12.1 All premises including open sites used for concerts should be accessible to all disabled persons, including wheelchair users, whether they be members of the public or employees. Guidance regarding requirements for spectators with disabilities is contained in Chapter 5 of the Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds. 1
12.2 The underlying philosophy of any layout should be that:-
(i) elements of any building on the site do not constitute an undue hazard for a disabled person;
(ii) disabled persons can independently move into and within any building or site;
(iii) disabled persons can use the facilities of any building or site;
(iv) suitable sanitary accommodation is available and accessible to disabled persons;
(v) where fixed seating is provided suitable accommodation is available for disabled people; and
(vi) suitable aids to communication are available for people with an impairment of hearing or sight.
12.3 In the interests of the safety of the disabled and evacuation requirements in an emergency, disabled and partially disabled persons in wheelchairs should be admitted only to designated positions. Adequate provision should be made for the accommodation, ingress and egress of disabled persons and the positions arranged for them should be adjacent to toilets and other facilities suitable for their use.
12.4 The safety measures set out in the Code of Practice should not be construed in such a way as to place undue restrictions on people with disabilities.
12.5 All arrangements should be put in place so as to maximise the independence of people with disabilities, thus reducing dependence on able-bodied people who may not be readily available in an emergency.
People with Impaired Hearing
12.6 Although people with impaired hearing may experience difficulty in hearing messages broadcast on a system designed for those with normal hearing (See Chapter 19) a hearing impairment does not meanthat in all cases a person is insensitive to sound and that they do not have a sufficiently clear perception of all conventional alarm signals. Where this is not the case it is reasonable to expect spectators who have been alerted to prepare for evacuation to warn those withimpaired hearing. Where they exist, electronic boards and television monitors should be used to give information on evacuation.
People with Impaired Vision
12.7 Signposting (See Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds 1) especially fire or other safety signs, should be sited so that, as far as possible, they can be easily seen and readily distinguishable by those with impaired vision or colour perception. Reference should be made to National Rehabilitation Board Publication, “Access for the Disabled 1: Minimum Design Criteria-“.2
12.8 Prior to the concert there should be an information announcement (audio and visual, by signposting or video screen) informing the spectators of safety precautions, location of exits, etc., for normal and for emergency evacuation of the stands and grounds.
People with Impaired Mobility
12.9 Because there is a tendency for crowds attending pop concerts to rush towards the stage, the areas designated for persons using wheelchairs should be positioned away from such crowd movements.
12.10 The accommodation for wheelchair users at a concert normally consists of a raised platform with a good view of the stage; this platform must conform to the criteria set out for temporary platforms, etc., (See Paragraphs 25.1 – 25.3) including the suitability of the ground on which they are placed. Wheelchairs should not be positioned so as to obstruct passageways or exits.
12.11 The viewing platform should be positioned so that wheelchair users are integrated with the rest of the crowd.
12.12 Every effort should be made to provide for the protection of wheelchair users in inclement weather.
12.13 It is accepted that it may not be possible to apply the Code fully in all existing grounds/stadia, or in open sites. In. these circumstances alternative ways of meeting its objectives should be sought. Useful advice can be found in Chapter 2 of the document “Guide to Fire Precautions in Existing Places of Entertainment and like Premises” 3 and advice is also available from the National Rehabilitation Board.
1. Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds, Stationery Office, Dublin, 1996.
2. Access for the Disabled 1: Minimum Design Criteria, National Rehabilitation Board, Dublin, 1988.
3. Guide to Fire Precautions in Existing Places of Entertainment and Like Premises, HMSO, London, 1990.