When it comes to the correct procedures for using wheelchair restraints, there are several things for retailers to consider when advising their customers, according to industry specialist Koller Engineering. Here are the top five pointers for the industry to consider:
1. Can the wheelchair be secured?
Not all wheelchairs can be used in a WAV. It needs to have been tested for this purpose and pass ISO standards so checking with the wheelchair supplier is important.
2. Is the wheelchair properly maintained?
Check the wheelchair is in a serviceable condition, with good tyres and working parts, for example the head rest. If the wheelchair is not good to begin with you cannot expect the WTORS to work effectively on them.
3. What condition is the equipment in?
Although the wheelchair is important, it is the restraint itself that is the primary means of protection in a vehicle, so it must be roadworthy. If the components are old and worn, for example the webbing on the belts is frayed, then the equipment simply is not up to the standards required.
4. Can the wheelchair be tied down?
The most common form of securement is through tie-downs. Chairs should have wheelchair tie-down securement points which should also be clearly labelled with a karabiner symbol. Make sure when using tie-downs that they are secured to the marked securement points indicated and not to movable parts like wheels or foot supports. Always secure the wheelchair first and then you can move on to securing the passenger.
5. How do you safely secure a passenger?
Passengers should be secured with both a lap belt and a shoulder restraint system, similar to an ordinary car seat belt. Make sure when fitting the belt that it is not over an arm rest or around the wheel for example and sits against the passenger. Also, make sure the products have been crash-tested and can withstand any force in case of an accident.