Do Your Vending Machines Have To Be ADA Compliant?

CP VendinggADA Compliance is something that every business owner has to be concerned about in 2020, especially vending machine owners thanks to the ADA‘s “Upside Down” rule. 

What is the UpsideDown rule and how will it affect your business? In this article, we will answer this question and provide you with information on how your vending machines need to be ADA compliant.  

Understanding The “Upside Down” Rule 

The simplest explanation of the Upside Down rule is this; if the location where your vending machine is placed were to be turned upside down, would your vending machine remain in place, or would it fall? 

If your vending machine equipment were to fall, the Americans with Disabilities Act states that the vending machine would be considered to be exempt from the ADA Rules. 

Thankfully, this does not apply to vending machines that are bolted down, secured or connected to the building anyway via electric or plumbing, it just applies to machines that have been securely bolted down. 

How Many Owners Will Be Affected? 

Since most vending machines in the United States, especially in earthquake-prone areas like California are going to be bolted down, the new upsidedown rule is going to affect most vending machines nationwide since many owners are going to bolt their machines down for safety and security by default.  

If your vending machine is bolted down, it must meet the Americans with disability standards and the products, buttons, or switches should be accessible to an individual who reaches the minimum height range of at least 15” tall.  

Owners who have any machines that are stand-alone and are not bolted down can rest easy because a typical stand-alone vending machine is considered to be just like furniture” to the ADA. 

Vending machines that are bolted down however must meet the new ADA requirements because the Department of Justice has been known to periodically enforce ADA rules. If a vending machine does not meet those compliance rules the cost could be very high in terms of fines and other penalties for a vending machine owner.  

How To Get Your Vending Machine In Compliance 

If your vending machine is bolted down, and you’re concerned that it may not be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the first thing that you need to do to ensure that it is in compliance is verify that there is at least 30” of clearance in front of your machine.  

There also must be 48” of clearance when you’re standing parallel to the vending machine as well because you want to make sure that your vending machine will accommodate individuals who may be utilizing wheelchairs, scooters, or anything else for their mobility purposes. 

The upsidedown rule has actually been in effect since 2012 and enforcement of this act is starting to spread across more cities, counties, and states nationwide. 

It’s a good idea for every vending machine owner to verify that their vending machines meet the ADA compliance rules now, rather than finding out that they’re being sued or facing heavy fines or penalties from the Department of Justice later on.  

What must vending machine owners don’t know is that it’s not uncommon for the Department of Justice to fine an owner up to $55,000 for a first-time violation. It makes sense that every vending machine owner invest the time and money to make sure that their vending machines are compliant just so they can avoid having to pay heavy fines or penalties.

Thankfully, since 2012, most new vending machines are being manufactured so that they are ADA Compliant so if you recently purchased a brand new vending machine within the last 10 years, you can have confidence that your vending machine is going to meet ADA compliance standards.  

By Jeff Adair, Editor

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