The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets forth important requirements to guarantee that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as the overall population. Disabilities should also be understood as applying to a broad range of individuals, from those in wheelchairs to those who are blind. There are general requirements for accessibility to, from and within a facility. And with these requirements, there can certainly be everyday challenges onsite that need to be addressed to ensure ADA compliance. Additionally, some requirements pertain to the workplace, and there are many specific requirements, depending on the facility.
Below are some of the common violations of the ADA. Keep them in mind, as they may help you identify challenges and opportunities at your site. Some of these issues may have somewhat immediate solutions, while others may take planning and adjustments to ensure compliance. Note that some issues may pop up unexpectedly when there are facility changes, both permanent and temporary.
The common violations (in no particular order) include:
- Inaccessible entrance to building/exit from building
- Incorrect ramp height to building and/or curb
- Incorrect ADA signage or no signage at all
- No parking access or no area for drop-offs
- Inaccessible restroom facilities and/or location in building
- Issues with restroom equipment, such as toilet handles on incorrect side, incorrect height of sinks or towel dispensers
- Not enough accessible seating in the building
- Staff not aware of policies and protocols
While the ADA requirements are easily available, it may take time to understand the specific implications for you. To help you get started on the next steps, here are some immediate ways to avoid violations.
- Parking: Check that there is van access, the necessary number of parking spaces, access to curb ramps and other related requirements.
- Seating for the physically challenged: Provide accessible and/or adjustable seating in waiting rooms and other public areas.
- Building entrance/exit: Clear access for entry/exit, correct ramp slopes and signage.
- Signage: Ensure the correct height of signage, and periodically check that no changes in the building result in incorrect signage. For example, update signs in Braille.
- Restrooms: Verify and adjust access to, and in, the restroom, including proper installation (height for accessibility; and make sure there are no objects blocking entry/exit.
- Training of staff: Update and communicate protocols, such as allowing service animals.
As always, be sure to consult the resources available at https://www.ada.gov. By keeping up with the ADA requirements, you will not only maintain compliance but also help create an inclusive environment for those at your facility.