We have compiled this article with the sole purpose of sharing our knowledge and additional research we have undertaken regarding the provision of crash tested wheelchairs, after receiving lots of requests for help, advice and clarification from our customers.
These questions arose from a change of tact from certain Community Transport providers, and their decision to decline to transport individuals for routine hospital appointments unless care homes/relatives could prove that their wheelchairs had been crash tested.
Our customers turned to us for advice, asking us:
What is a crash tested wheelchair?
Why do wheelchairs need to be crash tested?
We wanted to be able to comprehensively answer questions you have been asking us to help to expand your knowledge and confidently maximise safety and minimise risk levels to your residents/loved ones, when they need to be transported in wheelchairs as vehicle seats during road transport.
Also, many care homes now have their own transportation to take residents out and about, so this brief guide will be helpful for you, if this is you, to have a clear understanding of your responsibilities in relation to crash testing and safe transportation of your residents in wheelchairs.
The Importance Of Selecting A Fit For Purpose Wheelchair
Generally, when choosing and selecting a wheelchair for a loved one or resident, we look at their clinical needs and their requirements for comfort, postural support, tissue integrity, and general mobility.
But what about other considerations, such as their social and medical needs where they need to be transported safely in their wheelchairs while in a vehicle?
Safe transport then becomes a key element in a wheelchair occupant’s ability to access medical facilities, as well as in improving their quality of life by being able to enjoy day trips out and holidays and will alter the type of wheelchair that is suitable for them.
What Is A Crash Test And Why Do We Need Them?
Fundamentally we need wheelchair crash testing standards in place to ensure that fit for purpose equipment is used for the provision of safe transportation for people with disabilities, who are unable to transfer from their wheelchair when travelling in motor vehicles, and also for the safety of other vehicle occupants. To achieve this, wheelchairs used MUST have been successfully crash tested and also secured within the traveling vehicle in conjunction with proven and compatible wheelchair tie down and occupant restraint systems (WTORS).
Historically, wheelchairs have been transported for many years, however since the publication of the ISO 7176-19, ISO 10542 standards, and in particular the British Wheelchair Standards EN 12181:2009 and EN12184:2009 which came into force in 2010, a benchmark standard has been established to offer improved safety and protection for wheelchair users, vehicle drivers and other occupants in vehicles.
The wheelchair crash test standard ISO 7176-19 was derived from a crash test already in use in the motor industry, and wheelchairs containing a test dummy are crash tested at a speed of 48kph and at an impact deceleration of 20g. The test dummy is limited to a max weight of 75kg and only frontal impact has so far been simulated.
NB. Crash testing applies to wheelchairs restrained by straps and wheelchairs with docking systems.
What If A Wheelchair Has Not Been Crash Tested?
If a wheelchair is not crash tested it may not be used as a seat in a travelling vehicle. The wheelchair user must be transferred to a securely mounted vehicle seat and the wheelchair must be transported safely e.g. in the boot of the vehicle.
How Can HCS Help?
You can request a bespoke and Person-centred wheelchair assessment
We can provide you with a wheelchair assessment service to ensure your selection of wheelchair for your resident or loved one is fit for purpose for their specific needs and considers any transportation issues that may arise. Our assessments also include bespoke measurements and specification of any additional accessory options as may be required to ensure the safety and comfort of your residents or loved ones.
You can make informed decisions when purchasing wheelchairs. We offer a full range of crash tested wheelchairs available to purchase on our website – please click here.
These include manufacturer’s information for use guides.
You can take advantage of our planned and reactive maintenance of wheelchairs by our servicing team.
We can help provide you with an annual servicing and repairs service to ensure your wheelchairs are always in good working order.
You can access a wheelchair crash testing audit for your peace of mind.
We can assist you with auditing your wheelchairs to specify which have and have not been crash tested and provide a full detailed report for your peace of mind.
You can also download a copy of Your Essential Pre-Transportation Checklist For Crash Tested Wheelchairs here, giving you the golden rules of safe transportation of individuals in moving vehicles for your peace of mind.
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