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Would I be unfair to let my manager ask to move me?

(36 Posts)
Tyzer85 Thu 15-Jan-15 10:21:54

Hi all

I have mild Cerebral Palsy, it affects my arms and legs and it also means my balance can wonky on occasion.

I've been working here for nearly ten years, for the vast majority of the time I've been based on the first floor. Whenever there was a fire alarm I'd wait in a stairwell behind fire doors with a colleague, if the situation was serious then security would come and find us and I would be helped down the stairs and escorted out of the building (this only happened once).

However last year myself and my team were relocated to another part of the building and I'm now based on the 4th floor. It was obviously not well planned as the move was delayed for several weeks whilst card readers and other access changes were made so that I could enter/exit certain doors without relying on other colleagues.

Anyway, during the move the fire evacuation plans were changed upon the advice of the local fire service, I now have to exit the building regardless of whether it's a fire drill or not. It takes three colleagues to walk me down the stairs and it takes ten minutes, ten minutes of being so tense that the slightest flinch could take out a colleague.

It's literally ten minutes of me feeling uncomfortable and it's like hell on earth. My colleagues are amazing and I can't praise them enough.

My manager knows that I'm unhappy with this arrangement and he has offered to raise it with senior management in order to ask them to move me a few floors down or even to the ground floor, it wouldn't affect my work in any way as we have an internal messaging system (think MSN Messenger) etc. Would I be unfair if I asked him to persue this? It would be better for me and my colleagues safety wise but I don't want to be seen to be geting preferental treatment.

tracyrobo Thu 15-Jan-15 10:27:14

Of course YANBU it sounds very silly that they put you on 4th floor. Though won't you miss sitting with your colleagues? Whatever makes you happier.

Tyzer85 Thu 15-Jan-15 10:30:45

tracyrobo my colleagues have said that if I'm moved to a room with hotdesks near, they'll move with me as they hotdesk anyway. I have a static desk.

flowery Thu 15-Jan-15 10:31:29

You wouldn't be unfair, no. But what about asking for an adjustment whereby you do exit the building with colleagues but only if it's a genuine fire, and if it's a drill you do the wait-behind-the-fire-door thing?

Tyzer85 Thu 15-Jan-15 10:44:24

flowery unfortunately we have to follow the fire service's advice and they advised us that myself and others who normally wait in a stairwell must evacuate every time, even if it's a fire drill.

flowery Thu 15-Jan-15 10:48:14

In that case for your own sake and for that of your colleagues, who really shouldn't be expected to help you down four flights, I'd definitely push to move.

tracyrobo Thu 15-Jan-15 10:50:13

Well that's nice of them to move with you. Sounds like you have some great colleagues :-)

Eve Thu 15-Jan-15 10:52:06

Fire regulations are fairly stringent, when I was 8 months pregnant I couldn't get out during fire drills quickly enough so was moved to a ground floor desk.

Littlef00t Thu 15-Jan-15 10:57:16

It's called reasonable adjustments for disability and it's actually a legal requirement for your employer. If it will make your work life easier, they should def be pursuing this.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 15-Jan-15 10:57:27

Have they considered an Evac chair that is specifically designed to get you safely down the stairs? They hang on the wall by the stair well flat ready for use.

Plexie Thu 15-Jan-15 11:20:32

Your request to move is actually very reasonable. I've dealt with similar situations at work (on behalf of others) and the advice from our Fire Adviser is that it's preferable to locate mobility-impaired people in an area where they can make their own way out of the building (ie ground floor) or in a safe refuge area (if one exists) on upper floors. Obviously the safe refuge is no longer an option in your company.

Is it a large company? Does it have a Health & Safety department or member of staff? Did they do a risk assessment/evacuation plan when you moved to the 4th floor? If so it should have taken into account not only the risk to you of needing to evacuate from that floor, but also identify who/how many people are needed to assist you. Do they need to physically help you down the stairs or is just someone to accompany you? If they physically help you, do they need to be trained or have a certain level of fitness themselves? And you say 3 people are needed? So they would need to identify more than 3 helpers (eg minimum of 5) to cover periods when some of them are absent.

I think the length of time it takes you to evacuate from the building is also important, and not just because it's tense and stressful for you. One of my previous employers aimed to evacuate an entire building of 4,000 staff within 5 minutes. Therefore I think 10 minutes is too long.

Definitely ask your manager to raise it. If it's not resolved to your satisfaction soon then you may need to be a bit tougher with them and start quoting phrases about H&S and disability.

Tyzer85 Thu 15-Jan-15 11:32:04

I will not consider a fire chair, mainly because if my colleagues can't be expected to physically help me with walking down the stairs then they shouldn't be expected to wheel me down the stairs, also I don't like fire chairs as they make me feel helpless.

It's a big employer, I'm not going to name them but they employee thousands of people from my county and surrounding area.

A PEEP (personal emergency evacuation plan) was filled out during the move and the person filling it out was happy at the time but we didn't do a trial run and in retrospect this would have flagged up these issues.

wyamc Thu 15-Jan-15 14:31:48

I think it's perfecty reasonable to ask for your PEEP to be reviewed and changes made.

MiscellaneousAssortment Thu 15-Jan-15 14:52:14

Perfectly reasonable. You go ahead and don't feel bad.

CallMeExhausted Thu 15-Jan-15 14:57:24

That is absolutely reasonable - and frankly the Fire Brigade should assist in your evacuation, even in the event of a drill.

Asking for a private office with a view of the ocean, a stocked bar and a servant might be unreasonable grin

NewYearsHangoversHurtAlot Thu 15-Jan-15 14:59:59

Can't they use an evac chair for you?

NewYearsHangoversHurtAlot Thu 15-Jan-15 15:02:19

Sorry just read your previous post and can't help but say 'tough'

I'm a fire Marshall in my place of work and evac chair trained. I will not risk my life for you nor expect anyone else to to take 10mins to walk you out the building

We have wheelchair users and 2 people with cerebral palsy in my office. 2 are evac chaired out the other bumps down the stairs in her bum, they all recognise that safety comes before dignity

YesIDidMeanToBeSoRudeActually Thu 15-Jan-15 15:09:17


NewYears, have you actually read the thread? OP wants to move to the ground floor as a preferred option.

Do you have a disability yourself?

whattodoowiththeleftoverturkey Thu 15-Jan-15 15:09:41

newyears that reads quite harsh! Why should anyone's dignity be compromised if there are other solutions (ie moving to work on the ground floor)?

NewYearsHangoversHurtAlot Thu 15-Jan-15 15:11:10

Yes I have a disability but i appreciate it's not always possible to move an individual.

Other factors then come in like the stressor of being isolated from your team and it may not be practicable to move your entire team down to ground floor level

Sorry if I sounded harsh, I didn't mean it to

GahLinDah Thu 15-Jan-15 15:15:05

Bloody hell, newyear. How undignified making a colleague bump herself downstairs for a fire drill. Fair enough in the event of the real thing, but ever heard of reasonable adjustments.

Bet you wear brandish your clipboard and don your high vis 'fire marshall' vest with pride.

Op yanbu. Your colleagues sound lovely too.

YesIDidMeanToBeSoRudeActually Thu 15-Jan-15 15:16:04

New Years, (ignoring my name for a moment smile ), can I suggest that if you didn't mean it to sound harsh, you perhaps think for a moment before posting?

As a disabled person, I found your post extremely high handed, patronising and rude.

GahLinDah Thu 15-Jan-15 15:16:30

Ah, just read your update, makes more sense. It sounded so harsh.

NewYearsHangoversHurtAlot Thu 15-Jan-15 15:16:45

I didn't suggest it, they suggested it as it's the quickest way out the building for them.

Drills are meant to be a practice for the real event. You do know how fast a building can burn down don't you?

NewYearsHangoversHurtAlot Thu 15-Jan-15 15:18:33

Not really patronising though is it.

It's common sense.

Building burning down, dignity goes out the window and you get out of there as fast and as safely as you can.

I really feel for people who rely on others for their safety however you are compromising their safety with your pride

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