Championing inclusivity and accessibility with disabled guidance signs
- 31st December 2021
- 4:10 reading time (ish)
- 793 words
With over 14 million disabled people in the UK, ensuring that your premises are accessible to all is a vital part of daily operations. From parking spaces and entrances to toilets and support facilities, making sure that you are as inclusive as possible is your responsibility as a business owner or service provider.
What responsibilities do business owners have?
From businesses and shops to local authorities and schools, pretty much every organisation has a duty to take positive steps to remove the barriers that disabled people face. This is to ensure that anyone with a disability receives the same services, as far as possible, as someone who is not disabled.
What are the regulations?
The DDA (Disability Discrimination Act)
The Disability Discrimination Act is legislation that promotes civil rights and protects disabled people from discrimination. It has since been repealed and replaced by the Equality Act 2010 in England, Wales and Scotland. Formerly, the civil rights law made it unlawful to discriminate against peoples’ disabilities in relation to employment, the provision of goods and services, education, and transport. The Act stated that service providers were required to make reasonable adjustments when providing access to goods, facilities, services and premises.
The Equality Act
The Equality Act came into force in 2010 as a framework that brought together over 116 separate pieces of legislation (including the DDA) into one single Act. It provided clearer laws to better tackle disadvantage and discrimination. Today, it provides Britain with a discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
What can I do to be more inclusive?
The Disability Rights Commission is an independent body, set up to stop discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. It’s Code of Practice sets out a brilliant guide for service providers and employers, encouraging them to carry out an access audit and produce an access plan. Once risks and challenges have been identified, you can either alter the feature, remove it, find ways of people avoiding it, or deliver your service in another more accessible way.
This covers several areas within a premises, including routes in and around a building, car parking, directions to facilities, emergency exits, and help and information services.
In all cases, service providers must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure inclusivity, for example providing ramps and lifts, widening doorways and providing disabled access to toilets.
How can signage support this?
As BS 8300:2001 states, signs should form part of an integrated communication scheme that gives clear directions, information and instructions for use of a building. Put simply, signage plays a major role in conveying messages to help people identify a service or navigate their way around premises.
As set out in The Equality Act, businesses must display disabled guidance safety signs as a ‘reasonable adjustment’, and these must cover every form of disability.
We recommend that signage is placed at key points around the premises, including:
These signs clearly identify important services and facilities, such as disabled toilets, lifts and reception points. They can point to accessible routes within the building, highlighting entrances and exits, ramps, floor levels, and directional information. It is also important to signpost to useful services, such as facilities for the hard of hearing and visually impaired.
Health and safety laws make it a service provider’s duty to clearly signpost escape routes, fire exits, emergency evacuation lifts and assembly areas.
Car parking signs:
Employers have a responsibility to provide one parking space for each disabled employee, plus an additional 2 per cent of all other available spaces. These bays should be clearly marked with disabled parking bay signage. Directional signs to key services, and entrances and exits are also vital in a car park.
All disabled guidance signs should be clearly legible and positioned in a visible location, so that they can be seen at specific heights. These include:
- Between 1,400 mm and 1,700 mm above floor level for visually impaired people when standing
- Between 1,000 mm and 1,100 mm above floor level for wheelchair users
- Between 900 mm and 1,200 mm above floor level at areas with control panels (such as lifts and entrances), to meet the needs of wheelchair users
Get expert advice
Installing the right disabled guidance signage isn’t about avoiding a fine – is vital to creating an inclusive and accessible environment that everyone can access and enjoy.
Here at JPS Online, we have over 20-years’ experience in creating high-quality signs that comply with The Equality Act and Disability Discrimination Act. Our product range includes engraved, printed and vinyl labels and signs, which can be made to order based on your exact specifications.
To find out how we can help you make your premises accessible to all through high quality signage, get in touch today on 01285 650441.