Installing and maintaining an accessible method by which wheelchair-bound people can enter and exit your office building is vital for the modern business, both from an ethical and legal standpoint. Even if your workforce does not include any wheelchair-bound users, the needs of any potential disabled visitors must be accounted for, and ramps that allow wheelchair users to avoid navigating steep stairs are a common sight but outside and inside the modern office building.
However, ramps are not your only option when it comes to providing office access for wheelchair users, and platform wheelchair lifts are replacing ramps, incline lifts and other accessible lifts in more and more offices. These sophisticated and reliable lifts have a number of benefits when compared to ramps, for both you and the people who use them:
Fit in compact spaces
A wheelchair ramp must be built at a shallow enough incline to allow wheelchair users to ascend and descend them unassisted -- this extends to motorised wheelchairs, which often lack the power requires to navigate steeper inclines efficiently. Consequently, a wheelchair ramp that has to ascend a distance of more than a few standard-sized steps often has to be impractically large, even if it doubles back on itself.
By contrast, many platform wheelchair lifts aren't much larger than a standard-sized wheelchair, and even the most powerful models that can lift multiple users are much smaller than many ramps. This makes them an excellent space-saving option, and ideal for more compact office spaces.
Easier to use unassisted
While some wheelchair users possess the upper body strength and mobility required to propel themselves up a wheelchair ramp unassisted, many others do not due to the nature of their condition of other factors. As previously mentioned, many motorised wheelchairs also lack the power to navigate ramps unassisted, even ones with very shallow inclines. As such, a wheelchair ramp in the lobby or front entrance of your office often has to has staff on standby who can assist wheelchair users who experience difficulties.
Platform wheelchair lifts are far easier to use without aid, and feature controls both outside and inside the lift that allow a passenger to control the lift without an operator. This allows you to redirect badly-needed staff to other areas, and reduces downtime and interruptions experienced when assisting people using ramps.
Portable models available
Maintaining a portable method of access for wheelchair users can be a very economical option, saving you the expense of installing ramps and/or lifts at every access point to your office building. However, portable wheelchair ramps are naturally limited in size, and can generally only be used to navigate very small changes in elevation and short staircases.
Portable platform lifts, on the other hand, can be far more useful. They are capable of lifting users to much higher elevations, and have wheeled bases that make them much easier and less strenuous to transport than bulky wheelchair ramps.