As a part of one of my jobs, I do a lot of reading about OSHA and workplace safety. A few weeks ago, I came across an article which talked about how the only way to achieve a truly safe place of employment is to go beyond the basic OSHA regulations. As I worked, I noticed a few parallels with the ADA.
While I took my notes, wrote up the piece it was for and fired the finish product off, I thought about the ADA, IDEA and general accessibility. It dawned on me that the ADA is really the minimal requirements necessary to make a space legally accessible for people with disabilities, just as OSHA’s guidelines are the minimal measures required to make a work site legally safe.
That’s what inspired this week’s #AbilityChat. While I’ve never read the exact text of the ADA or the entirety of appropriate accommodations as dictated by IDEA, I do know there’s always more that could be done.
Everyone Shops, So the ADA Applies to Stores.
For instance, when I worked at a large retailer, we were trained to always leave a certain amount of floor space open for wheelchair users, because the ADA required it. However, I know for a fact that many, if not the majority, of merchandise displays were inaccessible for that same population. Unless the individual in question was able to stand, they wouldn’t be able to reach a product if they wanted it.
The same went for clothing racks. Some types of clothing had size and price tags on the sleeves, which were usually low enough for someone in a wheelchair to reach, but others only had tags at the collar.
As a dyslexic, I sometimes have trouble reading tags due to font type or tag design. As an employee, that didn’t make much difference, since I had a scanner to make things easier.
All of these things may technically be ADA compliant, but does that make that store truly accessible?
It’s a question that must be addressed. Hopefully, this week’s discussion will help produce some answers.
#AbilityChat happens on twitter at 7 pm CST every Wednesday. Once I get questions written and posted, they’ll be on this page.