A Guide to ADA Signs

A Must-know Overview of ADA Signs and Compliance

Lawmakers penned the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 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. ADA Signs

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 spaces, and ADA signs. This means that people need wheelchairs, are 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.

ADA Signs - International Symbol of Accessibility

Three 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. Braille exit signs are regulated  in many different ways. In fact these signs have regulations on their size, color and lettering. 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 know that the state has its own 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 so common that the legislature established the Certified Access Specialist position (CASp). In this inspector role, a person inspects your business to ensure compliance, including all ADA and braille signage.


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