Making sure your business is handicap accessible is good practice, and it is also the law. There are laws in place to make sure individuals with disabilities can access the same goods and services as their non-disabled counterparts. If you want to make sure your business is all-inclusive and is in compliance with laws and regulations, you must follow the seven below tips.
Put Braille and Large-Print Signs on All Doors
To make sure blind and visually impaired patrons can navigate your building successfully, it is essential that all doors have Braille and large print signs. When Braille and Large-Print signs are present, those who are blind and visually impaired can easily find bathrooms and other key areas they need to access. Without Braille and Large-Print signs, the blind and visually impaired will have significant difficulty orienting themselves. Blind and visually impaired patrons will find themselves in the position of having to wait until someone is available to assist, and that may not always be possible due to time constraints or someone not being available when the help is needed.
Have Large Single Bathrooms Instead of Bathrooms Containing Stalls
Having large single bathrooms is better for individuals who have mobility impairments as well as for those who need assistance in the bathroom. While handicap bathroom stalls are sufficient to fulfill regulations, they are not an inclusive solution for those needing assistance in the bathroom. Say, for example, you have an adult in diapers who needs to be changed by a caregiver, and this adult needs to lie on a changing pad to get the job done. This is merely impossible in a regular handicap stall.
For one thing, traditional handicap bathroom stalls do not provide the needed room to perform diaper changes. Additionally, the walls on bathroom stalls do not usually go all the way to the floor, so others in the bathroom will be able to see the diaper change take place. When people can stare under the walls of bathroom stalls, this causes the person needing the diaper change to lose dignity. People deserve privacy when they need diaper changes. In addition, some people require assistance with toileting. Many regular handicap stalls do not allow for enough room for a disabled person, the person’s caregiver, and a mobility device.
Make Sure There is Wide Enough Space for Wheelchairs and Other Mobility Devices
A common complaint from people in wheelchairs is that hallways and aisles are narrow, making it hard to travel through in a wheelchair. To ensure that individuals in wheelchairs do not have difficulty traveling around your establishment, make sure all hallways and aisles are wide enough to allow large wheelchairs to move about smoothly.
Ramps and/or Elevators Must Be Available
If your business has steps, you also need to have elevators and ramps available so wheelchairs can access all areas of the building. Ramps need to be available to get inside of the building if patrons must climb stairs to enter the building. Ramps and/or elevators must be available to allow people to travel from level to level to allow full access.
Install Automatic Doors
Automatic doors benefit a variety of people with various disabilities and health conditions. Wheelchair travelers have a tough time opening doors as it is challenging to push a wheelchair and open doors at the same time. Individuals contending with severe fatigue or pain can find it merely impossible to open heavy doors. The same is true for those who have a limited range of motion. Automatic doors fitted with door closers, such as Norton door closers, will make it so all individuals can open and close doors without struggle.
Make it Clear Service Animals Are Allowed
Many disabled people rely on service animals to aid them in activities of daily living. Blind and low-vision individuals rely on service dogs to assist in travel. Those who suffer from PTSD or some other psychiatric illness depend on service dogs to mitigate symptoms as such illnesses can cause crippling issues that can hinder these people’s ability to function. Then there are those who have diabetic or seizure alert dogs that alert handlers to changes in their bodies so they will not wind up in dangerous circumstances. Not allowing service dogs can put many in dangerous situations because service dogs perform life-saving tasks. Because service dog refusals are sadly commonplace, a great deal of the disabled population are on edge and ready to defend themselves. Having clear signage stating service animals are allowed puts the disabled at ease and allows them to feel welcomed.
Make Your Business Sensory Friendly
Autistic people struggle with sensory issues, and there are things in the environment that can exacerbate them and cause them to have a tough time. If you make your business sensory-friendly, Autistic people can do business with you without contending with sensory issues that can potentially be bad enough to cause them physical pain. To make your business sensory-friendly, eliminate fluorescent lighting, establish quiet areas, turn off background music upon request, and have sensory-friendly hours.
When you make your establishment handicap accessible, you are playing your part to make the world more inclusive. Disabled people and those with various conditions can have fair and equal access to your products and services. What is more, you are following the laws.