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Access and accessibility, Two things to think about.

July 24, 2017

One of the things that needs to be considered in your business is access for mobility impaired employees, customers and visitors. Unfortunately building design has not kept up with this requirement. I can think of a number of buildings that I have visited over the years that would make it very difficult for a mobility impaired person to move around, these businesses have limit themselves in regards to customer and the ability to employ the best person for the job, in particular if that person has issues with moving around the work place environment. 


I have two examples of how these consideration have not been considered,


In our first example is a training room that is located on the second floor, it is a well laid out space with all the required equipment you could possible need to perform training, the only issue is access to the training room, employees or even visitors who have mobility issues could not access this space, the only way is via stairs no elevator. 


This restriction would require the company to locate an alternative venue that has all the access issues covered. This would be an additional cost to the businesses training budget, cost of getting to the venue, down time for employees to attend the training. 


I was watching an inspirational ted talk by MAYSOON ZAYID (Ted Women Talk, December 2013 Sanfrancisco California) and started to consider how this inspirational woman would deliver her talk in the training room described above, I am sure she could negotiate the stairs but she should not have to.

(Please do have a look at her Ted Talk it is brilliant.)


The second issue is with the access to toilets. At one of the businesses I have visited has a shared toilet for women and uni-sex disability access. This shared arrangement is not so much of an issue, but within the same space is a uni-sex shower that is used by all staff. Its not hard to envisage the situation of a disabled visitor, customer or employee needing to use the toilet while a person is showering. In this case the only viable alternative is the coffee shop across the road. 


In this situation I would suggest that the management of the facility should disconnect the shower, advise all staff the reasons for doing so (the unacceptable location of a shower), and if need be explore the need for a shower to a more appropriate location.


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