Missoula Technology and Development Center Facilities Toolbox: Accessibility Tools
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How should we describe facilities that only meet some of the accessibility guidelines?

Photo of the exterior of the outdoor toilet facility at Fish Creek Falls
The Fish Creek Falls toilet is accessible. Forest: Routt

District: Hahns Peak/Bears Ears
Region: 2

There are no degrees of accessibility. If a facility does not conform to the accessibility guidelines, it is not accessible. Do not use terms such as "partially accessible" or "accessible with assistance."

If a facility is not accessible, visitors and employees need to know the specific portions or areas of the facility that are not accessible, and types of barriers. For locations where accessibility may influence people's plans for visiting, ensure that visitors can obtain accessibility information before they arrive. All facilities that are not accessible should include an information point near the building or site entrance that provides accessibility information. For instance, you can let people know that the main floor of the office is accessible but other floors can be reached by stairway only, and provide instructions on how to visit someone whose office is not on the main floor, or obtain an item or service that isn't located on the main floor. At a campground, you can let people know which specific campsites and trails are accessible and provide information on the barriers in other areas. Accessibility information can be integrated into the facility's Web page, along with travel directions, contact information, etc. The Trails and Trailheads page of the Sequoia National Forest web site shows one way to display this information. A link entitled "Accessibility Information" is always helpful. Employees at the facility should also be able to provide information about the accessibility of the facility to anyone who inquires. When relevant information is provided, people can make up their own minds about tackling the accessibility issues the facility presents.

If a facility is not accessible, the program housed in that facility must still be accessible to visitors and to employees. For example, at a district office that was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the front entrance could not be retrofitted for accessibility without substantially impairing the building’s historic features. While the side entrance was being renovated to make it accessible, a doorbell with the International Symbol of Accessibility (the wheelchair symbol) was provided on the kiosk in front of the office building. When a person rang the bell, an employee went outside, greeted the visitor, and provided the information and services normally available inside the building.

Photo of a man in a wheelchair using an accessible sink faucet
An accessible kitchen sink at the Quincy Barracks.

Forest: Plumas
District: Mt. Hough
Region: 5

If an employee with a disability is hired or transferred to a position that is stationed in an office that is not accessible, the office must be retrofitted immediately. In most cases, accessibility must be provided throughout the facility. The rest room, meeting room, break room, and other group-use areas must be made accessible. Temporary arrangements must sometimes be made while renovations are in progress. For instance, if one floor of the facility is accessible, the staff group with whom the employee will be working can be moved to the accessible floor so they can work easily and effectively as a team that includes the new employee.

According to law, "too expensive" is not an acceptable reason to postpone accessibility renovations. The Department of Justice has ruled that unless Federal agencies can show that any needed single renovation would have a significant negative impact on the entire agency’s budget, renovations that are needed by employees with disabilities to do their jobs must be completed immediately. Other existing facilities must be evaluated for accessibility and a transition plan must be developed and implemented for those that are not accessible.

For more information on how to describe a facility that is not accessible, see the What terms will let people know whether our facility is accessible? section of this toolbox.


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