Accessibility should be an important consideration for all business owners. People of varying abilities need to access the same spaces as people considered to have ‘normal’ bodies and minds. Many business owners have begun to take the initiative to make their enterprises more accessible. The Americans with Disabilities Act was introduced to offer disabled people federal protection from discrimination. In 2010, an amendment to the act was passed that prescribed standards for accessible design. These standards gave disabled people recourse for legal action if they found themselves excluded from a space in a way that could have been prevented with good design.
Businesses can become more accessible in many ways. These steps should be taken if a business wants to be completely accessible to the widest possible group of people.
Consult With Disabled People
Amazingly, this step – perhaps the most helpful single thing a business can do to understand what they need to do to be accessible – is rarely taken. Planning for an accessible business is all about seeing things from other people’s perspectives. The best way of getting these alternative perspectives is actually to ask. Plenty of disability consultancy groups are made up of people of varying abilities. Disability consultants that are not disabled are expected to consult with groups of people that are. The consultation will help to uncover any flaws that have gone unnoticed in a design or business plan. Try and consult as early as possible.
Install And Maintain Elevators and Ramps
Elevators and ramps enable wheelchair users to access raised areas safely. Without them, wheelchair users would be trapped downstairs. Users of these accessibility aids are often left frustrated by blocked ramps and elevators that are out of order. It is important to regularly hire inspectors like ATIS elevator to ensure that your elevator systems are in working order to prevent any malfunctions. Likewise, make regular inspections of any ramps you have installed in your workplace – clearing any obstacles, and always make sure that your floor is in tact and safe to move around.
Retail businesses and museums often pose specific threats to wheelchair user’s movement. A labyrinth of aisles can be incredibly hard to navigate. Try and plan interior design so that it is easily navigable by people of all abilities.
Staff training is one of the most important things a business can engage in if it wants to be accessible. Disability training includes four main strands:
Teaching staff members about some of the barriers that disabled people can face.
Teaching staff members about the advantages of running an inclusive workplace.
Teaching staff members about the appropriate solutions to the barriers faced by disabled people, focusing on the fact that there is a solution to nearly every problem.
Showing examples of specific disability barrier solutions and giving staff an understanding of best practices.
Well-trained staff will have the ability to think on their feet appropriately and sensitively when dealing with disability barriers that they may not have considered beforehand.