Around half of UK employers are not adequately prepared for the evacuation of disabled staff, a new report has found.

Evacuation firm Evac+Chair International surveyed a total of 100 HR directors and managers to determine how well they had prepared for a crisis which would require the workplace to be evacuated.

The poll, obtained by the HR Magazine website, found that just over half (51 per cent) of companies have the necessary equipment to assist employees who are disabled or have mobility issues in an evacuation, while under 15 per cent of firms surveyed fail to use such equipment in a drill.

Furthermore, 62 per cent of staff are unaware of any equipment used to help ensure the safe evacuation of mobility-paired colleagues, highlighting the clear lack of adequate evacuation training at many UK firms.

Mark Wallace, MD of Evac+Chair International, claimed that the survey highlights how many employers are still failing to make adequate provision for disabled staff and called for this to be urgently addressed to ensure that firms champion workplace inclusion.

He told the news provider: “Emergency evacuations are a stressful time for everyone involved. However, for mobility-impaired staff it represents an even greater worry.

“In order to reduce stress, all staff should be fully trained and competent using evacuation equipment to help people evacuate a building safely and efficiently. If they are not, then the usefulness of the equipment is nullified.”

Worryingly, over a third (35 per cent) of respondents did not have a personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) in place for each of their disabled staff members. A PEEP is required in accordance with fire safety laws in order to ensure equality in the workplace.