If you’ve been in business, and in the same business premises, for a while, it could be time to do some checks to see if your building is up to today’s standards. Employees have many rights, as do any members of the public who come into your building. Ensuring you are aware of those rights and the recent changes in regulations can be hard to keep up with. While there are seminars and training courses you could attend, finding the time to attend them is very difficult for a business owner. You could start by identifying some possible problem areas within your business. We give you the top four things you need to be aware of right away:
- Accessibility – Your building needs to be accessible for all to keep in line with any Equality legislation your business falls under. You need to ensure the journey from the street to any part of your building is possible no matter what level of disability a person may have. Ramps to help those using a wheelchair, and rails for those who are not too steady on their feet, go a long way to ensuring you are compliant with the law. There are barriers to overcome in most buildings. Simple things like popping to the loo could be impossible for someone using a wheelchair or walking aids if the stalls are not big enough. Fire doors can become a dead end for someone who is unable to open them unaided. Have a look at locksandfittings.co.uk for some ideas to overcome this problem.
- Usability – Once you have provided appropriate access to your building, you need to consider its functionality. Can the kitchenette be used by all, or are the worktops and taps too high? Even the water cooler may be tricky to use for some, so can you provide an alternative? IT systems are complex, but they are essential for running a business. Would you know how to change the settings on a computer to aid a partially sighted employee? You may also want to have some ergonomic keyboards and an ergonomic mouse available for those who have difficulty using their hands.
- Parking – Some businesses are on busy roads and parking anywhere near them can be impossible. However, you do need to prioritize easy access parking for those who have to utilize a car for mobility problems. By installing a disabled parking bay close to the entry, you can make life a lot easier for those unable to use public transport easily. This may be because of their mobility aids or other difficulties. If you are on a public road, speak to your local government office about placing priority parking there.
- Management – Managers responsible for staff should be fully trained to manage any adaptations that are required. They should be responsible for implementing anything that is needed, and for ensuring all their staff have everything they need to be effective in the workplace. Ensure your managers attend regular refresher training so they can keep current with changes in legislation.