Making Your Premises Easily Accessible

By
Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
liked this article
Embed
RMS (Expires January 30 2017) – new advert
advertisement
handicap parking signs
FavoriteLoadingsave article

There are a number of simple and inexpensive ways to make your business more disability friendly and you need to be aware of current regulations covering accessibility. Let’s take a look at important considerations to ensure your business is accessible.

The facts:

  • Almost 4 million Australians have a disability.
  • About 50 per cent of people aged over 55 have difficulty with their mobility, hearing or vision.
  • By 2050 more than 25 per cent of the population will be over 65.
  • If you add families, friends and colleagues the number of people affected by disability is even greater.
Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

Given that each of these people is a potential customer, client or employee, it’s important your workplace design provides adequate access to your building and services.

There are a number of simple and inexpensive ways to make your business more disability friendly and you need to be aware of current regulations covering accessibility. Let’s take a look at important considerations to ensure your business is accessible.

Make it easy for people to access your premises

  • Provide a level entry to your premises. Where this is not possible, you may need to consider a ramp.
  • Ensure the door handles are at a height that is easy for all people to reach. The standards state that the handle needs to be between 900 and 1100 millimetres above the floor.
  • Make the door easier to open by making it lighter or automatic, and ensure that the handle itself is easy to use
  • Make the doorway wide enough to allow a person with a walking frame, or wheelchair, to pass through with ease. There is a minimum width under current regulations.
  • Avoid thick rubber mats or carpeting which may prove to be a hazard at the entry. In cases where mats are required, tapered edges will make using a walker or cane safer and reduce trip hazards. You may consider a contrasting edge to the map to make it more visible.
  • Ensure you provide wide unobstructed aisles, avoiding stacks of inventory or other obstacles.

Making it easier for those with vision impairments

  • Use different coloured or patterned flooring or walls to differentiate departments, or use different textures of carpet/flooring for tactile senses.
  • Use blinds or shades on large front windows that have morning or afternoon sun to reduce glare. Glare can make it difficult for a person with some visual impairment to move about safely.
  • Signage could include Braille, particularly on doorways in common spaces and on shelves in retail environments.
  • Retailers could also use easy-to-find aisle numbers and common items listed at the end of each aisle in large format signs with Braille.
  • Where practical, items could be stocked in alphabetical order, such as canned goods.

For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  • A writing pad at the registers for staff and patrons to write on when communicating with deaf customers.
  • Consider the introduction of a Hearing loop to assist.
  • Install flashing smoke and fire alarms to alert a deaf customer of emergencies.

Many of these items are required under current regulations and therefore you should contact an architect or accessibility consultant if you are concerned about your compliance.

Embed
FavoriteLoadingsave article

Comments

 characters available
*Please refer to our comment policy before submitting
Discussions