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November 8, 2011 -
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, ADA and the path of travel.
Most discussions related to requirements under the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, focus on such building components as doors and restrooms. One area managers might want to pay more attention to is the interior path of travel. Managers need to consider these issues:
• Lobby floor surfaces should be smooth and slip-resistant. Be cautious of floor-waxing products that become slippery when wet. They represent a trip-and-fall hazard waiting to happen.
• When using carpet runners at doors and lobbies, make sure edges are secured to the floor and do not curl.
• Make sure printed directories are readable, use larger print, and are not behind a reflective surface. One option is to use security staff to provide assistance to visitors.
• Make sure items such as hanging artwork and fire-extinguisher boxes are not mounted between 27 inches and 80 inches from the floor and do not protrude more than 4 inches from a wall or 12 inches from a post. A person with a visual disability using a cane will not detect these protruding objects before walking into them. The remedy is to either move the object to another location — or higher than 80 inches above the floor — or place something underneath it to provide a warning.
Most of these items require relatively easy and low-cost fixes, as well as a regular system of inspection and maintenance.