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Access Board Offers Resources Aimed at Federal Facilities
March 21, 2022 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
To assist federal agencies in promoting and enhancing accessibility in their diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) strategic plans, the U.S. Access Board recently developed a set of recommendations and resources. Under an executive order on DEIA in the federal workforce, agencies must ensure that their workplaces are fully accessible to all employees, including those with disabilities.
The recommendations and resources include information for employees to file an Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) complaint if they experience barriers in accessing federal facilities, tips on workplace accessibility practices, and links to accessibility guides, upcoming and archived webinars, and technical assistance contact information. Information on resources about Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act for ensuring access to information and communication technology, such as computer hardware and software and agency websites, are also provided.
Among the board’s facility-specific recommendations:
- Specify a high-level official in each agency responsible for facility accessibility. Ideally, this should be the individual’s primary responsibility. All new construction or alteration projects should be approved by this individual to ensure accessibility is properly addressed.
- Establish and execute a plan with timeframes and milestones for assessing the accessibility of ABA-covered agency facilities to ensure that the minimum requirements in the applicable ABA accessibility standards are met.
- In facilities where the General Services Administration (GSA) leases space or is preparing to execute a new lease on behalf of the agency, assess facilities using the GSA Accessibility Compliance Checklist for Leased Facilities. Where violations are discovered, agencies should work with their GSA facility/leasing contacts to ensure that issues are brought to their attention and resolved.
Dan Hounsell is senior editor, facility group.