Office Accessibility
 
A Brief Overview of Access Guidelines
 
What makes an office or building accessible to wheelchair users?lunch room with tables and chairs
  1. A clear pathway through the facility that is 36" wide (it can be as narrow as 32" at doorways)
  2. Counter tops or service windows that are no higher than 34" from the floor
  3. Self-serve materials should be placed within the following reach ranges:
    1. If person can only approach the materials from the front, items should be no higher than 48" and no lower than 15".
    2. If person can approach the materials from the side, items can be as high as 54" and as low as 9".
  4. Work stations or writing desks that are no higher than 34" from the floor, and have 27" clear space between the bottom of the writing/work surface and the floor
  5. A 60" turning radius for a wheelchair to turn around
  6. Clear space around public telephones to allow maneuvering (no heavy chairs or couches placed underneath or immediately next to telephones)
 
 
What makes an office or building accessible to people who are blind or vision-impaired?
  1. A clear pathway through a facility that has:
    1. No objects hanging overhead that are lower than 80" from the floor (signs, plants, etc.)
    2. No objects protruding from the walls more than 4", if the bottom edge of the protruding object is higher than 27" from the floor
    3. No objects placed in "unexpected" places (flower pots or ashtrays placed away from walls, or placed where someone using a handrail would run into them)
    4. No rugs or mats that are not tacked down or secured to the floor
  2. Written materials available in enlarged form, Braille, audio cassette, or on disk (available upon request)
  3. Materials posted (such as class or section lists) should have fairly large type (18 pt. is preferred), and should be high contrast (no 3rd or 4th generation copies).
  4. If forms need to be filled out, they should either be available in large print, or staff should offer to assist people with vision-impairments to complete forms.
  5. Burned-out lights should be reported and fixed promptly, especially in public areas.
 
 
What makes an office or building accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing?
  1. If an office does a lot of business by telephone, a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) should be purchased and available next to the telephone; staff should be trained in its use.
  2. If extensive recorded information about a program is available to callers on a telephone answering machine, a different phone number (that reaches a staff person directly) should be available to deaf individuals. A deaf person can then call that number through their state's relay service, and a staff person can provide the information needed.
 
What makes an office or building accessible to people who have stamina problems?
  1. Chairs should be available where long lines form.
  2. Signs should be posted, informing people with stamina problems of their options. Options can include: 
    1. Moving to the head of the line, informing the staff person of his/her needs, and then waiting in a nearby chair or office
    2. Calling ahead and making an appointment
  3. Written materials available in enlarged form, Braille, audio cassette, or on disk (upon request)
  4. Materials posted (such as class or section lists) should have fairly large type (18 pt. is preferred), and should be high contrast (no 3rd or 4th generation copies)
  5. If forms need to be filled out, they should either be available in large print, or staff should offer to assist people with vision-impairments to fill forms out
  6. Burned-out lights should be reported and fixed promptly, especially in public areas
 
What makes an office or building accessible to people who have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (a.k.a. Environmental Illness)?
  1. Windows that open
  2. An enforced no-smoking policy, including outdoor areas near doors, windows, or pathways
  3. Staff members who refrain from wearing fragrances, and who keep their use of scented products (i.e. highly fragrant deodorants or aftershave) to a minimum
(Reprinted with permission by Susan Willats from the University of California at Santa Cruz)