Ramps are designed to allow people to easily access an area of an infrastructure that has a different elevation like a platform or a floor. This feature is important for individuals who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs and electric scooters. It can also be leveraged for heavy movement such as trollying equipment and deliveries.
If you are a business owner, having an access ramp for your establishment is vital and required by Australian law. Below are some of the benefits of having an access ramp for your place of business.
Meeting Legal Access Ramps Requirements
Probably one of the first things you need to know about running a business is the set of laws that you’re required to follow when it comes to carrying out your operations. One of these is the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA).
In Australia, the DDA was established to protect the rights of people with various forms of disabilities. This law makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals due to their conditions. One aspect of the DDA tackles the issue of preventing people from properly accessing public spaces due to their disabilities.
According to this law, public places are defined to include parks, sporting venues, government offices, and business establishments. If you’re running your business from a standalone structure that has stairs, then you’re required to ensure that your main entrance and other facilities can be easily accessed by people with mobility issues.
In other words, you need to have an access ramp that allows individuals to easily enter your establishment. Having one makes your establishment disability-friendly. You’ll be doing your part in helping people with disabilities access areas that they need to visit.
Catering To A Wider Customer Base
Aside from following legal requirements, another benefit of having access ramps for businesses is being able to reach a wider customer base. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare(AIHW), about 18% of the country’s population has some form of disability. This is equivalent to approximately 4 million individuals.
One out of three of those with disabilities, or about 32% of this group, have a severe or profound disability. Many of them require the use of mobility aids. Aside from these individuals, Australia also has a growing population of senior citizens. According to the AIHW, there were about 3.8 million people aged 65 and older in 2017 in Australia. This number is expected to increase within the next few decades.
Many senior citizens require scooters, wheelchairs, and canes to get around. By having an access ramp, your business will be able to cater to a larger market that includes people with disabilities and senior citizens.
Aside from individuals with disabilities, an access ramp is also very helpful for other people, such as pregnant women or families that have baby strollers with them. Also, the ramps can be utilized by customers and delivery personnel who are pushing carts.
In addition, you’ll also attract potential customers who base their purchasing decisions on how a business or a company treats other people. For instance, a survey carried out by the National Business and Disability Council in the US in 2017 revealed that almost 80% of consumers tend to purchase the products and services of companies that take the necessary steps to provide easy access for persons with mobility issues at their physical stores.
Aside from making your establishment more physically accessible, you’ll also support the idea of inclusivity by installing a ramp to your establishment.
Providing A Safer Environment For Customers
Another important benefit of having access ramps is providing your customers and employees with a safe environment. For individuals who rely on wheelchairs and canes, navigating a set of stairs and steps can be very challenging and time-consuming. More importantly, stairs can pose a threat for people who have mobility issues.
A report released by the AIHW analysed cases of injuries that led to hospitalizations among people over the age of 65. According to the report, falling, slipping, and tumbling were the primary causes of injuries among senior citizens. Over 7,000 cases of injuries were linked to falls from steps and stairs. Many of these cases caused head injuries or other conditions that required hospitalization or medical treatment.
Access ramps that are equipped with textured surfaces and handrails can significantly reduce and prevent injuries caused by accidental falls. They can provide people in wheelchairs and electric scooters with an easier way to enter your establishment and avail your services.
Aside from individuals with disabilities and mobility problems, access ramps can also benefit other people, especially during the rainy and winter seasons. The presence of snow, ice, and water puddles on steps can make them very dangerous and slippery. Although these can also happen on the surface of certain ramps, their handrails offer an added security measure that can prevent slipping and falling down.