green-1Wheelchair lifts were designed to help wheelchair users independently navigate between floors of a home or office. As silly as it may sound, a wheelchair lift that is not ADA compliant could actually be more harmful than helpful. What does ADA mean and how can one tell if the wheelchair lift he or she is using is compliant? Keep reading to find out.

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ADA – This acronym stands for Americans with Disabilities Act and was put into place to ensure that those who are disabled will be able to safely, confidently, and independently access all floors in a commercial building. If guidelines from the ADA are properly followed, a person bound to a wheelchair will be able to easily and safely use the lift. Here are some ADA guidelines.

Ground Space – Since wheelchair lifts are used by persons in wheelchairs, certain ground space is required. First of all, lifts should have at least 30 inches by 48 inches of clear space around the entrance. This enables the lift rider to safely wheel onto the platform without having to navigate around inanimate objects. This is not all; there are also rules and regulations that deal with flooring materials. Most wheelchair lifts will be installed on tile, cement, or other hard flooring material. If the lift is to be installed on carpet or a grated surface, specific guidelines must be followed to ensure the safety of the rider.

Assistance – The point of a wheelchair lift is to carry passengers to and from different levels without the assistance of others. In order for a lift to be ADA compliant, it must fulfill this promise. The lift should be easy to board, easy to operate, and easy to de-board without assistance. If the lift rider must be assisted in riding, boarding or de-boarding, the lift then the lift is not ADA compliant. Serious injury could result if a person attempts to use a lift that must be operated with the help of an assistant, especially if said rider attempts to use the lift unassisted.

These are not the only guidelines that must be met in order for a wheelchair lift to be ADA compliant. There are many guidelines that must be carefully considered, and it is wise to evaluate all codes before installing a wheelchair lift. If an existing wheelchair lift does not meet these guidelines, talk to a professional installer to see what can be done to retrofit a lift to be ADA compliant.


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