Articles

Extract from the Human Rights Commission website: © Australian Human Rights Commission

ISSUE 6:
Visual indicators on
fully glazed doors and side lights

Importance of the feature

The application of visual indicators on fully glazed doors and sidelights is to inform all members of the community, particularly those with a vision impairment of the presence of the fully glazed panels in their path of travel.

Many people with a vision impairment have a depth of field limitation, which requires them to focus their attention 1 to 2 metres ahead of them as they proceed along a path of travel, which results in them looking down at an angle of 45 – 50 degrees. This also allows them to choose a safe path of travel.

Extract from the Human Rights Commission website: © Australian Human Rights Commission

ISSUE 5:
Handrails and kerbs or kerb rails on ramps

Importance of the feature

Handrails and kerbs or kerb rails on ramps are important to people with a range of disabilities, for example, people who are blind or vision impaired, people with a mobility disability and people who have an intellectual disability or brain injury.

Two handrails are required as some people may not have the use of both hands in which case they may need to use either the left or right handrail. Kerb rails are required to reduce the chances of people who use wheelchairs running off the edge of the ramp or catching their toe plate behind the handrail supports and as a result tipping out of their chair.

Extract from the Human Rights Commission website: © Australian Human Rights Commission

ISSUE 3:
Nosings on stairways

Importance of the feature

The application of highlighted nosings on treads/goings on stairways assists, in the main, people with a vision impairment; however all members of the community benefit from this application.

The highlighted nosing is used to indicate the location of the nosing or leading edge of the tread/going to ensure safe movement up and down the stairway by all members of the community.

People with a vision impairment may not be able to locate the edge of the tread/going on a stairway if the top of the nosing does not have adequate highlighting to distinguish one tread from the next, thus making it extremely difficult for them to use the steps safely.

To many people with a vision impairment the stairway without this application will look like a ramp or shaded section of a walkway.

Extract from the Human Rights Commission website: © Australian Human Rights Commission

ISSUE 4:
Open risers and overhanging treads on stairways

Importance of the feature

Open risers in stairways cause particular access difficulties for people with a vision impairment, especially if there is a light source coming from behind the stairs. Open risers or overhanging treads/goings that result in lips on each step also make upwards movement very difficult for people with mobility disabilities who are able to use stairs.

Open risers can cause people with certain types of vision impairment to experience vertigo as they ascend a flight of stairs due to the strobing effect of the stair treads/goings and the light between each tread/going.

People using walking sticks can also experience difficulties if their stick slides from the step into the opening. People who have a prosthesis or a disability that limits limb movement face a much greater risk of catching their toes under the lip and losing balance when trying to retrieve their foothold.

Extract from Human Rights Commission website: © Australian Human Rights Commission

ISSUE 2:
Handrails on stairways

Importance of the feature

Handrails are important to all of us, but especially so for people who are blind or vision impaired, people who have a mobility disability (but able to use stairs) and people who have an intellectual disability or brain injury.

Handrails are used to steady and provide guidance as we ascend or descend the stairs. To ensure the stairway is as accessible as possible two handrails are required. This assists those people who don’t have the use of both hands, in which case they may need to use either the left or right hand handrail as they ascend or descend.

Effective handrails are ergonomically designed so that they can be used by all people, especially those with an impairment to their hand or arm function. Continuous handrails that allow a user’s hand to maintain a hold on the handrail without the fixings breaking the grip assists in safe transition throughout the complete journey either up or down a stairway.

The ends of handrails must be designed to reduce the incidence of injury to pedestrians.