The challenge of introducing a wheelchair passport scheme into a multi provider environment
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THE CHALLENGE OF INTRODUCING A WHEELCHAIR PASSPORT SCHEME INTO A MULTI-PROVIDER ENVIRONMENT. Creese Andrew Chief Executive Officer, Unwin Safety Systems. Key Safety Principles. In a minibus, wheelchairs should be tied down Occupants should be secured (seatbelt)

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Creese Andrew

Chief Executive Officer,

Unwin Safety Systems

Key Safety Principles

  • In a minibus, wheelchairs should be tied down

  • Occupants should be secured (seatbelt)

  • Securement should take the individual’s needs into account

ISO 10542 standard

  • In 0.1 second

  • Crash from 30 mph / 50 kph

  • Dummy 75 kg

  • Wheelchair 85 kg

  • Generates 20 g deceleration

  • = force of 3.2 tonnes

ISO10542 Crash Test



Not Safe

The Issue

  • Big variety of wheelchair models

  • > 1000 in UK.

Trends – 1999 to 2005

Manual wheelchairs increased by average of 4 kg

Electric wheelchairs increased by average of 12 kg ………..

…………………from 168 kg to 180 kg

Weight of occupied wheelchairs2005 Study for UK Department for Transport

Passport Scheme Objectives

To provide information, in an easy to use format.

Information essential for the safe carriage of wheelchair users

Particularly beneficial to wheelchair users with more complex needs

The National Scheme will ensure consistency and increased safety and mobility to users and staff.

BSI PAS 900 Code of PracticeWheelchair Passport scheme

What is BSI PAS 900?

Its a ‘Publicly Available Specification’

and a form of British Standard.

A PAS is the first step in the creation of a British Standard.

May be then submitted to CEN as a proposed EU Standard.

BSI PAS 900 Code of PracticeWheelchair Passport scheme

How did BSI PAS 900 come to be?

Suggested by wheelchair users and the carers of wheelchair users.

Financed by Lincolnshire and Essex County Councils.

Technical Authorship was by Unwin Safety Systems.

BSI PAS 900 Code of PracticeWheelchair Passport scheme

  • Drafting of BSI PAS 900

  • Steering Group included:

    • Department for Transport

    • Community Trans. Assoc.

    • Transport for London

    • British Healthcare Trades Assoc.

    • British Red Cross.

    • Chartered Soc. of Physiotherapy

    • Kings College Hospital

    • Empower

What is a Wheelchair Passport?

Gives information about securement of a wheelchair and restraint of its user according to individuals’ needs.

A means to provide information to drivers and passenger assistants.

Information Included in the Passport

  • Details and awareness of the passenger

  • Orientation and details of wheelchair

  • Type of restraints required

  • Seatbelt positioning

  • Adjustments e.g. ‘remove tray’

Passport Software

Individual Assessment

Information, easily updated with an audit trail included.

Database stores all Assessment Information.

Passport Software


  • 2 Years since introduction

  • 10 Councils have adopted

  • Commitment by further 20 Councils – awaiting funds

  • Feedback assembled

‘’When asked their views on the value of PAS 900 as a risk control measure.’’

  • “Not sure how we coped without it – always felt vulnerable before implementing the scheme”

  • “It captures so much information regarding the conveyance of wheelchair users and clearly highlights the risks that need to be considered and assessed”

  • “Extremely useful. Invaluable”

  • “It is an important part of an overall risk assessment”

  • “Highly. The Passport provides the First line of information supplied to the driver and passenger assistants”

‘’When asked their views on the benefit brought to transport operations?’’

  • “Has offered Staffordshire ITU considerable ‘protection’ in it’s day to day Operations”

  • “We feel much more confident in organising transport for wheelchair users as a result of the introduction of the passport scheme”

  • “Investment in the introduction of the Passport Scheme will eventually allow cost savings to be made, on an ‘Invest to Save’ basis”

  • “Clarification of roles and responsibilities within the entire process of delivering transport for wheelchair passengers”

  • “The correct type of tie-down to be used with each model, especially with ‘odd-ball’ models and heavy wheelchairs”

‘’What would you say has been the effect on the confidence of wheelchair users and their carers in transport?’’

  • ’’ Parents and carers are now aware of correct transport provisions and have spotted errors when in transport.’’

  • ‘’ Feedback has been positive from all stakeholders. Parents, especially those that have raised concerns in the past regarding incorrect use of restraint & tie-down equipment, have welcomed the introduction of the scheme.’’

  • ‘’Drivers and Passenger assistants knowledge of passports and their use is very limited and more training is required’’

  • ‘’Greater involvement from parents and users. Schools have been extremely positive. One case where difficulty in finding a transport supplier for adult users, transport was pulled – staff retrained and complaints have stopped.’’

PAS 900 benefits to transport providers?

Identifies and clarifies roles and responsibilities.

Platform where all parties can achieve ‘inter-agency’ working.

Contains a Risk Management template.

Provides a means of audit.

Triggers a review of provisions.


  • Transport providers are concerned about the risk they carry in ‘taking care’ of wheelchair users.

  • A well implemented passport scheme mitigates this risk.

  • It is difficult for many Councils to maintain the knowledge and skill base to ensure safe provision. External training providers have a key role in ensuring both continuity and expertise.

  • Initial assessment and the use of tailored software facilitates the provision of a relevant passport as well as providing a tool for assessing multiple needs and conducting risk assessment.


  • Operational staff need to be trained in securement techniques in order to implement the assessment requirements.

  • Wide adaptation of the passport scheme, both nationally and internationally, will facilitate increasing security during transport for wheelchair users when making long journeys.

  • The success of the PAS 900 is such that consultation is currently underway to make it a full BSI standard.

The Vision

‘’ Wheelchair users will be able to travel the world safely.’’

An Early Attempt

PAS 900 benefits to users?

Unite all disciplines involved with wheelchair supply and transport.

Supply information about how to secure a wheelchair model.

Supply details for the restraint of a particular passenger.

Ensure safe vehicle entry and exit.

Overall means of ‘Risk Reduction’ at the point of transport.

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