Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), trip hazards are defined as a change in any vertical level over 1/4″. For people with disabilities, trip hazards are a serious issue. Getting around each day is already challenging, so the ADA was introduced in 1991.
ADA trip hazard specifications apply to all federal, state, county and municipal facilities. The most common ADA trip hazards are found on broken or lifted sidewalks and driveways, usually at joints or cracks. It becomes increasingly difficult to travel on cracked sidewalk and handicap ramps. Regular sidewalk maintenance reduces trip hazards by maintaining a smooth, clean walkway. Cracks and lifts need to be fixed to ensure safe travels. Products such as TripStop reduce maintenance by keeping sidewalk panels even, eliminating the potential trip hazard.
According to the ADA, trip hazards must be removed from any public or commercial sidewalks. Complying with the act allows people with disabilities to travel safely and more easily. Handrails can be installed to prevent wheelchairs from going off a ramp or to assist walking. Floor markings may also be used to inform people of an ADA trip hazard such as a change in height on a ramp or surface texture. Trip hazards need to be removed indoors as well as outdoors. Floor conditions should be well maintained by being free of possible obstructions. If they are wet, a sign should be posted to inform those before crossing it. Wheelchairs can easily spread water or slip on wet floors, as can anyone with a disability.
It’s important to remember that all ADA trip hazards are preventable and that the ADA must be followed to eliminate trip hazards.