Whether you think it or not, providing your customers with a maximum level of comfort and convenience is simply paramount for your business to continue thriving in the modern corporate landscape. Even though abled-bodied persons make up most of the consumer base, providing accessibility is key to ensuring that your business establishment provides easy unimpeded access to those who need it. Handicapped parking is an excellent first step, but there’s so much more that can be done. With that being said, what else is needed?
First and foremost, you need to provide access to your place of business for those who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and for this, you need ramps. Elevators provide help and so do staircase ramps at larger hight off the ground, but we all keep forgetting that the thresholds and entrances of most doorways represent a small yet noticeable inconvenience for wheelchair users and do require an adjustable wheelchair ramp. With that in mind, let’s discuss ramps.
The aluminum wheelchair ramp is considered the adjustable ramp of choice for manual wheelchairs. Aluminium being both a light and strong material, it’s perfect for portable wheelchair ramps. Whether one is needed for climbing up the stairs with no previous wheelchair access, or entering or exiting a vehicle, a good compact aluminum wheelchair ramp is crucial for every business.
When it comes to threshold doorway uses, the design requires that the height on both sides of the threshold to be the same in order to ensure that the aluminium folding wheelchair ramp can rest securely on the ground. This type of ramp is available in heights up to 100mm. Providing an anti-traction surface, it’s incredibly user-friendly. Simply place it over the threshold at the beginning of the day and then fold and remove it when it’s no longer in use.
The plane form of these ramps is good, but there are models that also provide a grip surface support system, which protects the threshold from damage. It can hold a capacity of up to 350kg and is a lot more suitable for the user and anyone pushing the wheelchair over the bridge ramp.
Rubber Threshold Ramp
This type of ramp is meant for both manual and electric wheelchairs and can be set up on either side of a doorway’s threshold, with 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 elevation to help the user pass the door threshold with ease, not to mention protect the threshold from the weight and the potential damage of the chair. As the ramps are rubber, you can cut them width-ways for optimal size and placement.
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 ramp is perfect for overcoming thresholds of heights up to 152mm. Both sets of its legs are adjustable, making them great for doorways with different heights on each side. It’s really easy to set up and provides an anti-slip black grip surface.
The fibreglass wedge threshold ramp is made 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 entranceway. The wedge design means this ramp can be placed by any threshold with ease.
Doorknobs and Automated Doors
Many models of doorknobs can be cumbersome and hard to use for those with a hard time gripping. By replacing doorknobs with push/pull bars, press lever handles, or even automatic doors, you will improve your business’s accessibility tremendously.
Automatic doors can be installed indoors and outdoors and they can enable the user to open any entrance with the simple push of a button. The installation is fairly quick and easy and works for most door type. They can be activated from a wide range of devices, such as smartphones, wheelchair control switches, wall push pads, home control systems and such. Most importantly though is the fact that automatic doors do not override manual operations, meaning the door can still be used manually if desired.
Most businesses nowadays know that handicapped bathrooms are necessary. In order to use the sinks and countertops, the user needs to have adequate legroom underneath them. When designing the bathrooms, make sure the furniture doesn’t provide extra obstacles for the user. This applies to the lounge and food areas as well.
The toilet is another area of the WC that can be dangerous for those with disabilities. Handrails are crucial disability aids that provide independence and extra stability when the user uses the toilet. Consider installing a safety frame around the toilet seat to provide extra user comfort.
Grab bars with wall reinforcements should also be installed in such key locations like around a handicap toilet or shower for an accessible handicap bathroom design. Safety bars should, of course, be tested in a handicap accessible bathroom beforehand to ensure that they are installed properly and at an appropriate height to support the user’s weight.
Also, make sure the wastebaskets and other moveable items do not block the doors and key bathroom features. Inside accessible wheelchair stalls, keep the area around the toilet and under the sink free and clear.
Clear Any Obstacles
The fewer obstructions anyone has in front of them, the better they can navigate through the space. This goes double for wheelchair users. By simply adding more room to move around instantly makes wheelchair users feel way more comfortable and included. Overcrowding a space, especially in 2021, with a bunch of 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 pathways and halls remain unobstructed so that customers and employees move freely with very little crowding.
Provide Assistance If Needed
Key thing to remember before offering any type of physical assistance to anyone is always ask first! Never assume that the person with a disability needs help, they might take it as an offence. Make sure your employees are mindful of this.
If a customer or employee with a disability requests that you modify a certain policy or provide additional assistance, do consider the request. Most businesses have legal requirement to do so, but instead of needlessly dragging the case through the court system, simply be decent and invest in some of these upgrades. Accessibility upgrades will do a lot for you and ensure good customer feedback.