Disability and Access Audits
The Disability Discrimination Act came into force in 1996 and made it illegal to discriminate against a disabled person for reasons related to his or her disability.
This covered the fields of employment, service provision, transport and education. The DDA required employers, service providers and education providers to make reasonable adjustments to avoid discrimination.
The Equality Act 2010 brought together all anti-discrimination legislation into one Act and covers disability, race, gender, religious, sex and age discrimination and supersedes the DDA but the requirements remain much the same. The Act legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
An Access Audit (also known as a Disability Access Audit or Disabled Access Audit) is an assessment of a building, an environment or a service against best practice standards to benchmark it’s accessibility to disabled people.
Access Audits are a useful means of assessing the current state of accessibility and usability of buildings by disabled people. Buildings that have been designed or adapted to meet the access needs of people with different disabilities are likely to be more flexible and make it easier for employers and service providers to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010.
The Equality Act has different requirements depending on whether you are an employer, service provider or an educational establishment. An Access Audit helps you to understand your obligations under the Equality Act and forms the basis of a plan of action to enable you to improve the accessibility of your building, environment or service over time.
By having an Access Audit and then implementing its recommendations you will be able to demonstrate that you have adopted a reasonable approach which will help you to defend a complaint or action brought against you by a disabled person but, more importantly you will be improving access for disabled people and, in all likelihood many other users.
The Equality Act Code of Practice states that the completion of an Access Audit by a ‘suitably qualified person’ will ‘help service providers to meet their obligations under the Act’.
The scope of the audit will depend on how the Equality Act applies to you and which our consultants will discuss and agree with you. However our Audit will generally cover all elements of your building and environment following the ‘journey’ of a disabled user. Typically an audit would cover:
- Approach and car parking
- Horizontal circulation – corridors
- Lifts and stairs
- Internal doors
- Signage and wayfinding
- Means of escape for disabled people
Contact us to find out how OM Safety Solutions Ltd can assist you with your Disability Access Audit (or Accessibility Audit) and in determining an action plan for any reasonable adjustments that may be required.