Disability Discrimination Act – Access To Goods And Services


Making Access to Goods and Services Easier for Disabled Customers: A Practical Guide for Small Businesses and Other Service Providers

Getting out of the premises

As a general rule of thumb, the easier it is for disabled customers to get into and move around the premises, the easier it is for them to get out. However, when leaving shops all customers are likely to be carrying more goods – sometimes heavy or bulky. For example, doors that are easy to open are important for everyone.

You also need to consider means of escape in case of an emergency evacuation. Unlike the needs of staff, the needs of individual customers are not always known. Often customers’ only knowledge of the premises is the route by which they entered. You will therefore need to have arrangements in place to enable customers to escape from the building, or at least to a place of relative safety or refuge where assistance can be provided if necessary. Management procedures and staff training and awareness are the key to the operation of emergency evacuation arrangements.

Practical suggestions:

  • Keeping exit routes free of obstruction such as stored boxes, old furniture, rubbish or other clutter.
  • Checking systems: ensure that alarm systems are in working order and that procedures for emergency evacuation (such as fire drills) are in place and tested regularly.
  • Staff training: ensure that new staff are trained in alarm response procedures. Could staff be briefed to pay particular attention to assisting customers with visual or mobility impairments off the premises and to alerting customers who are not reacting to audible alarms?
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