Monday, February 11, 2008


I am all for equality, I really am, but sometimes common sense surely must take precedence?

We have a client who is being forced to install 2 disabled toilets into their building. 'Quite right too' I hear you say. Normally I would agree, but in this instance it is pure lunacy.

Our clients run a training facility for employees of a certain dangerous industry that requires their personnel to climb up really very high structures attached only by ropes, and to carry out physically demanding strenuous engineering tasks dangling in mid air 200ft above the ocean. Surprisingly they don’t train many wheelchair bound people.

The whole issue of discrimination has been in the news a lot recently, mainly in relation to women in the workplace earning less than men, and debates over whether businesses should employ women in the first place when everyone knows that all we want to do is rush to pop out sprogs and costs everyone else time and money.

That dreadful woman Katie Hopkins from the Apprentice was on the radio going on about how women in general were a terrible proposition, unless they were like her, childless, ruthless, ambitious and prepared to put work before anything else.

Listening to her espousing her theories that put back women's equality 20 years, I got annoyed but then I felt sorry for her. Yeah yeah, she earns a big fat 6 figure salary, but what a hard, joyless and exploited person she sounded.

I agree that there should be equal pay for equal work, without a doubt, and that suitably qualified people of either sex, with a disability or not should have an equal opportunity to get the same work. However, I will not claim discrimination because my clients aren’t training wheelchair bound people to abseil in gale force winds. It’s political correctness gone mad.


Blogger OboeJane said...

So your client doesn't have any office staff to administrate this gale-force-abseiling business??

What about ex-abseilees who have ended up breaking their backs and need to come in to discuss their compensation packages? I'm thinking this is a business MORE in need of disabled toilets than normal!

5:56 PM  
Blogger Liv said...

There are likely to be people who need to visit the building who are not involved in abseiling. So, I think the disabled toilets are a good idea. You never know who may need to visit the building, and if you are disabled, it must be dead annoying to have no facilities available. In Ireland, even if building a house, you have to have disabled access to the house and a downstairs (accessible) toilet (even perhaps shower?) *and* bedroom I believe (or room that could serve as such) in *every* new build. Is that the case here? One of my aunts is in a wheelchair (she had a crash and crushed her spine in her early 20s and is paralysed from waist down) - anyway, her experiences really highlight the inadequacies of disabled facilities most places (e.g. B&Bs advertising 'disabled' bathroom but her wheelchair doesn't fit through the doorframe, or, in one case in Dublin, a restaurant that, when someone rang to enquire, said they did have disabled toilets - on arriving, there were indeed disabled toilets on the ground floor - the restaurant, however, was on the upper floor accessible by stairs only!). So anyway, a long rant to say that, in this case, I think the disabled toilets should stay !!!

6:44 PM  
Anonymous rach said...

Perhaps I should clarify:

The office staff already have a fully accessible toilet should there ever be an disabled member of staff. It is equipped with the full compliment of grab rails, back rests, emergency alarm bells and the like.

The new toilet is to be for abseiling/welding student use only, amongst which there has never been and never will be a disabled person. The point I'm making is that that is not discrimination, it's just common sense.

The current bubilding regulations, as in Ireland as Liv points out, require level access from the outside, extra wide door on the entire ground floor and fully accessible WC and full bathroom or sshower room on the ground floor, space for a chair lift at the bottom of the stairs, 300mm at the leading edge of all doors to enable a wheel chair user to open them easily, light switches to be lower than is normal in the UK, sockets to be located out of corners so wheelchair users can reach them, and a hundred other things.

I don't disagree with this in the slightest. You never know what tragedy might fall on you, like my uncle who is now paralysed with MS and had to spend thousands getting his house altered to make it habitable.

What I do disagree with is the 'more than my jobs worth' red tape that building Control officers use to assert thier modicum of power.

10:45 PM  
Blogger OboeJane said...

what happens when the abseiling business goes bust and the building is sold to a disabled theatre troop?

10:01 AM  
Anonymous rach said...

Look, I didn't really want to reveal this, but it's a f***ing oil rig! Now cut me some slack

1:04 PM  
Blogger Tony Ruscoe said...

Rach, I think I'm your only reader with any common sense. I agree with you completely.

(And that was even before you said it was an oil rig.)

5:51 PM  
Blogger Liv said...

Ohhhh that *is* political correctness gone mad then! If there is already an accessible loo, why 2 more for folk that don't need them? I totally agree with your post now I have the full facts :)

8:01 PM  
Blogger OboeJane said...

it's that phrase "political correctness gone mad" - it's like a red rag to a bull.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous rach said...

I know - that's why I wrote it ;-)

12:35 PM  

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