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

Moving about within the premises

Think about how customers with mobilityimpairments in particular would be able to move around within your premises. Making major structural changes such as installing a lift will require careful planning and technical advice. You may also need advice with things like widening doorways and installing internal ramps (see Technical Advice) but there are many other changes that might be possible without major expense or upheaval.

Practical suggestions:

  • Making circulation easier: aisles and corridors, areas near doors and other circulation space are often unnecessarily restricted due to the positioning of furniture and fittings, display of goods, deliveries, rubbish or storage. You may be able to improve internal circulation very easily by making sure that these spaces are kept uncluttered. This will benefit wheelchair users (if the circulation space is big enough to accommodate people using wheelchairs) and users of other mobility aids such as walking sticks or frames, as well as people pushing trolleys and pushchairs. Make sure that goods are not left on the floor, particularly in premises like toy shops and shoe shops, which can obstruct circulation or cause a tripping hazard.
  • Fitting handrails: for example, where there are one or more internal steps or internal ramps. Handrails should extend beyond the rise or fall of a ramp or steps to indicate the end of the rise or fall to visually impaired customers and to provide support for customers who have difficulty balancing.
  • Clearer markings of internal steps and safety hazards: could you mark more clearly, in a contrasting colour, the edges of internal steps and protruding features that customers with visual impairments may bump into?
  • Ensuring that surfaces are as level as possible: could you re-lay poorly fitted mats or repair uneven junctions of floor surfaces?
  • Surfaces – ensure that:
    • cleaning and polishing does not make slip-resistant surfaces slippery
    • junctions between different flooring materials do not become worn, presenting a tripping hazard
    • when flooring is renewed, careful consideration is given to the type of surface chosen
    • the redecoration of interiors does not compromise a carefully selected colour scheme designed to impart information to people with a visual impairment or compromise contrast with features such as door frames, control panels, signs etc.
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