Ensuring Business Compliance with ADA Signs

Ensuring Business Compliance with ADA Signs

You may believe ADA signs to be used for modifications made for the visually impaired. However, there are many more usages of these signs than you might expect. Standards listed in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) have countless applications.

While raised characters seen in the braille language are some of the more common applications, let’s take a look at some other examples.


Importance of ADA signs

You may not think much about the importance of your women’s restroom in your office, but having equal accessibility is actually a requirement protected by law in many jurisdictions as part of equal opportunity and diversity initiatives. Numerous safety hazards can provide unwanted and unnecessary risks in the most simple of places to those with physical limitations, pregnant women, the elderly, those carrying small children, or those with heavy luggage.


Requirements of ADA signs

If a sign identifies a permanent space or room in part of a location, or if it provides information about the function of the facility or its accessibility, it must comply with ADA requirements. Some of the general rules are as follows:

  • With the exception of reflective parking signs, most signs should have non-glare background and characters to provide maximum visibility.
  • Signs must have a high light/dark contrast ratio between characters and the background.
  • Easy-to-read “non-decorative” typefaces must be used.
  • Use upper and lower case letters for directional/informational signs.
  • Font size on signs should be dictated by the distance of the sign from the person reading it. See chart in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design for specific determinations.
  • Try to use one sign for both visual and tactile readers where possible.
  • Signs are required in all areas pertaining to safety – exits, stairways/elevators, etc.
  • Tactile signs should be installed on the latch side of the door to the room on the sign
  • Signs should be between 48-60 inches from the floor
  • Do not mount ADA signs directly on a door

Different regulations exist between signs that identify facilities vs. those that inform and/or direct. Visually impaired people are able to locate doors and often can locate signs adjacent to the doors, but they have no way to find informational and directional signs that are placed in inconsistent locations.


Symbols used in ADA signs

There are four main symbols used for ADA accessibility. The “wheelchair” symbol is used to show those with mobility impairments where to access restrooms, entrances, and pathways. The “ear” symbol is used to show those with hearing impairments the availability of assisted listening systems.

The “keyboard” symbol is used for a TTY or text telephone. The “phone” symbol next to sound waves shows a volume-controlled phone is available.


What types of signs do not have to comply with ADA requirements?

Signs used for marketing and advertising purposes, short-term signs (used for under 7 days), logos and names are examples of those that do not need to comply with the requirements of the ADA. Signs are also not required in parking lots, private areas, or other areas outside of a business.

Which interior signs should I verify are ADA compliant in my workplace?

Some common examples include:

  • Conference rooms
  • Storage rooms
  • Exam rooms
  • Break rooms/kitchens
  • Electrical rooms
  • Restrooms
  • IT/Utility rooms


Adhering to ADAAG rules is a crucial part of your business operations, and you can face serious consequences (including thousands of dollars in fines) for noncompliance. Look to Signsmiths of TX to help you ensure the correct placement of your ADA signs. Call 972-464-2926 or visit the SignSmiths of Texas Homepage to book a free consultation and get all of your questions answered.