The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in all areas of public life, including transportation, schools, jobs, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The law is intended to make sure that the same rights and opportunities are given to people with disabilities as they are given to everyone else. ADA regulations are technical in nature and define accessibility in terms of measurements, numbers, and other specific details. ADA enforcement is mainly complaint-driven, meaning that often businesses only make modifications in response to complaints from disabled people or their friends and family. Amidst the many rules and the airing of grievances, it can be easy to lose sight of the law’s intent, which is to help every American feel welcome and comfortable and to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
ADA compliance is not about inspections; there is no such thing as an ADA inspection. And the ADA isn’t a building code; it’s a civil rights law. For most businesses, ADA compliance is an ongoing process of repeated evaluation and improvement. Adaptive Signage is a professional sign company in Westchester County, NY. We provide ADA-compliant signage and assistance with ADA compliance issues to customers who are striving to improve their work environment for all by keeping compliant with the laws. Over the years, we’ve discovered a number of common ADA violations. If you’re wondering how to make your location more compliant, reviewing this list is a good place to start:
Inaccessible exits and entrances
Doors and doorways need to be wide enough to accommodate mobility devices such as wheelchairs. Entrances and exits need to be clear and unobstructed. The paths of travel to these areas also need to be accessible.
To be safe and comfortable to use, ramps should have a slope of 1:12; this means that, for every 1 inch of rise, there needs to be 12 inches of ramp. So, if the elevation change on your entrance steps is 15 inches, your ramp needs to be 15 feet long. Ramps also need landings to provide areas for rest and ample room to turn at the top and bottom. In addition, ramps need to have curbs and guardrails to prevent slipping off the edge.
Businesses need to provide sufficient marked parking spots with van access and appropriate signage.
Access to the restroom needs to be unobstructed. For example, placing a garbage can next to the door makes it difficult or impossible for a wheelchair user to approach or use the restroom door.
Inaccessible equipment in the restrooms
Examples of inaccessible equipment include towel or soap dispensers that are out of reach, sinks that are too high, or toilet handles that are not on the wide side.
Insufficient accessible seating in public areas
ADA seating rules govern the quantity and placement of seating as well as the quality of the seating. There are also rules stipulating how wide accessible seating needs to be to accommodate mobility devices comfortably.
Untrained staff on ADA issues
Staff need to be trained on maintaining accessibility (i.e., not placing garbage cans in front of the door) and other protocol issues such as service animals.
Other Common Issues
The following are additional examples of ADA violations:
- Placing trash cans or plants in front of elevator call buttons
- Information racks and retail displays that obstruct the aisles
- Mounting objects on the walls that project farther than 4 inches. Folks with visual disabilities can walk right into these items and get injured.
Missing or non-compliant signage
This is our area of expertise, and we’re ready to answer all your questions about signs for your business. We’ll help you get the signs you need, including signs with Braille, and provide careful instructions for mounting them so you can help all your employees and visitors feel welcome. If you’re looking for ada signage near you, look no further than Adaptive Signage.
The Bottom Line
This is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to ADA compliance. Always consult the resources at www.ada.gov for complete information or talk with one of our specialists about your signage needs. And remember, we should all do our part to guarantee that people with disabilities are given the same opportunities as everyone else.