June  2009  Employee Work Areas
Whenever there is new construction and renovation projects in a facility, they must be in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). There is a mistaken impression, however, that a facility that is not open to the "public" and where there are only employees, don't have to comply with the elimination of architectural barriers. This is not the case!
Employee Amenities
With the desire to have facilities be more "green", many new office buildings are designing LEED showers in their spaces.  These  are common use (not necessarily public), and will be required to be accessible and be on an accessible route.
Amenities that are provided to employees in the work place but are not part of their job description are not exempted from having to be accessible.  Examples of these are employee restrooms, employee showers and break rooms

LEED shower

 This photo shows a shower that was provided in an office space to receive LEED points.  Because it will be used by more than one person it makes it a common space, which requires it to be accessible.
In This Issue
Employee Amenities
Fire Stations
Inspector's corner: Exceptions
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Fire Stations
 A fire station is an interesting "work area" scenario because the people who work there are expected to be able bodied.  Therefore, in Texas they created an exception for the common areas that are only used by a fire fighter. 
68.104. Elements, Spaces and Accessible Routes at Fire Stations.
At fire stations, common use spaces and elements accessed exclusively by fire-fighting personnel or other emergency responders are only required to be adaptable. Additionally, at multi-level fire stations, levels accessed exclusively by fire-fighting personnel are not required to be served by an accessible route. Public spaces and elements within these facilities must comply with all applicable technical standards.

Areas such as their dorms, their restrooms, even their kitchen (depending on who is using it) would be exempted from complying, but must be made adaptable.  Adaptable means that the space is designed and constructed in a way that if in the future it necesitates for it to be accessible, it can be modified into an accessible space without too much trouble.

Areas that are used by other fire station employees (dispatchers, cooks etc.) that are not fire fighters are not exempted and their common areas must be made accessible.
A fire station must designate those areas on the drawings and in writing so it will become part of the record file. 


Inspector's Corner: Exceptions
For the most part, an employee work area (areas where that are part of their job description) are exempted from being accessible except for the ability to approach, enter and exit the space
4.1.1(3)* Areas Used Only by Employees as Work Areas.
"Areas that are used only as work areas shall be designed and constructed so that individuals with disabilities can approach, enter, and exit the areas. These standards do not require that any areas used only as work areas be constructed to permit maneuvering within the work area or be constructed or equipped (i.e., with racks or shelves) to be accessible."
 In an inspection of a plasma center, the facility had lab coat storage which was provided for the employees.  Storage is typically required to be at a reach range (either 54" or 48") depending on the approach.  If the storage closet is only used to store  a uniform that will be placed over clothing, then it does not have to be on a specific reach range.

 lab coats

If you have any other questions or if there is anything else I can help you with, feel free to contact me any time. 
Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714