To make vending machines accessible for disabled people who use wheelchairs, the U.S. Department of Justice revised some regulations to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Issued in 2010 and put into effect in 2012, the new rules offer guidelines for vending operators who provide services for any of the following types of locations:
- Public entities such as state or local government facilities
- Private entities that offer public accomodations such as hotels, retail, hospitals, and schools
Much of the old regulations still apply. The most significant changes have to do with the length of reach. The old standards state that the controls cannot exceed 54 inches high and 9 inches low. Those have been updatd to 48 inches and 15 inches, respectively.
It is the operator's responsibility (not the manufacturer's or location's) to ensure machines meet these standards, and safe harbor rules may apply. Existing vending machines do not need to be replaced, unless the property is altered or if the equipment is temporarily removed.
For more information on ADA compliance, please visit https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm.