Your floors and the Disability Discrimination Act
How the DDA affects you
The main aim of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) is to end discrimination towards the disabled in all situations, from employment to accessibility.
It states that “reasonable provision shall be made for people to gain access and use the building and its facilities”. This applies to all premises that provide goods or services to the public, regardless of its size or number of employees.
But what does this mean for your workplace?
In existing premises
Duty holders have to make reasonable adjustments to any physical features that may prevent or make it unreasonably difficult for disabled people to use their service. Physical features cover everything from steps and stairways, doors and gates, to furniture and floor coverings.
However, what is a reasonable adjustment? The DDA does not define what is reasonable as this will vary with each case. The approach is one of common sense, with no set rulebook.
PHS can provide advice on the most appropriate matting and flooring type to prevent slips, trips and falls in this instance.
In new buildings
The current building regulations that apply to new public buildings and refurbishments, state the following for entrance lobbies:
- Floor surfaces within the lobby should not impede the movement of wheelchairs and any changes in floor materials should not create a potential trip hazard
- The floor surface should help to remove rainwater from shoes and wheelchairs
- Where mat wells are provided, the surface of the mat must be level with the surface of the adjacent floor finish
Get up to standard
The British Standard Technical Information Guide (BS8300) has also been introduced to accompany current building regulations. It states the following:
- Floor surfaces should be slip resistant to give a firm foothold and good wheel grip under all wet and dry conditions
- Surface laid rugs and mats used other than where specifically designed and manufactured for use in an “entrance flooring system”, should not be used
- The ingress of soil and surface moisture to buildings or their transfer between adjacent internal areas should be reduced to the lowest practicable level e.g. through the use of appropriate entrance flooring systems
It is your responsibility to make your premises as accessible as possible. Failure to do so is not only against the law, but is also incredibly inconsiderate and bad for business.
Ensuring that you adhere to the DDA by providing full accessibility and safety, especially around entrance areas, will keep you, your staff and visitors protected.
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