How to Make Your Washroom as Inclusive as Possible
Accessibility is a serious consideration that is covered by much legal guidance, and many businesses are working towards ensuring that their spaces are as inclusive and accessible as possible. Whether you are a business owner, landlord, architect or facilities manager, there are a number of steps that you can take to help make your business as inclusive, accessible, and up to industry standards and regulations - no matter the size or space you have available.
Why Is It So Important to Make Your Washroom Inclusive?
Legislation and legal regulations mean that it is crucial that you take steps to ensure that your washroom is inclusive and accessible - both the Equality Act and Building Regulations state that it is a legal requirement to provide accessible toilets.
How to Increase Inclusivity in Your Washroom
So, just how do you go about ensuring that your washroom is as inclusive as possible? A few tips include:
1. Install Accessible Features
Increasing the access to washrooms for disabled persons is a legal obligation covered by the Equality Act 2010 as well as Building Regulations, these set out a number of requirements that businesses are required to meet – it is illegal to discriminate against any individuals with a disability with regards to toilet access. This means including a range of accessible features, including:
Changing Places Toilets
In a recent update to Approved Doc M the guidance now states which types of buildings must now offer Changing Places toilets – these are facilities designed with more space to move around, allowing disabled people to use the space with the aid of a carer or family member for support and assistance. Changing Places toilet facilities must also include equipment such as hoists and an adult-sized changing bench to allow the space to be supportive and usable.
Lights, Ventilation and Temperature Control
Lights, ventilation and temperature control are also elements that need to be considered when installing accessible features. Consider motion-sensitive lights to make it easier for those with limited mobility, and install high-quality air circulators to ensure good air quality.
Waste Disposal Systems
Another key consideration is to ensure that there are suitable waste disposal systems in place to maintain hygiene and sanitation, and ensuring that these are accessible for disabled users. Examples include ensuring that any bins or waste units are easy to reach and use, even for those with limited mobility or movement, and making sure that these are signposted appropriately.
Grab Rails and Supports
Installing grab rails help disabled users access and navigate the space safely, and can offer support for more independence. These should be placed at a suitable height, and in areas where balance may be impaired and where additional support is needed. Again detailed guidance on the position and installation of grab rails is available in the Approved Document M.
An emergency alarm is an important element of any accessible bathroom, as not only does this allow assistance to be sent as soon as there is an issue, but it can also offer additional peace of mind and reassurance to users, as they know that there is assistance in place if required. There are two options here: the first is an alarm that can be triggered by the user, and the second is an alarm that will sound if the user has been trapped, or has been in the bathroom for an extended period – this allows carers and medics to become aware of a problem, and offer the necessary support.
Slip Resistant Flooring
The final adjustment to help make your bathroom more accessible is to invest in slip-resistant flooring, and this can be achieved through careful selection of slip-resistant tiles or coatings, or by using a textured finish to reduce the risk of slips and trips. Floors must also be cleaned and maintained regularly to keep them in good condition.
2. Install Anti Ligature Products
In washrooms used by vulnerable people there is the option to install anti-ligature products. Unfortunately, bathrooms can be a high risk space for vulnerable users looking to harm themselves due to the unsupervised, private setting, and so it is important to consider anti-ligature products that are designed to reduce the potential of attaching a ligature, such as shoelaces or cords for the purpose of inflicting self-harm.
3. Make Sure Your Washroom Is Dementia Friendly
Dementia is a condition that affects a growing number of people across the world, and is a condition that can make simple, everyday tasks such as using the bathroom and washing hands very difficult, and often distressing, for affected individuals.
It is important, therefore, that users with dementia are factored into your washroom design, and this can be achieved through adding clear signage, both on the outside and inside of the room to help the user orient themselves in an unfamiliar environment. It is also important to make features clear and distinctive - use strong blue colours for dispensers and wall plates, as this helps to distinguish the appliance from the surrounding wall, and provide fixtures with large buttons for ease of use, once again, making sure that these are a contrasting colour compared to the rest of the room.
By implementing small changes, you can make sure that your washroom space is dementia friendly, and this can have a hugely positive impact on the experience of those who use it.
4. Ensure That You Provide Adequate Sanitary Bins
Another key consideration is to make sure that you have space for a sanitary bin in each individual stall, and that this is cleaned and emptied on a regular basis to ensure the comfort and hygiene of all users.
5. Consider Floor-To-Ceiling Cubicles
Another option to ensure that your bathroom is accessible and inclusive is to invest in fully enclosed, floor-to-ceiling lockable cubicles, each with its own wash basin and hand drying facilities. This will offer complete privacy and protection for users, and will make sure that all individuals are safe, secure and comfortable when using the facilities.
Dudley Industries Can Help You Create an Inclusive Washroom
Making sure that your washroom is as inclusive and welcoming as possible is an important part of creating a space that everyone can enjoy, whilst adhering to all legal requirements and regulations. By considering the needs of all users, you can ensure that your washroom is accessible, safe, and comfortable for all, and this can have a positive impact on the user experience.
Here at Dudley Industries, we offer a wide range of solutions to help you make sure that your washroom is as inclusive as possible, with a variety of products and fittings available - get in touch and see how we can help or browse the full range of washroom accessories today.