Are Your Facilities Up-to-Date on ADA, OSHA, and Water Compliance Regulations?



Regulatory codes and health regulations are always changing, which is something that you must pay careful attention to as a facility manager in charge of bathrooms or bathroom updates. Many facility managers are experiencing legal and regulatory issues for failing to do so.

To avoid these issues, find out more about the regulations to which your facility must adhere.

What Are ADA and OSHA?

The most notable requirements that restrooms fail to adhere to fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

The ADA came to fruition over 25 years ago, and the law states that it “prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.”

However, not all facility bathrooms adhere to the regulations that the ADA has set. There are many issues with restroom design and construction.

OSHA’s sanitation standard reviews facilities and requires them to maintain sanitary conditions.

Understanding Accommodation Compliance spoke with Joan Stein of Stein Consulting, who explained that in order for a facility to be ADA compliant, special attention must be paid to design, construction, and maintenance.

For example, there must be adequate room in a bathroom stall to move around in, and the height of dispensers and other equipment must be accessible. Often, the stalls aren’t wide enough, and the toilets aren’t set at the proper height.

Another common issue is getting to the bathroom. Restaurants and other establishments want the bathrooms to be kept out of sight, which typically means putting them in a spot that can be difficult to reach. During construction, the design should incorporate a bathroom that’s easily accessible by those in wheelchairs who don’t have to maneuver through difficult angles.

In the bathroom, sink height is typically appropriate, but the pipes beneath the sink can end up bumping the person’s wheelchair so they can’t reach it comfortably. Often, these pipes are also uninsulated. Insulating pipes can remedy this issue.

In addition to ensuring that the design of a bathroom adheres to regulations, it’s important that facility managers maintain the accessibility in the bathrooms. This means paying attention to the placement of objects around the bathroom, such as waste baskets, and keeping them out of the way of those in wheelchairs. It also means keeping paper towels, soaps, and other necessities within their reach.

Understanding Water Compliance

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense initiative also sets regulations on water usage in restrooms that facility managers must be aware of. There are new plumbing codes and standards to adhere to, and restroom designs can help the facility’s bottom line.

As a facility manager, it’s important to be aware of these standards and make sure that you follow them accordingly. You want to make sure that the people who utilize the facility are properly accommodated.

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