Many Americans take the design of the world for granted. It works for those who do not suffer from a debilitating disease. But, how does the world appear for those suffering from a disability?
For Americans struggling with disabilities, the whole world can be a challenge. Americans with disabilities struggle to maintain employment, with just 19% registered as employed.
This struggle stems out into almost every area of business, even a commercial restroom.
As a small business owner, you might be wondering what you can do to improve such statistics? For starters, every business should ensure their restrooms are accessible.
If you’re seeking answers, you have come to the right place! This article will explore how you can ensure your public restroom is ready to accommodate everyone equally.
What Does ADA Compliance Mean?
The Americans with disabilities act (ADA) was first established in 1990. In 2009 the law was once again amended. This legislation is a piece of civil rights law designed to ensure equal accommodation and access to those with disabilities.
The goal of this legislation was to put into writing the need to make public and private spaces accessible. Putting things in writing is only the first part of the solution. There is a big difference between writing a law and putting it into action.
Applying the law is the harder part. The statement that your business must meet the needs of the disabled is not super helpful when trying to make your company more accessible.
Fortunately, the ADA website offers a detailed outline of how to accomplish this. Failure to comply could result in a fine of $75,000.00 for first-time offenses. For repeat offenses, the fine is doubled to $150,000.00.
You may be starting to sweat, wondering if your public restroom meets the specifications? Here is an outline of what the legislation requires.
Who Does the ADA Protect?
Primarily, the ADA focuses on helping people with physical and mental disabilities. These people may suffer a birth defect or have encountered a life-altering accident.
The ADA protects anyone suffering from a disability which makes life more difficult. This can mean someone who suffers from a hearing impediment or speech impediment. But, for purposes of a public restroom, you need to be more aware of physical struggles.
People who have trouble walking or are maybe wheelchair-bound are the main demographic. These people cannot easily function in the normal dimensions of restrooms.
One important thing to remember is the ADA exists to help you as a business owner. As a business owner, you want your space to be accommodating and welcoming.
This is true for not only your customers but also your employees. The fact that only 19% of disabled individuals cannot find employment means you are missing out on potential talent.
This act is meant to protect the disabled, but it will benefit you as well.
How Big Does a Commercial Restroom Need to Be?
There is no specific size demanded by the ADA law. But, there are certain dimensions you must have in certain spaces of the restroom. This includes the sink and the toilet.
For turning around in a wheelchair, they must have at least 60 inches in diameter. This is so the individual can turn about easily without risk of hurting themselves.
The general size of the overall bathroom stall must be 30 inches by 48 inches. Similar dimensions should be had if you have an open space restroom (clear floor).
This means if you do not have stalls you still must have adequate space to accommodate a wheelchair. This means the floor needs to be relatively clear to accommodate them as well.
Dimensions of the Toilet for ADA Compliance
For the toilet, there must be 56×56 inches about the base. This means the toilet needs to have this much open space surrounding the base. This is important for the wheels of a wheelchair.
This space is measured from the back of the toilet to the nearby walls. This applies to stall bathrooms as well.
The toilet must be at least 60 inches in diameter. This is a bit larger than other toilets since it provides a secure place. It is important to prevent falls and such.
These toilets must also be raised from the floor at a greater height than others. The seat of the toilet must be between at least 17-19 inches. A raised toilet is easier for someone with mobility struggles to get on.
The seat cannot be any higher than 44 inches, though. The primary goal of the height is to guarantee ease of use and access.
The toilet should be equipped with mostly automatic systems. Or, you should install a raised flush handle. People with disabilities may struggle to bend over to press the handle (or raise their leg and flush it with their foot).
So, having a raised handle flusher is the basic need to pass ADA compliance standards. It might be easier if you install a sensor. You should install the sensor on the back of the toilet.
This sensor can sense when the person stands and flush in accordance.
What Do You Need to Install Around the Toilet?
One of the major needs to install around the toilet is a handlebar of some sort. You might have noticed some bathroom stalls or single bathrooms have a silver bar on the wall. This is very useful for people who struggle with a disability.
This bar can help them remain steady when easing onto the toilet seat and off of it. This also helps to prevent accidents and falls in your restroom. This is important for them and you.
To protect their rights, people suffering from disabilities can sue for most injuries. This is especially true if the negligence is on your end for not ensuring their safety.
The best method of doing so is to install grip bars in close proximity to the toilet seat. You also need to ensure they do not stick out from the wall too much to inhibit their movements.
Some bathrooms install these grip bars on the wall beside the toilet seat and in front of the seat. This is so no matter when they may need it, they will have the support they need.
Another option is to install bars beside the toilet on both sides. These should be installed behind the toilet seat to the back wall and extended to their arm length.
But, make sure you purchase a type of handlebar support that can accommodate the weight. These bars must be able to support them as they press down on them to lift themselves.
Lighting and Hand Dryers
Light fixtures should be installed easily accessible to a disabled individual. A motion sensor may be easier to ensure compliance, but the fixture still needs to be available. This is in case the sensor does not work and they need to turn on the light.
The fixture of the light itself should be high enough to illuminate the space. If you must place it in an area where it could impede movement, make sure it is thin enough.
You do not want the light fixture to disrupt the movement of the person.
Hand dryers must comply with this necessity as well. Hand dryers could impact the movement of individuals in the restroom if they are too bulky.
These hand dryers must be small enough and installed with a sensor when possible. They should be more than 4 inches in width. Otherwise, the girth may impede movement.
How Should Sinks Be Installed?
The sinks for a stalled bathroom should be low enough for someone in a wheelchair to access. There should be at least one available for their height.
For a solitary bathroom, make sure the sink is no more than 40 inches off the ground. Sensor activation to turn on the water is an excellent idea as well.
Sometimes it is difficult for people struggling to reach the faucet handles to turn them. A sensor can help solve this issue so they do not need to stretch in order to pull on it.
The sink cannot impede the ability to open the door of the bathroom. For stall bathrooms, this is true too, although it is usually not as much of an issue.
Ensure there is adequate space of at least 27 inches and 30 inches wide beneath the sink. This ensures the wheelchair can get below it and the person can reach the sink.
ADA Compliance for Your Small Business’ Commercial Restroom
Everyone wants to do the right thing and as a small business owner, you can do this! Following these steps can guarantee all of your guests and workers have full access to your commercial restroom.
We work hard to provide people with the right information for making the right choices. Make sure you check out our blog for other informative pieces. We have something for everyone.