As a business owner, you want your business to be accessible to anyone who may want to come in. In fact, it’s required by law — the 1991 Americans With Disabilities Act protects the rights of those with disabilities from discrimination.
There are many accessibility requirements for businesses, and they vary based on when the building was built. It can be tricky to figure out exactly what you need to do in order to comply with these standards. Keep reading to learn eight tips to make your business more accessible to those who use mobility aids like wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and crutches.
The parking lot is the first part of your business people encounter. Make a good first impression by ensuring there is accessible parking for people with disabilities. These parking spaces must be located as close to the building’s entrance as possible and have appropriate signage.
Accessible parking spaces need what’s called an access aisle. This provides extra space for vans with wheelchair ramps and ensures individuals who use a wheelchair have a space to transfer.
Another consideration when it comes to parking is the lot’s condition. It cannot be steeply sloped or have obstructions like potholes that could make it difficult for wheelchair users to get around.
All the accessibility in the world won’t help you if people who use a mobility aid can’t get inside your business. If your business is only accessible by stairs, many people with disabilities will be barred from entering. Installing an ADA-compliant ramp or chair lift ensures everyone can access your building’s entrance.
You may also want to consider installing automatic doors. Regular doors can be an obstacle for some people with disabilities because they can be cumbersome to operate with a mobility aid. Additionally, automatic doors are more convenient for patrons pushing children in a stroller or who have their hands full. It’s a win-win situation!
In order to ensure people who use wheelchairs can comfortably navigate your business, all walkways should be at least three feet wide. This is especially important to keep in mind when arranging retail shelves, clothing racks, and displays — if they’re too close together, not everyone will be able to access them.
#4. Accessible Bathrooms
In order to ensure everyone is able to use the bathroom at your business, you need to provide an ADA-accessible facility. Make sure you research all the requirements for toilet, urinal, and sink positions, along with doorway guidelines.
Accessible bathrooms also need horizontal grab bars mounted beside and behind toilets. These bars help individuals with disabilities transfer from their mobility aid to the toilet and vice versa.
#5. Table Height
If you own a restaurant, you need to ensure that you provide tables at the correct height for wheelchair users. The ADA requires the table’s surface to be between 28 and 34 inches from the floor. Additionally, there should be at least 27 inches of clearance underneath the table.
#6. Cash Wrap Flexibility
Your cash wrap counter may not be accessible to everyone. If the counter is too high, wheelchair users may not be able to see over it. In addition, they may not be able to reach the point of sale system. Instead of a card reader mounted on the counter, consider switching to a handheld device that can be handed or held out to the customer.
#7. Evacuation Procedures
When developing your business’s emergency evacuation procedures, make sure you consider how those procedures affect patrons with disabilities. Emergency exits should be easily accessible to all patrons. Ensure employees know how to help individuals with disabilities evacuate if needed.
#8. Employee Training
All people deserve to be treated equally, whether they have a disability or not. Consider some extra training to ensure your employees know how to properly interact with people with disabilities and are prepared to accommodate them.
For example, employees may need to use written communication to speak with deaf patrons, interact with service dogs, or guide blind customers around the store. Providing sensitivity training ensures all your customers feel comfortable and welcome in your business.
Accessibility Solutions From ParaQuad Mobility
At ParaQuad Mobility, we are passionate about improving accessibility for people who use mobility aids. We have been providing wheelchair-accessible vans, stair and platform lifts, and auto accessibility solutions longer than any other mobility dealer in the state of Utah. We have the knowledge and experience to meet any challenge that comes our way. Contact us for a mobility consultation today and see what we can do for you!