Access Problems Among Agribusinesses: Is the ADA Working?

  • Piercy, Larry R.;
  • Hancock, John;
  • Shaw, S. A.

We sampled 53 commercial businesses and 17 public accommodation facilities in seven Central Kentucky counties to evaluate the accessibility of agribusinesses to disabled clients. The evaluation was based on accessibility standards set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to the 1990 census, four of the selected counties had populations of less than 15,000, and three counties had populations of over 15,000. The total farm population for all seven counties was 9,896 or approximately 8.8% of the total population.

The researchers selected agribusinesses within each county based on the random number table and on their judgment that a disabled farmer would likely visit the business to obtain goods, services or advice related to agricultural production. Commercial businesses included auto parts stores, Farm Bureau offices, farm supply stores and animal clinics. Public facilities included offices of the Cooperative Extension Service, the USDA Soil Conservation Service, and the Agricultural Stabilization Conservation Service.

A team of three to five inspectors visited ten facilities in each county. To identify barriers in existing buildings, team members used the ADA Accessibility Guidelines Checklist for Buildings and Facilities. These guidelines specify accessibility standards for parking, toilets, curbs, ramps, hand rails, door widths, lavatories, aisle widths, drinking fountains, counter heights, door handles, entrances and exits.

All survey findings were entered on-site into a computer using software that displayed the violations and ADA criteria for compliance. The inspectors found 433 violations, with a mean of 6.5 violations per site. The most common violations, in rank order, were

  1. lack of accessible parking spaces,
  2. lack of accessible entrances,
  3. lack of clear floor space between aisles, and
  4. inaccessible counter height.

While the ADA has created awareness of the accessibility problems of disabled persons, many businesses are still not in compliance with the law. Part of the reason may be that rural areas lack educational programs on ADA.

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors noted above are from: All from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More