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Working on a wheelchair

Autor: Magdalena Gajda, tłumaczenie: Michał Landsberger
Źródło: dodatek Praca 4/2007

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According to Polish law, the urban public space, including company offices and factories, ought to be designed and maintained to be easily accessible to the disabled. The following text contains a list of accommodations necessary to create an accessible environment for people on wheelchairs.

The parameters that must be taken into account when designing an accessible working environment for an employee using a wheelchair are: SPACE for a wheelchair to manoeuvre (forward, back, to the sides, turning), WHEELCHAIR DIMENSIONS (width, height etc.), EYE HEIGHT and REACH of a person on a wheelchair. Note that the following data may differ depending on the wheelchair's type and on the degree of disability.

Vertical reach

Safe and convenient commute:

Driveway - hard and anti-slippery surface, for dimensions see Building Regulations
Gate – minimum width – 2,4 meters, opening inward.
Gateway – width: from 0,9 to 1,1 meters, opening inward. Knobs and locks within reach of a person on a wheelchair. Gate control panels and parking meters ought to be accessible without getting out of a car.
Parking spaces – well-marked and placed near the building entrance. Dimensions: length – min. 5 m, width – min. 3,6 m; if the parking spot is alongside a street, then length - min. 6 m and width - min. 3,6 m or 2,3 m if there is an adjoining pavement. Surface: smooth and anti-slippery. Kerbs no higher than 2 cm.
Pavements and alleys leading to the building entrance should also be smooth, even, anty-slippery and about 1,5 m wide.
Ramps – made of wood, steel or concrete. Minimum width: 1,2 m. If the ramp's length exceeds 9 m, it should be divided into two or more ramps with an intermediate resting level at least 1,5 m long between them. The railings ought to be installed on both sides of the ramp at a height of 0,75 to 0,9 m, oval, square or circle shaped for a good grip. A 5-7 cm high kerb arranged all along the ramp will prevent the wheelchair from sliding off it. The ramp should also be roofed (the roof ought to be slightly longer and wider than the ramp), well-lit and have an anti-slippery surface. Portable ramp (1,5 m wide) can be used if a flight of steps consists of no more than 3 steps.
Entrance – 1 m wide (double door: 2 x 90 cm). Threshold: max. 2 cm, otherwise (a) ramp is required. Glass door, which can easily be damaged by the chair's wheels or other protruding parts, ought to be equipped with 40 cm high protective panels. Door bells, locks etc. situated at a height of 70 - 120 cm, roofed, well-lit, easily accessible. Plus a wide handle above the doorknob.
Horizontal and vertical reach

Accessible internal environment
Vestibule – minimal dimensions: 1,5 x 1,5 m; more if the entry and vestibule doors open inward. Skirting board all along the walls. Handholds allowing the disabled to get off the wheelchair safely. Anti-slippery floor, coat-hangers at a maximum height of 1,4 m.
Corridors – min. width: 1,2 m; wider if doors open outwards. 90° corners must be rounded. Skirting boards to prevent the wheelchair from hitting the wall. Light switches within reach of a wheelchair person. Anti-slippery surface.
Doors – 1 m wide
Windows – 80 – 85 cm above the floor, locks and handles at max. height of 1 m, opened manually or by remote control. Windowsill slightly protruding from the wall.
Terrace – ramp if necessary
Lift  – minimal dimensions: 1,4 x 1,1 m. Control panel within wheelchair user's reach. Handholds 90 cm above the floor. Emergency power system. Anti-slippery floor. There should also be 1,5 m of free space in front of the lift door.
Lift platforms – vertical or inclined. Maximum capacity: 300 kg; max. velocity: 0,2 m/s (vertical) and 0,15 m/s (inclined). Non-slip platform, safety barrier and railing, emergency brake, anti-slippery surface.
Toilet - free turning space with a diameter of 1,5 m. Handholds 75 - 80 cm above the floor. Toilet seat at a height of 0,5 m and equipped with collapsible arm rests on both sides. Flush button height: 1 m. Paddling pool min. dimensions: 1 x 1 m.
Wash-basin: 80 cm (upper edge), 65 cm of free space under the basin. Electrical sockets 40 - 120 cm from the floor and at least 60 cm away from the taps. Anti-slippery floor.

Based on: 'Dostosowanie budynków użyteczności publicznej – teoria i narzędzia' by Integracja

Artykuł powstał w ramach projektu "Integracja - Praca. Wydawnicza kampania informacyjno-promocyjna"
współfinansowanego z Europejskiego Funduszu Społecznego w ramach Sektorowego Programu Operacyjnego Rozwój Zasobów Ludzkich.

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