Our team of accessibility experts have developed a good resource of answers to some common questions asked by our customers. If you have a question on workplace compliance, please email us at info@assurityconsulting.co.uk

    Do I have to evacuate my member of staff with a disability from the refuge point?

    If you have a member of staff with an impairment that may affect their ability to leave the building in the event of emergency, you must have procedures and methods in place to be able to evacuate. The best starting point for this is to create a Personnel Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) with them.

    During a pre-planned practice drill, if there is risk of the members of staff being put at further injury through the evacuation process then there is no requirement to evacuate them. However, you must have a means of being able to evacuate all persons from your refuge points without further assistance from the fire brigade in a true emergency. Techniques could include assistance from buddies, evacuation chairs, powered stair climbers and firefighting lifts.

    Related services: Accessibility, Fire Safety
    What are 'reasonable' adjustments under The Equality Act 2010?

    Reasonable adjustments must be made for workers with disabilities under The Equality Act 2010 to remove any potential barriers or provide auxiliary aids to assist them in their job role. Reasonableness is determined by the following; 

    • Practicability

    • Effectiveness of measure

    • Cost (availability of financial or other aid)

    • Extent of disruption

    • Extent of the company resources and considering other resources available

    These factors will vary dependent on the nature of the business, location and for each disabled person.  Our access auditor experts are able to offer advice on what would be considered reasonable in your situation. 

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    Accessibility - Access Audits

    Related services: Accessibility
    Is my building compliant with the Equality Act 2010?

    Compliant is not the right word to use when referring to disability in the context of the The Equality Act 2010.  The requirement of the act is to not discriminate and not to treat people with disabilities less favourably.

    There is guidance to help do this. However, it is difficult to determine if you comply, as the act is none specific and non-prescriptive. Your level of accessibility will also be constantly changing, as people and the surrounding environment change.  

    The best way to determine your current accessibility is to undertake an access audit or access management review. 

    Related services: Accessibility
    What is the definition of 'disability'?

    Disability is one of a number of ‘protected characteristics’ covered by the Equality Act 2010. Within the Act, disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial (more than minor or trivial) and long-term (typically 12 months or more) negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

    Where a condition may be progressive or deteriorate over time, they can be classed as a disability, such as sufferers with cancer, HIV or multiple sclerosis for example, meet the disability definition from their day of diagnosis.

    Some conditions, such as addiction to non-prescription drugs, are not covered by the definition of disability and other recurring or fluctuating conditions (e.g. arthritis) have special rules in place.

    With qualified National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC) on our team we can help with any questions you may have about the suitability of your access provisions.

    Related services: Accessibility
    What has changed between the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 and the Equality Act 2010?

    Originally, through parts II and III of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 worked to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in areas such as employment and service provision. Since then the DDA Act only applies in Northern Ireland and the Equality Act 2010 now covers the requirements in England, Scotland and Wales.

    You could be considered as discriminating against a disabled person if:

    • You directly treat them less favorably than others

    • Through your policies, procedures and arrangements in place for all, you indirectly put someone with a disability at an unfair disadvantage.

    • Unwanted behaviour creates an offensive environment or violates the dignity of a disabled person

    • You treat a disabled person unfairly because they’ve complained about discrimination or harassment.

    For premises accessibility and inclusivity, you need to consider and make as appropriate, “reasonable adjustments” to ensure the workplace has the right facilities and equipment for any disabled employees or anyone else that may (reasonably) enter the premises or workplace.

    You are not obliged to make any alterations/adjustments, but you should:

    • Be aware of the barriers to access your premises/workplace has and consider what is needed.

    • Consult with any employees with disabilities, as to any adjustments you may need to make on their behalf.

    • Ensure any facilities you have provided (e.g. disabled washrooms and car parking spaces) are fit for purpose.

    • Consider what provisions you need to make for visitors or others who may want/need to access your premises/workplaces

    Our team of qualified National Register of Access Consultants (NRAC) can help with any questions you may have about the suitability of your access provision or provide comprehensive access audits, so you know the options available to you.

    Related services: Accessibility
    Why is it important to have PEEPs (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans)?

    A PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan) is a documented plan for a person who may need assistance or specific arrangements in the event of a building evacuation. A person may require a PEEP if they have any of the following:

    • Mobility impairment
    • Hearing impairment
    • Visual impairment
    • Cognitive impairment
    • Medical conditions or injuries

    A PEEP can be permanent or temporary depending on the circumstances of the individual who requires it. An example of a temporary PEEP would be a plan for an individual with a broken leg or an expectant mother. It is important to note that not all people with an impairment or disability will require assistance in a building evacuation. If a person can leave the building unaided, they are unlikely to require a PEEP.

    A PEEP may involve several different people, for example a colleague who may act as a ‘buddy’ or the building security team. It is vitally important that all persons involved in a PEEP are aware of their responsibilities to ensure that the plan can be carried out efficiently in an emergency.  Having a documented plan in the form of a PEEP will assist with this.

    It is important to have PEEPs in place for anyone in your office/ building to ensure that everyone can safely exit the building in the event of an emergency. As the responsible person, you are responsible for the safe evacuation of all persons on your premises to a place of ultimate safety. It cannot be left to the Fire and Rescue service to assist, so the PEEP must document how to evacuate the individual to a place of ultimate safety, e.g., the assembly point, not just a place of relative safety, e.g., a refuge point within the building.  It is best practice to have a PEEP template available, even if it is not currently required, so it is easily available, if required in the future.

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