In 2010, the Equality Act replaced the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. The act aims to protect people from disadvantage and discrimination, in order to bring about equality for people with disabilities. A requirement of the act states that UK services providers, including but not limited to, workplaces, public amenities and education facilities, have a duty to reasonably change their provision, in order to become as inclusive as possible for all members of society. These changes should also be made proactively, by the business, facility or group and in advance of requirement by a disabled person.
Under the Equality Act, signage is classed as a physical feature, that could be reasonably changed, to remove any barrier that could inhibit the use of the facility, for any member of the public. To accommodate disability within your facility, installing signs with additional features such as braille and tactile lettering, will help your communication become more accessible to all of your visitors.
In terms of directional signage, braille and tactile lettering can help visually impaired people to navigate your facility, unassisted. Braille is a reading and writing code, when used on signage the standardised, raised characters are designed to be felt under the pad of the user’s finger to deliver information.
Tactile lettering should also be used in conjunction with braille on signage. The benefit of tactile lettering is that both visually able and impaired members of the public can use this system. The embossed letters have a palpable prism that can be felt by the visually impaired user and viewed by the visually unimpaired.
Characteristics of an Equality Act compliant sign include, the use of a matte substrate, to reduce glare, tactile lettering should be raised by a minimum of 15mm and be created in a colour that has a clear contrast with its background, to assist legibility. Braille will be positioned directly underneath the raised letters, a raised semi circle will be positioned at the left hand edge of the sign, to denote the start of braille characters.
Other considerations for installing braille and tactile signage is the height at which it is installed. When installing this type of signage in a facility primarily used by children, signage should be installed between 1000mm and 1300mm. In adult used facilities, signs should be installed between 1400mm and 1700mm. The height at which signs are installed should be consistent throughout the building, in order to achieve consistency for the user. Ensuring that the signs are installed at an appropriate and usable height.
If you would like assistance ensuring that your facility has Equality Act compliant signage, contact FASTSIGNS for more information.