Businesses in the UK are responsible for ensuring the safety of their staff within the premises. All business owners should have an evacuation plan in place in the event of an emergency and this would cover all staff, including any disabled members of staff.
46% of disabled people within working age are in employment and many of them still face discrimination; still a common problem in the workplace. Male disabled workers are thought to be paid 19% less than non-disabled male employees and many businesses do not have an adequate evacuation plan or suitable evacuation equipment available. With this in mind, it’s crucial that any respectable employer ensures that facilities are made available for those disabled workers to evacuate the building safely.
This is where the evacuation chair comes in.
Evacuation Chair Mobility
A “Mobility impaired” person doesn’t just mean someone who is physically disabled, it can also mean anyone with back injuries, asthma or any type of heart condition that would restrict their movements. An evacuation chair enables easier mobility and the perfect method for evacuating a disabled employee, potentially down numerous flights of stairs in confined spaces.
Evacuation chairs and related devices are designed to facilitate the safe, rapid evacuation of people with mobility problems.
A wide variety of products are available, varying in size, style and function, but they typically take the form of a lightweight, compact but sturdy wheeled chair with straps to ensure the safety and stability of the passenger, handles and grips to make the chair easily manoeuvrable by a designated operator, and some variety of sliding mechanism which allows the chair to be moved quickly and safely down a flight of stairs.
Whether your place of business consists of retail or commercial premises, a school or college, hotel, hospital or care home, a variety of laws and industry regulations will dictate your responsibilities for the safety of the people on your premises, both in the course of day-to-day operations, and in emergency situations. Legislation – and common sense – dictates a particular duty of care towards those at special risk, including people with disabilities, injuries or other mobility restrictions.
Your responsibilities during an evacuation
There are many reasons why premises may need to be evacuated quickly. Fire evacuations are perhaps the most common occurrence, but the catalysts for evacuation can range from a potentially toxic spill or leak to the threat of a terrorist attack. Regardless of the nature of the event, you have a responsibility to ensure the premises are vacated quickly and safely – and if you have staff, customers or patients who are wheelchair users or have other special mobility needs, this responsibility includes ensuring those at special risk are able to evacuate the premises swiftly and efficiently with the assistance of designated staff and, where appropriate, dedicated equipment.
Choosing an evacuation chair
The best evacuation chairs combine ease of use with passenger comfort, and most chairs fold up for easy storage on the premises. More advanced evacuation products may include features such as hydraulic braking systems for greater control on stairs, while some incorporate a fully powered drive unit that allows controlled movement both down and up stairs (for example if evacuating from basement premises).
For many organisations, an evacuation chair is an essential piece of equipment in helping ensure the safety of staff, customers or patients with special mobility needs in the event of an evacuation. Our evacuation chair training is ideal for anyone wanting to get the most out of their product and ensure staff are comfortable and confident whilst using them.