Does My Office Need a Disabled Access Lift?
One of the most impressive aspects in regards to modern society is that individuals with limited mobility issues are able to experience more opportunities than ever before. Thanks to technological advancements, a wealth of career options that would have been dreams in the past are now realities. However, we should also keep in mind that there are still challenges that need to be faced every day. Many of these issues can be addressed through the use of level lifts. Let us take a brief look at how these clever devices function before determining whether or not your office requires one.
A Basic Overview
A level lift can often be thought of as a personal “elevator“. Thanks to electrical or hydraulic power, such a unit is capable of transporting an individual from one area within the workplace to another. These lifts are most frequently used to move vertically between different floors although they can also be attached to the side of a stairwell. The user has manual control over the lift, so he or she will be able to modify options such as the speed of ascent or descent. These devices are extremely safe and quiet, so they will not cause a disruption during daily activities.
The Laws Behind Disability Rights
Before examining the various situations which can be addressed by a level lift, it is critical to point out that offices in the United Kingdom are legally required to employ such systems when workers with mobility issues are present. According to the Health and Safety Executive, employers must make “reasonable adjustments” to avoid placing any handicapped individual at a physical disadvantage (1). Special parking spaces, handicapped entrance ramps and the level lift will all fall into this category. Failure to do so could even cause legal action to be taken against your firm.
The Physical Environment
Still, we should keep in mind that not all offices will require a level lift. If it is only a one-story structure, movement between floors is obviously not necessary. Assuming that no employees suffer from mobility issues, the use of such a lift could likewise be redundant. However, this could all change if the office is a duplex or exists on multiple floors. Assuming that there is no elevator present, a lift might be needed. This is also pertinent if the environment is associated with an ageing workforce, as travelling up and down a flight of stairs can present a very real challenge.
Not all offices are private in terms of their operations. Perhaps you own a business that is regularly visited by clients. One example could be a car dealership split into two levels with offices located on the upper floor. In this situation (and many others), you could be required to install a level lift. We should make it a point to note here that the installation can often depend upon whether or not the addition of this lift is “readily achievable”. In other words, its implementation must be able to be accomplished without causing your firm to incur a massive financial burden. This will often be determined on a case-by-case basis. It is therefore a good idea to contact a specialist to see what steps will be necessary.
There can be times when even a short flight of stairs may cause potential safety hazards to those with limited mobility. For example, the stairs could lack a handrail or they might be found in an area with a great deal of foot traffic. In either case, a level lift can help to prevent accidental slips and falls. Of course, this will also revolve around the nature of any handicapped conditions that may be present. Those who require the use of a walking stick may be able to negotiate these stairs while anyone confined to a wheelchair will obviously need to make use of some form of mechanical assistance.
There are a number of different level lifts available and each will depend upon the requirements and layout of your office. To determine if such a device is needed and to appreciate your options, it is best to speak with a qualified expert.