The companies today focus majorly on the workplace design and the creation of disabled-friendly office spaces has become the need of the hour. The term differently-abled infuse confidence in the professionals who lag due to certain medical conditions and the disabled-friendly workplaces allow them to showcase their talent. So, this blog post helps you know the tips to build disabled-friendly office spaces.
1. Legal Aspect
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, states that every workplace or office space should be enabled with amenities that can cater to the needs of differently-abled employees. AIC i.e. the Accessible India Campaign popular as the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan, is gaining appreciation nationwide as it boosts the confidence of differently-abled professionals and this can be seen in their increased productivity.
Apart from this, the initiative demands the introduction of universal accessibility for the differently-abled persons in public places along with office spaces.
2. Disabled-friendly Requirements in Office Spaces
As per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, a workplace should mandatorily have dedicated transport facility, structured building designs and communication system. This offers an equal opportunity to the disabled-professionals to prove their worthiness for the company.
A differently-abled person(s) requires easy access facilities such as doorways, ramps at entryways and exits of buildings, wide corridors, easy access to workstations, operating buttons with Braille in lifts and accessible washrooms.
Many companies are approaching interior designers for the creation of disabled-friendly workplaces but the medical practitioners feel that trained employees including the housekeeping staffs are of utmost importance as they can assist the differently-abled employees whenever required.
3. Timely Access Audit
As per the guideline laid by the Government of India, timely access audit is important to ensure the good keeping of office infrastructure. An expert from recognized by the National Building Code (NBC) of India visit the office premises and evaluates the infrastructure based on the accessibility barriers, disabled-friendly design and working of other equipment for the benefit of persons with disability (PwDs). The rating of the workplace for disabled is carried out on the grounds of two sets of guidelines and that are:
Harmonized Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for Persons with Disability and Elderly Persons, 2016.
The National Building Code, 2016, especially Annex-B, Part-3 which examines accessibility in great detail.
4. Technological Support
The technological assistance for the Persons with Disability has increased by manifold. This includes:
Next-generation computer screen readers for the conversion of on-screen content into speech or a Braille output device. This technique has round-tipped pins raised through holes in a flat surface that acts as a refreshable Braille display.
The comfortable working environment can be created for the professionals with upper-body limitations by incorporating an exoskeleton arm that mimics natural human motion and offers assistance in the routine work at the office and even in a laboratory.
The Sip-and-puff tools for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease or quadriplegics allow them to send signals to a device by using air pressure through a tube.
5. Washroom Guidelines
The washroom doors should open in an outward direction with a horizontal handlebar at seat height.
The restroom should have emergency alarms equipped with Braille-typed buttons.
The washroom should be designed in the dimensions of over 2200 mm x 1500 mm as it is perfect for a large enough turning circle for a wheelchair-bound individual.
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