Hyderabad: Ever thought about the inconvenience or the problems faced by differently abled persons in using toilets at public places or in commercial establishments, especially in hospitals.
Though, it is mandatory for the managements to construct toilets and incorporate elements to make them user friendly for differently abled persons, not many adhere to these rules. As a result, many people face inconvenience while using toilets.
For instance, in many toilets hand grabs or grab bars, which are essential for differently abled persons, are missing. While, there is some awareness and rules are being followed in constructing ramps for wheelchairs, the same enthusiasm or awareness is missing in constructing toilets for differently abled.
Emphasis is being laid on construction of ramps for approving building plans. Similar initiatives are required to make toilets user friendly at public places and commercial establishments. Right from design, door size, flooring, water closets, wash basins, urinals, showers etc., lot of effort goes into making the toilets user friendly. They are not considered as just a means of aesthetics any more but to make things convenient for people.
The dimensions of a washroom depend on the number of fixtures or amenities to be provided. Top priority must be accorded in ensuring sufficient space for manoeuvring the wheelchair.
According to the Central Public Works Department, Ministry of Urban Affairs, guidelines, the exercise to accommodate facilities for differently abled should commence from the designing stage. There should be at least one special water closet in a set of toilets for the use of differently abled with essential provision of wash basin near the entrance. Flush controls should be provided between 600 mm and 1050 mm above the finished floor. Minimum clear opening of the door should be 900 mm and the door should swing out. It is preferable to have sliding doors. The water closet should not be higher than 500 mm from the floor.
The Indian Plumbing Association’s guide to Good Plumbing Practices stresses on the need for setting up a grab bar. It is an important element of a washroom for the differently abled and they should be firmly fixed and capable of withstanding a static load of 150 kg. Grab rails of appropriate design should be provided for wash basins, water closets, urinals, bath tubs and showers. Foldable rails are preferred to facilitate ease of transfer of the user from and to the wheel chair.
Emphasis should be on laying nonskid flooring and there should not be any sudden dips or perceptible level difference. If there are thresholds, they should not exceed 13 mm and shall have beveled edges.