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AGEISM and the Re-employability of Older Workers

02 March 2015

Age and physical disability is no longer a barrier to employment as many multi-floor buildings are now constructed as “accessible” or “barrier free” to allow persons with disabilities ready access. In compliance to Workplace Safety and Health regulations, anyone who is responsible for business premises, has an obligation to everyone who enters the building must be able to leave safely in an emergency and assemble at a place of safety. Emergency evacuations are a stressful time for everyone involved. However, for mobility-impaired people it represents an even greater worry. When companies are under prepared for evacuations in the workplace, wheelchair users and the mobility-impaired are most at risk from being unable to make a safe escape. Disabled workers could be left stranded in fire emergencies. Safety evacuation norm for everyone in workplace require a greater level of consideration and plans to evacuate people with disabilities. Where wheelchair users need to be evacuated up or down stairs, it is not considered safe to evacuate them in their own chairs as this poses unacceptable risks to those providing assistance as well as the person in the chair. People with reduced mobility may need some arrangements in place to make use of evacuation equipment or have assistance to help them in emergencies. In order to reduce stress, all staff should be fully trained and competent using evacuation equipment to help people evacuate a building safely and efficiently. If they are not, then the usefulness of the equipment is nullified.

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