Ensuring accessibility in the workplace
With one in five Australians living with disability, having accessible premises and providing accessible services makes good business sense. It means your staff can work in an environment free of barriers. It also means your business is ‘open’ to a broader range of customers.
What is accessibility?
The design of a building, its lighting, signage or parking may present a barrier for a person (customer or employee) with disability. Accessibility is all about removing barriers so that everyone has equal access. It is unlawful in Australia to discriminate against a person with disability in terms of access and use of commercial premises.
There may be some things that you can do immediately—and at very little cost—to make your organisation more accessible. Rearranging furniture to allow for people in wheelchairs or installing a ramp to access your premises are just two examples.
Developing a disability action plan is a good way for your organisation to ensure that your premises, goods, services and facilities are accessible and non-discriminatory to people with disability.
If a modification is required to help ensure an employee with disability can do his or her job, your costs may be covered by the Employment Assistance Fund.
Understanding your current accessibility
You can engage an access auditor to study the accessibility of your premises and facilities.
Access auditors will identify any work required to provide appropriate access. Many auditors will also provide indicative costings and advice about compliance with the law. To find an access auditor near you, visit the Association of Consultants in Access Australia website.
Remember to review the accessibility of your organisation’s services and premises on a regular basis.