U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
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Fact Sheet
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on
Equipment and Furniture

The Department of Justice's Review of the Standards for Accessibility of Equipment and Furniture for Individuals with Disabilities

The Department of Justice's experience in the twenty years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted has given it a better understanding of the barriers posed by inaccessible equipment and furniture.  Changes in technology have resulted in the development and improved availability of accessible equipment and furniture that benefit individuals with disabilities, ranging from accessible medical exam tables for individuals who use wheelchairs to "talking" ATMs and interactive kiosks.  Accessible equipment and furniture is often critical to an entity's ability to provide an individual with a disability equal access to its services.  In light of these developments, the Department is announcing a review of the standards governing accessible equipment and furniture for public and private entities. 

The Department's goal is to ensure that equipment and furniture used in programs and services provided by State and local government entities and private entities that are considered to be places of public accommodation are accessible to individuals with disabilities.  The advance notice seeks public input on several categories of equipment and furniture that pose challenges to individuals with disabilities, including medical and exercise equipment and furniture, accessible beds in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes, accessible golf cars, and electronic technology, including ATMs, and point of sale (POS) devices. The Department also invites input regarding any other types of accessible equipment and furniture that warrant coverage.

Summary:  The Department is notifying the public that it is considering revising the title II and title III regulatory requirements to ensure that equipment and furniture in programs and services provided by public entities and public accommodations are accessible to individuals with disabilities and is seeking public input that will inform the rulemaking process.

In the advance notice, the Department identifies several areas of concern where individuals with disabilities may face barriers due to inaccessible equipment or furniture.  Some key areas of concern are medical equipment and furniture, including examination tables and chairs in doctors' offices, scales, radiological diagnostic equipment, and lifts; beds in hospitals, nursing homes, and hotels; accessible golf cars; and electronic and information technology, including POS devices, kiosks, and ATMs. 

The Department poses questions throughout the advance notice, seeking input from the public, including individuals with disabilities, equipment manufacturers, advocacy and trade groups, businesses, State and local government officials, and any other interested parties, about the nature of accessibility problems and possible solutions for making equipment and furniture accessible to individuals with disabilities.  For example, the Department asks about how best to permit individuals with mobility disabilities to transfer to and from tables, chairs, and beds in a medical setting, and seeks detailed information about the features, costs, benefits, and current availability of different types of lifts, ancillary transfer equipment, and staff assistance.

Comments on this Notice will be available for public review at www.regulations.gov.  The Regulations.gov Docket ID is DOJ-CRT-2010-0008.  The comments will also be available at 1425 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005.  For access to the Docket materials, call (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY) to make an appointment.  The Department will hold at least one public hearing to solicit comments on the issues raised in this notice.

For more information:  The Federal Register notice and this fact sheet are available in electronic format on the Department's ADA Website at www.ada.gov.  For additional information or to order copies of any documents, call the toll-free ADA Information Line (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).  Copies will be available in accessible formats.

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Last updated August 3, 2010