Search MagnifierSearch Magnifier

ADA Compliance for Small Business

Posted April 7, 2013
The 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act requires that businesses which provide goods or services to the public be made accessible to persons with disabilities. To help small businesses understand their obligations under the law, the Small Business Administration created a brochure outlining requirements in nontechnical language. We’ve summed up the most important points of that document here.
The main objective of the ADA is to remove or replace architectural barriers to persons who use wheelchairs, walkers or lifts. Such barriers include:
  • Parking spaces that are too narrow for vans with lifts or customers who must retrieve wheelchairs from vehicles. Businesses must provide designated parking with an access aisle that is at least 8 feet wide for vans and 5 feet wide for cars.
  • Steps or curbs at the main entrance. A front-entrance ramp must be provided that allows access to doors that are open during business hours. If there is not room for a ramp, a lift may be installed.
  • Round doorknobs or hard-to-grasp handles. A lever or loop handle is more easily manipulated.
  • Doors that are too narrow for wheelchairs. A minimum width of 36 inches is required.
  • Narrow revolving turnstiles. They can either be removed or supplemented with gate entrances.
  • Aisles that are too narrow for wheelchairs. A 36-inch clear aisle width is necessary, with a 3-foot by 3-foot turning space at the end of aisles.
  • Shelves that are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. Since it is not feasible to have everything within reach, store personnel must be available to assist shoppers with items on high shelves.
  • Checkout counters that are too high for those in wheelchairs. Counters should be at least 36 inches long and not more than 36 inches above the floor. A space of 30 inches by 48 inches is required to accommodate a wheelchair in front of the counter.
  • Dining tables that are too low. Five percent of the seating in restaurants must be wheelchair accessible, with a height of no more than 34 inches and no less than 28 inches. These tables should be available to anyone in the restaurant, and not solely the disabled.
The above points cover the main requirements of the ADA; questions as to what applies to your business can be directed to the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers at 1-800-949-4232. For information on tax credits and deductions available to help small businesses comply with the law, call the ADA information line at 1-800-514-0301. Our mobility experts at Universal Accessibility have helped people across the country for over a decade make their businesses more accessible for the disabled. You can reach one of our experienced staff at 1 (800) 470-8940.
Share your thoughts and comments with us on Google+ and Facebook!
Summit Peak Performer AwardAmeriGlide Platinum Dealer AwardBetter Business Bureau