When individuals are seeking accommodations – whether in the workplace or in a residential environment – there are many laws and regulations that pertain to the livability and workability of the environments. Of these laws, the most important legislation perhaps involves health and safety. Requiring health and safety standards in accommodations is essential, regardless of whether the accommodation is a college dorm room, apartment, office, workplace or home. This is especially true for individuals with disabilities, which will require specific health and safety accommodations in order to work and live in a safe environment.
When accommodations are made for an individual, health and safety legislation must be taken into account. For example, accommodations are often made for disabled employees to bring a service animal with them into work. This right is protected by law, and no company can turn away a customer or employee due to the aid of a service animal. However, in certain cases, health and safety legislation may supersede these laws. If the animal is out of control, for example, than it is in violation of safety legislation and the accommodation (the service animal) can be removed. The same result may happen if the service animal is dirty, sick or defecating on the premises – which is a serious health violation.
There are many dangerous incidents that can occur if a residence or workplace does not abide by health and safety legislation, and it important to understand that accommodation departments should always abide by their health and safety codes. In living environments, for example, there should be no safety hazards such as loose electrical wiring or blocked fire exits. It is often required for many residential and working environments to also possess ramps, walkways or other paths for disabled individuals to leave in the event of an emergency. Having no ramp for entry and exit into a building, for example, could cause harm to a mobility-impaired person attempting to enter or exit the premises. At the same time, certain accommodations cannot be built or employed if they interfere with the health or safety of those around them. Other accommodations, though, must be made in order to ensure the health and safety of the present individuals.
Whenever someone is implementing or evaluating the effectiveness of an accommodation, health and safety legislation becomes extremely important. Accommodations are made to accommodate individuals, and should not threaten the physical well-being of a person in any way. At the same time, if an environment is perceivably unsafe toward an individual for any reason, an accommodation must be provided to eliminate that threat. Health and safety is not only critical to accommodation departments; it is an essential factor in building and adjusting those accommodations.