As the perception on disability changes, we are gradually becoming a society that more thoroughly integrates disabled individuals in all the aspects of life. The old vision that disabled people were unable to work or lead a normal life is slowly fading away, and more and more companies are adapting to this, seeking and hiring workers with a variety of disabilities and adapting the workplace to their needs.
Some of the most skilled workers might have any number of disabilities, and while only special computer equipment is required for visually impaired individuals, the requirements for a wheelchair friendly workplace are much more varied.
The steps to make the workplace more accessible for wheelchair users are very obvious once we think about them, but able-bodied people rarely realize how many things we take for granted as we move down a hallway. Here is a short list of aspects we should take into account if we want to make the workplace safer and easier to access for our disabled employees.
Here are a few things employers must before hiring an employee with mobility situation:
Step-free access: This seems extremely obvious but it’s overlooked far too often! Elevators, ramps and first floor access to their cubicle or office are great options.
Spacious corridors: This doesn’t mean the need to reconfigure the entire building, but clear the transit areas to ensure your disabled employee can move freely.
Disabled toilet access: Make sure to have at least one stall in each floor and ensure that able-bodied workers do not use the stall randomly unless it’s an emergency.
Provide disabled parking: If you don’t have parking spots near your entrance, offer a transportation option for disabled workers.
Wheelchair storage space: Some workers feel more comfortable working on an office chair than in their wheelchairs; provide them with room to store their unused wheelchair during office hours.
Guarantee equality: All the accessibility in the world doesn’t mean anything if you or your employees see a disabled worker as a wheelchair with a person in it instead of a person in a wheelchair. Make sure this does not happen.
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