Birmingham, West Midlands – 09/01/2024 – Evac+Chair International, a leading supplier of evacuation chairs, has today released a report titled “Risky Business,” revealing critical shortcomings in current emergency evacuation measures for disabled employees. This report underscores the pressing need for businesses to prioritize the safety of all workers, especially those with access needs.

The study found that a staggering 25% of UK business decision-makers are unaware of the number of disabled and mobility-impaired individuals in their organizations. Additionally, almost one-third have limited understanding of their responsibilities regarding safe evacuation procedures, with 10% being unprepared or uncertain about their readiness to evacuate employees requiring assistance.

Gerard Wallace, Managing Director of Evac+Chair International, expressed concern over these findings, stating, “With over 4.8 million disabled people in UK workplaces, it’s alarming to see such a gap in knowledge and preparedness. Recent tragedies have shown the dire consequences of inadequate evacuation plans, especially for high-rise buildings. Our report calls for the Government to step in with clearer guidelines and legal requirements.”

The report also highlights a significant call from organizations (82%) for more governmental clarity on fire safety responsibilities. An overwhelming 67% believe evacuation equipment should be mandated by law.

Further findings reveal a worrying trend of non-compliance or exploitation of legal loopholes in business communities concerning evacuation measures. Over a quarter of businesses lack a dedicated individual for evacuation planning, and temporary mobility challenges, like pregnancy or injury, are often overlooked in safety protocols.

Sarah Rennie, an accessibility consultant and fire safety campaigner, emphasized the daily risks faced by the disabled community due to current building design and management practices. She stated, “The tragic fate of disabled residents in the Grenfell Tower disaster could recur if we do not amend our evacuation practices. Every business needs to be prepared for the unexpected and prioritize the safety of all, including disabled colleagues, visitors, and clients.”

In response to these alarming findings, Evac+Chair is advocating for legislative changes to enforce the provision of appropriate evacuation equipment in businesses and multistorey buildings. The company urges policymakers to address these gaps and prevent future tragedies.

The full “Risky Business” report, based on research with 490 UK SMEs, can be accessed at [Evac+Chair – Evacuation Chairs].

Evac+Chair International remains committed to ensuring the safety of all employees, especially those with access needs, through its innovative evacuation solutions.