Board Releases Proposed Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment
The standards provide design criteria that will allow independent access to diagnostic equipment, including types that require transfer from wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Provisions address transfer surfaces, support rails, armrests, compatibility with lift devices, and other features to facilitate transfer. Equipment that does not require transfer from wheelchairs or that is used in a standing position is also addressed. The proposed rule includes a discussion of these requirements that highlights areas where additional information is sought. The Board seeks feedback on the substance of specific provisions, their impacts on equipment design and manufacture, and other topics.
The Board is developing these standards in consultation with other agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Although health care providers are not required to comply with the standards, DOJ or other federal agencies may adopt the standards as requirements for health care providers under the Americans with Disabilities Act or other laws. Any such action will occur separately from the Board's rulemaking.
The Board plans to organize a panel of stakeholders to develop consensus recommendations on how the standards should be finalized based on the comments received. This advisory committee will include disability groups, equipment manufacturers, health care providers, standard-setting organizations, and other interested parties. The Board will issue a notice inviting applications for committee membership at a future date.
The deadline for comments on the standards is June 8. Comments can be submitted or viewed at the regulations.gov website. The Board will hold public hearings on the standards in Washington, D.C. on March 14 and Atlanta on May 8 that will provide additional venues for submitting comment.
Board to Hold Public Hearing on Draft ICT Rule at CSUN Conference
The draft rule updates accessibility requirements for computer hardware and software, websites, media players, electronic documents, telephones and cell phones, PDAs and other ICT products covered by Section 508 and the Telecommunications Act. In addition to updating specific provisions, the released draft includes revisions from an earlier version that simplify the rule's structure for greater usability, improve harmonization with other guidelines and standards, and further clarify various sections, such as the relationship between performance and technical criteria.
The hearing will take place from 1:00 to 3:00 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. Registration is not required to attend the hearing, but those who wish to provide comments are encouraged to contact Kathy Johnson at email@example.com, (202) 272-0041 (voice), or (202) 272-0065 (TTY). The Board held a similar hearing on the draft rule in Washington, D.C. on January 11.
Over 600 Comments Submitted on the Board's Proposed Rights-of-Way Guidelines
The guidelines provide design criteria for public streets and sidewalks, including pedestrian access routes, street crossings, curb ramps and blended transitions, on-street parking, street furniture, and other elements. The specifications comprehensively address access that accommodates all types of disabilities, including mobility and vision impairments, while taking into account conditions and constraints that may impact compliance, such as space limitations and terrain. The Board will revise the guidelines based on its review of the comments and publish them in final form. The final guidelines, once implemented as standards, will apply to newly constructed or altered portions of public rights-of-way covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They will also apply to public rights-of-way built or altered with funding from the Federal government under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) and the Rehabilitation Act.
Upcoming Webinar on the ADA Standards to Address Common Questions
DOJ's 2010 ADA Standards Become Mandatory March 15
Under DOJ's ADA regulations, the March 15 effective date applies to the date of the permit application or, where no permit is required, to the physical start of construction or alteration. For public accommodations and commercial facilities covered by title III of the ADA, compliance with the 2010 standards is required where:
For state and local government facilities covered by title II, compliance with the 2010 standards is required where the physical start of construction or alteration occurs on or after March 15, 2012. However, public transportation facilities, including bus stops and rail stations, are subject to ADA standards issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT), not DOJ. DOT's updated ADA standards (2006), which are very similar to DOJ's 2010 edition, are already mandatory for public transportation facilities.
Copies of the 2010 standards and related information are available on DOJ's website at www.ada.gov.
Barrier Removal Checklist Available from New England ADA Center
Under the ADA regulations issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ), elements in existing facilities that have been retrofitted for access according to the 1991 standards do not have to be further modified to meet the 2010 standards. However, this safe harbor does not extend to certain spaces and elements not addressed in 1991 standards, notably provisions for recreation facilities and housing. DOJ's ADA regulations note the specific provisions in the 2010 standards that may require further barrier removal. Beginning on March 15, any retrofits undertaken for barrier removal must be conform to the 2010 standards, as optional use of the 1991 standards for this purpose will no longer be allowed by that date. The updated checklist provides a helpful survey tool in addressing access barriers according to the 2010 standards.
Access Currents is a free newsletter issued by the Access Board every other month by mail and e-mail. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 872-2253 ext. 0026 (voice) or (800) 993-2822 (TTY). Mailing address: 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000; Washington, D.C. 20004-1111.