Text Version of the Accessible Office Virtual Tour

Table of Contents

This virtual tour provides many cost-effective examples of how an accessible workplace can be created in a respectful and inclusive manner.

Building exterior/lobby

One simple key to creating an accessible workplace is ensuring a barrier-free entrance. Click the panel tabs on the right to see the various elements that increase accessibility to the building’s exterior and lobby.

Hot-spots:

  • Ramp – For a building to be made accessible, it must provide access to people with limited mobility, including those who use wheelchairs or motorized scooters. Check the building codes in your province to find the appropriate standards for accessible ramps for your building.
  • Door Openers – These door openers allow a person in a wheelchair or scooter to push a button to open the door, allowing easy access into the building. They are also useful for people with a range of mobility disabilities and to people who have their hands full or are pushing carts or baby strollers.
  • Elevators – Elevators feature both visible and verbal door opening/closing and floor indicators. They have enough room to accommodate a motorized wheelchair or scooter. Call buttons are located at a position on the wall where they can be reached by most people, whether they are standing or sitting. The emergency intercom is usable without voice communication. For instance, a blinking light flashes when the call is answered.
  • Shuttle Van – Many large organizations have multiple buildings at various locations. Some of these organizations offer a shuttle van to employees to travel between locations. It is recommended that these vans feature a lift to accommodate a person in a motorized wheelchair or scooter.

Hallways

Ease of mobility in the workplace is important for all employees including those with disabilities. Click the panel tabs on the right to see the various elements that increase accessibility in the buildings hallways.

Hot-spots:

  • Width of Primary Aisles – The primary circulation paths are all wide enough to accommodate two people who use wheelchairs to pass each other safely.
  • Width of Secondary Pathways – All of the secondary circulation pathways allow a wheelchair to move through the space easily.
  • Lighting – Along routes of travel, adequate illumination provides a consistent level and pattern that is particularly useful for people with a vision disability. Circulation routes are illuminated to at least 100 lx (the intensity of lights as measured in lux) at ground level. The minimum level of illumination on signs is 200 lx.
  • Signage – Tactile signs (using Braille) are located outside of every office, enclosed workstation and boardroom throughout the office.
  • Floor Warning – Tactile indications on the floors outside of the equipment rooms and kitchen areas warn people with a visual impairment that a change in floor surface is about to occur, in order to reduce the risk of tripping.
  • Wall Colours – High contrast wall colours help people with vision disabilities navigate throughout the office.
  • Doors – Each door is equipped with an automatic door opener. A glass panel is also installed in each door for safety purposes to enable people to see if there is someone on the other side who may be struck by an opening door.

Kitchens/Emergency Preparedness

The office kitchen is a part of daily life for most office workers. Click the panel tabs on the right to see the various elements that increase accessibility in ODI’s kitchens and other general office emergency preparedness elements.

Hot-spots:

  • Counters - Kitchen counters are installed at a height that allows a person using a wheelchair to use the sinks. Electrical outlets have been installed at counter height to allow a person in a wheelchair to use small appliances such as microwaves, toaster, electric kettle, etc.
  • Kitchen Furniture – The chairs in the kitchen are not fixed to the floor or table. This allows for chairs to be moved to accommodate a person in a wheelchair.
  • Floor Warning – Tactile indications on the floors outside of the equipment rooms and kitchen areas enable people with a visual impairment to prepare for a change in floor surface in order to reduce the risk of tripping and also to provide a cue that indicates a room change.
  • Alarms To supplement the standard audible alarm systems, visual alarms (for instance, strobe lights) can be installed to signal an emergency to people with hearing disabilities.
  • Evacuation – An evacuation plan has been developed that accommodates the needs and abilities of all employees. Pictured is an evacuation stair chair designed to allow a safe, controlled descent of an individual with a mobility disability down a stairwell, in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Workstations

A variety of simple modifications can be made to workstations to allow people with disabilities to do their daily jobs, while minimizing barriers. Click the panel tabs on the right to see the various elements that increase accessibility in office workstations.

Hot-spots:

  • Size of workstations – When designing the layout of workstations, consideration should be made for current and future employees who use a wheelchair or motorized scooter. Three workstations should be large enough to accommodate the nine-foot turning radius required by a motorized scooter. This is best done at the time of construction to avoid having to modify workstations later to make accommodations.
  • All workstations – All workstations, including ‘quiet rooms’, are large enough to accommodate a manual wheelchair.
  • Office Furniture – Accessible considerations are incorporated such as colour contrasting, OneTouch® overhead bins that open and close with more ease than standard bins, and adjustable work surfaces and shelves that allow work stations to be modified for a variety of ergonomic and accessibility needs.
  • Enclosed Workstations – A number of workstations are enclosed to minimize distractions that might make it more difficult for some people to work, or for employees using adaptive technology, such as voice recognition software, which could disrupt others. These enclosed workstations are used by employees based on need, not seniority.
  • Telephones – Workers with a hearing disability can have a teletypewriter (TTY) installed in their workstations to allow telephone communication. ATTYis an electronic device for text communication via a telephone line, used when one or more of the parties has a hearing or speech disability.
  • Computers – Workers with visual disabilities can have screen reading software or other adaptive aids, installed on their computers.

Boardrooms

Meetings can be called as often as every work day for many office workers. Workers with disabilities should be able to attend these meetings with as much ease as possible. Click the panel tabs on the right to see the various elements that increase accessibility in office boardrooms.

Hot-spots:

  • Room Size – Boardrooms are all large enough to accommodate people who may use a scooter or a manual wheelchair.
  • Audio System – An “assistive listening system” has been installed in the large boardroom to help those with hearing loss. The system features microphones placed along the length of the boardroom table to pick up all sound in the room. The audio feed is then played through headphones at the users’ end.
  • Sound Isolation – The small meeting room has additional sound isolation so that books and documents can be read and recorded without background noise, for the use of people with a visual impairment.
  • Lighting – The boardrooms have been equipped with three different types of lighting that can be used independently or together. This allows for versatility when accommodating people with a visual impairment when giving presentations or holding meetings.
  • Switches and Controls – The light switches and controls for other audio/visual equipment are positioned at a height on the wall that is appropriate for a person in a wheelchair or scooter.

Washrooms

It is important to have washrooms that are accessible to all employees. In some instances all washrooms can be built to be accessible or one co-gender accessible washroom can be made available. Click the panel tabs on the right to see the various elements that increase accessibility in office washrooms.

Hot-spots:

  • Door Openers – These door openers allow a person in a wheelchair or scooter to push a button to open the door, allowing easy access into the washroom.
  • Stalls – A bathroom stall should be available that is large enough to accommodate a person in a motorized wheelchair or scooter while providing an adequate amount of privacy for the user.
  • Sink – A sink should be available that can be used by a person in a motorized wheelchair or scooter. Soap and paper towel/air dryers should be placed at a height that can be reached comfortably by a person whether they are sitting or standing.
  • Railings – Railings should be installed on walls near the facilities in the accessible stall or washroom that to provide assistance for people with disabilities to move to and from their wheelchair or scooter.

Thank you

Thank you for viewing the virtual tour of the Office for Disability Issues’ accessible work space. If you have questions or feedback please email us at nc-accessible-gd@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca.

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