IBMS London Region Zoom Webinar
Access All Areas in Labs: Disability Access Guidelines
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Register for our upcoming IBMS London Region webinar on disability access guidelines for laboratories.
- Sue Alexander (Head of Core Pathology, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust)
- Dr Katherine Deane (Associate Professor, University of East Anglia)
When people walk into a building they assume they will be able to open doors, walk up stairs to get to the next level, go to the toilet when needed. Unfortunately, disabled people cannot make these assumptions in many buildings, even modern ones.
Disabled scientists have traditionally been viewed as too much of a health and safety risk to even have in laboratories – which may be why these spaces are even more inaccessible.
Dr Deane's team at the University of East Anglia conducted a survey of 152 people (disabled scientists and people with an interest in disability access) - to determine barriers and possible solutions to wider lab access. The results show that not only do many people find labs to be frequently inaccessible, but also unsafe, with commonly-occurring discriminatory practices.
However, solutions were suggested, and in combination with guidelines already in the public domain, the team created a suite of guidelines for the whole laboratory ecosystem. These guideline advise on access for structures, equipment, protocols, dissemination (including webpages and conferences), and general working practices.
Many of the recommendations are low cost or free, and would dramatically improve the humaneness of the work environment for all employees. The guidelines will ensure that biomedical science laboratories are set up so that everyone can equally benefit from the diversity and expertise of disabled scientists, who are currently rarely recruited nor retained well.