Accessibility is Key
In the grand scheme of things, providing your customers with a maximum level of comfort and convenience is paramount to ensuring your business continues to grow and gain speed in the modern landscape. Even though abled-bodied individuals make up most of the consumers, providing accessibility is key to ensuring that your place of business provides easy access to those who are not in full use of their body. Handicapped parking is just a stepping stone, but what else is needed?
First and foremost, you need ramps. Elevators help and so do staircase ramps at larger elevation off the ground, but we all keep forgetting that the thresholds of most doorways represent a small yet inconvenient obstacle for wheelchair use and do require an adjustable ramp.
Rubber Threshold Ramp
This type of ramp is great for both manual and electric wheelchairs and can be set up on either side of a doorway of heights up to 100mm. If the ledge is smaller, you can use a third rubber ramp within the PVC doorway to push up against this lower height to help the user pass the threshold with ease, not to mention protect the threshold from the weight of the chair. As the ramps are rubber, you can cut them width-ways for optimal size.
Aluminium Bridge Ramp
The aluminium threshold ramp is considered the adjustable ramp of choice for manual wheelchairs. The design requires that the height on both sides of the threshold to be the same in order to ensure the bridge ramp can rest securely on the ground. This type of wheelchair threshold ramp is available in heights up to 100mm, providing an anti-slip surface, it’s extremely user friendly. Simply place it over the threshold and start using it, with no installation required.
The plane form is great, but there are models that provide a black grip surface support system which protects the threshold. It can hold a capacity of up to 350kg and is more than suitable for the user and anyone pushing the wheelchair over the ramp.
Fibreglass Threshold Ramp
Fibreglass threshold ramp is a great lightweight option to carry around and easily mount where it’s needed. This type of ramp can be found in a bridge design and a threshold wedge design.
The adjustable fibreglass bridge ramp is a perfect overcoming thresholds of heights up to 152mm. Both sets of legs are adjustable, making them great for doorways with different highs on each side. It’s really easy to set up and provides an anti-slip black grip surface.
The fibreglass wedge threshold ramp is designed for a variety of applications and situations. It’s considered a perfect choice for both manual wheelchair users and walkers who have difficulties walking over an entrance way. The wedge design means this ramp can be placed by any threshold with ease.
Doorknobs and Automated Doors
Many types of doorknobs can be cumbersome and hard to use for those who have a hard time gripping. By replacing doorknobs with push/pull bars, press lever handles, or even automatic doors, you will increase your business’s accessibility tremendously.
Automatic doors can be installed indoors and outdoors and they enable the user to open any entrance with the push of a button. The installation is quick and easy and works for almost any door type, with customization in mind. They can be activated from a wide range of devices, such as wheelchair control switches, wall push pads, home control systems and such. Most importantly, automatic doors do not override manual operations, meaning the door can still be used manually if desired.
Most businesses nowadays come with handicapped bathrooms in mind. For instance, in order to use the sinks and countertops, the user needs to have adequate legroom underneath. When designing the bathrooms, make the furniture doesn’t provide extra obstacles for the user. This applies also to lounge and food areas where counters are placed.
The toilet is another area of the bathroom that can be treacherous for those with disabilities. Handrails provide extra stability for when the user sits down and stands up from the toilet. Consider installing a safety frame around your toilet to increase the user’s comfort.
Grab bars with wall reinforcement should also be installed in these key locations like around a handicap toilet or shower for adequate handicap bathroom design. Safety bars should be tested in a handicap accessible bathroom beforehand to ensure they are installed properly and at adequate height to support the user’s weight.
Also, make sure the wastebaskets and other moveable objects do not obstruct the doors and key bathroom features. In accessible wheelchair stalls, keep the area around the toilet and under the sink clear.
Clutter is clutter and the fewer obstacles anyone has in front of them, the better they move through the space. This goes double for wheelchair use. By simply adding more room to cruise around, instantly makes wheelchair users feel comfortable and included. Overcrowding a space, especially in 2020, with too many dining tables or display cases gives the impression that the space was only designed for certain types of customers in mind and not everyone else. Make sure that the main walkways and passages remain unobstructed so that customers and employees move freely with very little crowding.
Provide Assistance if Needed
Before offering any type of physical assistance, always ask first! Never assume that the person with a disability needs assistance, they might take it as an offence. Make sure your employees are mindful of this fact.
If a customer or employee with a disability requests that you modify a certain policy or provide additional assistance, consider the request meaningfully. Most businesses have legal requirement to do it, but instead of dragging the case to court, simply be decent and invest in some of these upgrades. Accessibility upgrades will do a lot for you and ensure good customer feedback.