4 Accessibility Equipment Every Business Should Have
Are you looking to hire talented employees? What about increasing foot traffic at your retail shop or improving your website’s conversion rate?
Accessibility plays a vital role in achieving these goals. It doesn’t matter what you do or what service you provide, whether you have a micro business or you’re the CEO of a corporation.
Accessibility is the practice of making your business a welcoming and useable place for as many people as possible. When you manage your business with accessibility in mind, you’re bound to attract more talented people and customers. It means you’re creating spaces, products, and services that ensure everyone can safely participate.
For physical spaces, it also means your policies ensure people with reduced mobility have freedom of movement. This includes when “business as usual” goes sideways in an emergency.
Here at Evacuscape, we believe everyone has a right to safety. That’s why we’ve created emergency stair chairs (or escape chairs) to provide a reliable, swift, and safe evacuation method for people with mobility challenges.
But our escape chairs aren’t the only accessibility equipment you need for your business. To make your business truly accessible, you’ll need to invest in a variety of tools. We’ve compiled four of them below.
#1 Power Door Operators
When your doors are open for business, your doors must be easy to open for anyone. Unfortunately, a standard swing door is rarely accessible. People with reduced mobility, people who use mobility equipment, and people with disabilities may not be able to push or pull these doors unassisted.
This is a significant problem, as this denies potential customers or clients equal access to your place of business. Not only is this a form of discrimination, but it’s also just bad business.
According to the RBC Financial Group Study, people with disabilities account for roughly $25 billion in consumer spending in Canada. By denying them access to your business, you’re undercutting your bottom line.
Luckily, this problem has an easy fix. Power door operators help anyone who needs assistance entering or exiting your business. With a press of an easy-to-reach button, the operator automatically opens and closes.
In Ontario, where our North American headquarters is located in Toronto, power door operators aren’t optional; it’s the law. As of 2015, Ontario’s Building Code requires power door operators in the following places:
- Public washrooms
In an emergency, these operators can be programmed to stay open, making it easy for everyone to evacuate safely.
A swinging door is a welcome sight, but it won’t mean much if you have steps leading to your place of business. Injured individuals, disabled people, and seniors may not be able to climb these steps, with or without an open door at the top. Likewise, descending these stairs can be challenging.
In most multi-storied buildings, the elevator is a convenient alternative to stairs, but in cases where an elevator cannot be used, ramps are necessary. Ontario’s Building Code requires a ramp at any change of level to create a safe path of travel.
Here in Canada, some businesses are partnering with the StopGap foundation to retrofit structures that aren’t accessible. This charitable organization designs and builds portable wooden ramps for storefronts that have a single step. These convenient ramps bridge the gap for people with reduced mobility and offer a cost-efficient solution for store owners.
A ramp, while more accessible than stairs, still poses a danger for those with reduced mobility. Its slope may prove to be challenging to navigate compared to solid, flat ground.
Ramps become easier to climb when supported by handrails. Handrails should also be installed in every stairwell on your property for anyone to use while descending and climbing stairs.
#4 Evacuation Chairs
The stairs may be a heart-friendly way for your customers and employees to move between floors. But for many people with reduced mobility, they are an unnecessary risk for injury. That’s why multi-storied buildings have elevators. Anyone — and not just people with reduced mobility — may pop on for a speedy and convenient ride up and down.
Unfortunately, these elevators are not available in emergencies, like fires or earthquakes. They shut down to avoid potential malfunctions and other dangerous situations should the crisis affect their operation.
This puts people with reduced mobility in a tricky situation. They need to descend the stairs rapidly to save their lives, but their physical disabilities may stop them from doing so safely.
That’s why our low cost evacuation chair is an essential addition to any multi-storied building. They give people with reduced mobility a safe way to descend stairs rapidly, including but not just the following groups:
- Injured individuals
- People with mobility tools
- Pregnant people
- The physically disabled
Anyone who needs help descending the stairs may strap in. The escape & evacuation chair at Evacuscape is lightweight and ergonomic, making it easy for one person to operate once the person in need is secure. They carry up to 180kg (400lbs) without hassle, and they offer effortless control at all times.
Currently, Canadian legislation requires all properties to provide safe means of egress in an emergency. Evacuscape’s escape chairs are a secure evacuation solution that complies with this part of the Canada Labour Code.
Ask the Experts to Make Your Business More Accessible
When in doubt, refer to your local government’s laws and labour board to understand your responsibility as an employer and business owner. They will direct you towards the bare minimum tools and equipment you will need for your place of business.
But don’t stop there. If possible, devote some time to explore some of the less obvious ways you can make your business more accessible. Take, for example, restaurants offering their menus in braille or large print. While not necessary by law, this simple solution to visual barriers gives blind customers agency and makes them feel more welcome.
As for getting an escape chair, you’re already in the right place. To learn more about ordering one of our evacuation chair models for your business, please get in touch soon. One of our helpful representatives is ready to help you comply with safety laws and improve the accessibility standards of your business today.