Australia upholds standards when it comes to providing fair work opportunities for disabled people. However, there is often more a specific workplace can do to make their space more accessible to their disabled staff.
Things like widening doorways, installing ramps alongside steps, making switches more accessible and providing disabled bathroom access are all important features for ensuring an accessible space for all to work.
Able-bodied people often take their ability to move freely for granted, but this doesn’t mean they should overlook their friends and colleagues who may need a little extra assistance in the workplace.
There is a high standard of disability services in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and throughout Australia, but individual workplaces that are lacking these basic functionalities should consider them to make them more accessible for any current, and future, disabled staff.
1. Install Ramps
This is a no-brainer, and is pretty commonplace now in Australian offices and other workplaces, but it’s important for people with mobility problems to be easily able to make their way in, out and around the workplace.
Installing ramps will ensure people with mobility scooters and wheelchairs can easily move around the workplace.
2. Make Switches & Handles Accessible
You can have handles, switches and other important fixtures moved to more accessible places so that people in mobility scooters and wheelchairs can easily reach them.
3. Widen Doorways
Doorways can be an inhibitor for disabled people in the workplace especially if they are narrow. For people with mobility scooters and wheelchairs, it can be difficult to pass through narrow doorways.
Therefore, one way you can easily improve access for people with mobility scooters and wheelchairs is to widen your workplace’s doorways. This will free up space for them to pass with ease as well as make for safer passageways for all staff.
4. Install Audio-Visual Fire Alarms
Fire alarms are one of those things that you simply never know when you might need to use. However, outdated fire alarm systems are highly inaccessible to people with mobility scooters and wheelchairs.
Today, you can install audio-visual fire alarms that will allow all your staff the ability to access this important, potentially lifesaving technology.
5. Install Accessible Bathroom Features
It’s imperative for the Australian workplace to provide accessible bathroom facilities for staff and visitors living with a disability. It is the business’s duty of care to install the changes required so that people living with a disability can easily access bathroom facilities like their able-bodied colleagues.
6. Other Things Your Workplace Can Do
The underlying subtext of installing basic amenities and fittings for disabled people is not only to make things more accessible for them, but so that they are also not being discriminated against or inhibited due to their disability.
There are other gestures you can provide to ensure any disabled staff are able to work and move freely: producing braille paperwork, a charging station for mobility scooters as well as staff awareness training are all ways in which you can make the workplace more accessible and enjoyable for disabled staff.
More Australians with disabilities are being recognised and their skills and needs valued. There is a large percentage of Australian workers living with disabilities and this isn’t something that should be overlooked when it comes to physical workplace amenities.
Employers should always be looking to bridge the physical gap between able-bodied and diabled staff, as this is important for creating a more cohesive, understanding workplace for all staff.