Tips for Making the Workplace Wheelchair Accessible

Here are some tips that employers can use to make the workplace more accessible for employees who use wheelchairs:

  • Accessible Routes:  To maneuver comfortably through a hall or aisle, a wheelchair typically needs a clear path that is at least 36 inches wide.
  • Turning Spaces:  To turn around, a wheelchair typically requires either a 60-inch circular space or a “T-shaped” area in which the arms and the base of the T are at least 36 inches wide and the overall height and width of the T area are at least 60 inches.
  • Ramps:  The slope of a ramp should generally be no steeper than 1:20.  This means that for every 20 units of horizontal length (e.g., 20 inches), there should be no more than one unit (e.g., one inch) of vertical rise and fall.
  • Counter spaces:  To be accessible by a wheelchair, a counter space should not be higher than 36 inches from the ground.
  • Carpeting:  Carpeting may increase the amount of force needed to propel a wheelchair.  In general, the firmer the carpeting, the easier it is for wheelchair use, but hard floor surfaces are best.
  • Door Hardware:  Door hardware that can be operated with a closed fist or a loose grip, like a lever-style door knob, is preferable to round door knobs or door knobs with thumb latches.

For more detailed information on accessibility under the ADA, employers should refer to the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

About Michael Miller

Michael is a Chambers-rated attorney in Briggs and Morgan's Employment, Benefits, and Labor group and is head of the firm’s Employment Law Counseling and Compliance practice group. He has 25 years experience counseling employers to prevent unwanted litigation and advises companies of ongoing changes in federal, state and local employment law. Michael advises employers in all areas of employment law including discipline and discharge, leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, affirmative action plans, background checking, and drug/alcohol testing. For Michael's full bio, click here.

Posted on September 24, 2013, in Accommodations and Accessibility and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Comments are closed.