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

Counters, service desks and checkouts

Think about how disabled customers get to and use counters, service desks and checkouts. You may want to consider fitting an induction loop system at counters with glazed screens (for example cashiers’ windows in banks, building societies or post offices) or where there is background noise to help people with hearing aids (see Technical Advice).

Practical suggestions:

  • Creating a lowered section of the counter or service desk with sufficient space to write cheques, sign documents etc, to suit both standing and wheelchair-using customers and short people. Alternatively, a lower writing shelf could be provided. Equipment such as lap trays or clip boards (for people to write cheques or sign papers if they cannot bend down to reach a counter top) can be useful.
  • Making sure that any service call bell is in an accessible and obvious position
  • Keeping glazed screens clear of notices, grilles or other distractions that make it difficult for people to lip-read.
  • Improving lighting so that it is easier for someone who is lip-reading to see the staff member’s face.
  • Positioning service desks so that they are not located in front of windows where bright sunshine will cause the staff member to be in silhouette, making lip-reading difficult.
  • Altering staff practices: in situations where it is not reasonable to make counters and service desks fully accessible, it may be possible to alter practices. For example a member of staff could come out from behind a service desk to meet a wheelchair-using customer who cannot approach the desk and carry out any transactions with them in another part of the premises, maintaining any necessary privacy.
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