The inclusion of minimum numbers of facilities, amenities and circulation dimensions for people with disabilities within the BCA has been effective in addressing DDA’92 requirement for access to premises, the new Premises Standard will further reinforce that position and proposes greater certainty for Architects that in complying with the Standard they will meet the minimum requirements of the Act.
However, the access provisions are not to be confused with work place Occupational Health Safety (OH&S)(OHR&S)(WOH&S). Workplaces often require areas equal to or greater than the minimum dimension of the access standards and the process for establishing what is required, as prescribed by guide notes referenced by the various Acts, is also a different consultative process.
Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Division 2 Cl.23 Access to premises, It is unlawful for a person to discriminate against another person on the grounds of the other person’s disability or a disability of any of that other person’s associates:…(c) in relation the provision of means of access to such premises; or…
- From AS1428.1 PP2 Preface; The objective of this standard is to provide building designers and users … with the minimum design requirements for new building work to enable access for people with disabilities.
The dimensions in AS 1428.1 were initially based on studies by J. Bails, Project report on the field testing of the Australian Standard 1428-1977 Part 1 and 2, Public Building Department of South Australia, 1983. Bails analysed the anthropometry of wheeled mobility users and it would be inappropriate to extrapolate and apply the findings of Bails research into a workplace design.
From WorkSafe Victoria, ‘A guide to designing workplaces for safer handling of people’ 3rdedition 2007, PP1
Injuries in health, aged care, rehabilitation and disability services due to the handling of people remain a major OHS issue in Victoria. WorkSafe Victoria statistics indicate that in 2006/07 in Victoria, the health sector has accounted for approximately 8.5% of all claims within the WorkCover Scheme.
For employers, this type of workplace injury may lead to WorkCover claims, increased premiums and other indirect cost…Furthermore, employers face the risk of legal action for workplace injuries.
From Table Injury statistics in the Victorian Health Sector- proportion of claims
- Manual handling related claims Health sector; 58.9%
- Manual handling related claims industries other than health 43.9%
While there is considerable guidance available for the design of health facilities, information specifically relating to the design requirements for safe people handling remains limited. For example, the building code of Australia addresses questions of access for independent disabled persons, but does not consider the additional needs of access for dependant disabled persons and their careers.
Pushing or pulling wheeled equipment,
Using wheeled equipment
….the main risk factor is the magnitude of the forces that have to be exerted. Reducing the risk means decreasing the forces to the lowest level as practicable. Key factors impacting on push and pull forces include:…floor gradients.
How much push force is acceptable for wheeled equipment?
High forces when manoeuvring wheeled equipment increased the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Our best state of knowledge on pushing and pulling is based on the work of Snook and Ciriello.
Snook, S and ciriello, v. (1991) The design of manual handling tasks: revised table of maximum acceptable weights and forces. Ergonomics 34.9:1197-1213
PP37 gradients and slopes
The forces required to manually push wheeled equipment up a slope will increase as the gradient of the slope increases. The total force is equal to that required to push the equipment on a horizontal surface, plus a force component due to the slope. It is preferable to avoid slopes where wheeled equipment is manually moved . If this is not practicable, control measures to reduce the force …..(Administrative controls are lower order controls that rely on human behaviour and may be used only in conjunction with, or where implementation of higher order controls such as engineering controls ….are not reasonably practicable). End quote.
The Worksafe Victoria, ‘A guide to designing workplaces for safer handling of people’ is referenced by nearly every other state workplace health and safety authority in Australia within Codes of Practice or Guide documents.