it is a variety of foods versus gluco tabs or not even the exact same thing every day (like always gummy bears), then I could see other employees complaining because they can’t snack, customers maybe even commenting on the person behind the counter eating etc. Or even complaining your stuff is in the way? Employees might know it’s medical but could easily think too much leeway is being given or not really understanding why.

    I think that if it’s a bottle if gluco tabs or maybe gummy bears and you stick with the same thing and explain I have to have something quickly, I would think they should give. Then if you need to follow up with another more carb food you go to another area? You said you are a barista and to me that sounds like another area shouldn’t be that far? But if it is maybe you can just duck around a corner?

    But I bet if you address the issue as I need it for medical and you show them the 1 specific thing you will use, I think they should give. But a few gluco tabs or gummy bears in a pocket would also work.
     
  17. LooperCat

    LooperCat Type 1 · Expert

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    That’s not how it works, sadly. It’s an almost impossible job to be your own pancreas with the tools and insulin currently available. It’s like trying to mend a watch with a hammer. Synthetic insulin (even the ultra rapid ones we have today) lasts up to six hours in the body, and takes quite a long time to get working in the first place. Add to that the (at least) 42 factors that affect blood sugar, and you realise just what an impossible job we type ones (and type twos who take insulin) face in trying to keep our levels on an even keel. I have an artificial pancreas system, and even with that I occasionally go a little low.


    7608D017-988A-4AFF-B5FA-CC7A41167E9D.png
     
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  18. Kazzabling

    Kazzabling Type 1 · Member

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    Hi, my name is Karen, i used to be a Barista for C a good 5 years ago and we were allowed our free drinks behind the counter to drink ie the free coffees etc we were allowed etc on shift. If drinks are allowed could you make yourself a very sweet drink instead, you could take a couple of swigs of that if need be ?
    I'm sure its probably not allowed as you wdve thought of it already. I recently did the Daphne course, a weeks education on Type 1 diabetes and i learnt that sometimes something sweet is all you need to treat the hypo (it depends how far off your next meal is tbh ) this was an eye opener to me as i have had type 1 diabetes for 37 years and i was always told to have something quick acting, then to always follow with a snack, i had no re- education on my diabetes tbh from when i got my diabetes as a youngster until the Daphne course, so this may be common knowledge to most Type 1's thesedays but it wasnt to me. My point is some hypos might only need something sugary to treat them ie sugary drink for eg if you were allowed (altho not a fatty one as the fat slows down the sugar doing its job.. i only found this out recently also ) I feel for you as i like to be very discreet about any hypos at work and try catch and treat them early so i can also work through them like yourself, no one at work ever knows im ever having one .If you are anything like me ( you may not be ) you may not want extra attention of having to go off and treat them though obviously there is no shame in this whstsoever. Luckily i am a support worker now in a day centre and can eat when i need to no problems in the same room i am working in. I am new to this site and not great at navigating myself around it tbh so if you dont hear from me again its not personal. I feel for you as i know what a fast paced job you are doing, by them treating you like this they could be tempting you to run your levels high before each shift couldnt they in an effort to avoid a low, i guess they see it as a Health and Hygiene issue possibly who knows. All the best in dealing with it : )
     
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  19. Kazzabling

    Kazzabling Type 1 · Member

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    I used normal sugar a lot to treat my lows at home and at work and it brings my levels up pretty quick, doesnt take much longer than my dextrose tablets i personally feel, i just swill it around my mouth so it dissolves a lot first ( pardon the vision that is giving ! )
     
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  20. AliciaWarren

    AliciaWarren · Member

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    I don't know UK Health and Safety in the workplace law as I am in NZ. But I suspect that it would be useful to ask your manager to imagine a scenario by asking a "what if" question. What if I pass out behind the bar counter in a hypo coma because the bar was really busy and I had no opportunity to monitor my BG or get my treatment. Firstly there is a chance that I might die there before someone called the ambulance or I got treated and secondly if there was an investigation into how it happened, how would it look if the investigation found out that it happened because this company banned me from keeping my treatment on me, and didn't make it easy for me to monitor my BG at regular intervals and treat myself at busy times. Another useful what if question might be, what if the customers thought my behavior was due to being drunk when in fact it was caused by hypoglycaemia and was a medical emergency. Wouldn't you rather empower me to treat the symptoms discreetly and rapidly, so there is no chance that this could happen? You could also ask your doctor to write a letter to your employer explaining the realness of your need to have treatment handy and enclose with it an educational pamphlet about diabetic coma, how to recognize it and what to do.
     
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