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A Guide To Platform Lifts

May 6, 2008
Gaining access to buildings as a wheelchair user can be frustrating. There are still a vast range of buildings that do not have adequate access for wheelchair users and this can be frustrating. Disabled lifts can solve the problem of access for people in wheelchairs. They can provide a method of reaching higher floors in a building without having to be carried up stairs.

Platform lifts are a version of disabled lifts that make life easier for wheelchair users. As the title suggests the platform lift comprises of a platform that is raised and lowered between different floors. It allows wheelchair users to roll onto the platform, be raised up to the desired level and wheel themselves out of the lift. This can provide a great deal of independence.

Unlike the stair lifts it is unlikely that the disabled user will need a great deal of support to operate a platform lift and as a result it can be liberating. The great thing about disabled access is that it has become an issue that has been taken seriously by all areas of society, most notably the government who have made real strides to improve access to all in the past 15 years.

Wheelchairs

Platform lifts are designed primarily to serve people that use wheelchairs. Wheelchairs have been in use for a number of years and the first ever wheelchair was produced in the UK. The technology of these initial wheelchairs was very primitive but it has developed a great deal since these pioneering people first attached wheels to a chair. There are two types of wheelchairs.

Those that are propelled manually and those that use electronic engines to move the wheelchair user along. These motorised wheelchairs can often be operated with a small joystick which can be used by people with very limited movement. Wheelchairs can be used by people that suffer from physical disabilities and people with mental disabilities.

Most wheelchairs have the design feature of a large rear wheel that is responsible for providing the force that moves the wheelchair along whilst they have two tiny wheels at the front which offer stability for the chair. The large rear wheel helps provide maximum output for minimum effort. It also means that manual wheelchair users can turn the wheel with their own wheelchair to move it along. It also means that the skilled user can perform a wheelie. As well as looking cool this can have practical implications. It can enable the wheelchair user to climb curbs and ride over obstacles with ease.

Disabled Access

Fortunately the government in the UK has acted to encourage disabled access for all in the UK. Government initiatives have encouraged businesses and workplaces to make their premises accessible for disabled users and all government buildings and institutions now have disabled access. This means that people that use wheelchairs can have access to libraries, parks and other public areas.

In 1999 the government passed a law that meant that multifamily buildings of four or more units are required to have an entrance that is wide enough for disabled users, free access through the dwelling, that the environmental controls must be accessible to disabled users and the walls of the bathrooms must be reinforced so that they can be fitted with grab bars. These laws are aimed to make life easier for people that have to use a wheelchair.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is a leading disablity and platform lifts expert with many years of experience in this industry. Find out more about disablity and Platform Lifts at the axess 2 website.
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