A Must-know Overview of ADA Signs and Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was penned into law in 1990 in order to provide disabled persons equal access to employment, education, transportation and public places. The ADA is classified as a civil rights mandate and was created to prohibit discrimination against individuals who are disabled.

As a business owner, property manager or government official, it is important to understand how the ADA directly and indirectly impacts your organization, particularly regarding doorway access (including restrooms), parking space allotment, and ADA signage. This means that people who require use of a wheelchair, are blind or visually impaired, make use of a walking assistive device, and others are able to enter and access your business with ease. Failure to post proper ADA signs, including ADA exit and entrance signs, ADA restroom signs, and handicap parking signs could cost you thousands of dollars in fines – especially within the state of California.

california handicap parking signsThree ADA Sign Categories to Consider:

  1. ADA Exit Signs -- More than good business, displaying the correct braille exit and entrance signs is also the law. Such signs enable persons who are blind or visually impaired to exit the building quickly in case of an emergency. The dimensions, design, colors and even the lettering of such braille exit signs are regulated so make sure you purchase and post the correct ones. For instance, the colors must have a 70% contrast ratio between the background color and the tactile copy.
  2. ADA Restroom Signs -- Less obvious though of equal importance is posting the correct ADA bathroom signs (for each gender). Such signage lets persons in wheelchairs and others know that the restroom is equipped for them. Compliance with these government regulations includes posting specified ADA bathroom signage.
  3. Handicap Parking Sign -- Depending on your building and its size, businesses and organizations must provide parking spaces for those who are handicap and install the correct handicap parking signs. Such handicapped parking signs must include the correct pictogram (the symbol of a person in a wheelchair). Provided they meet federal requirements, text can be added to these signs announcing the fine for parking in a handicap zone or an arrow showing building access.

California Has Their Own California Handicap Parking Sign

If your business has locations in California, you should be aware that the state has its own California handicap parking signs. California is heavily regulated concerning ADA compliance and is the most litigious state in the nation. In fact frivolous lawsuits regarding businesses and ADA compliance have become such an issue in the state that the Certified Access Specialist position (CASp) was formed. In this inspector role, a person inspects your business to make sure it meets all ADA compliance issues, including all ADA and braille signage.