Handicap ramps help make buildings, facilities and other spaces more accessible for individuals who rely on wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility aids. Ideally, these ramps should ensure users a safer and more convenient journey from one level to another. However, bad construction and poor maintenance can make ramps a magnet for accidents.
Recognizing unsafe ramps
Installing ramps is one of the primary accessibility features that allow people with mobility restrictions to get to and from places. To ensure a handicap ramp is designed properly, it must comply with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ramps with the following characteristics could be unsafe and lead to accidents:
- Missing or broken handrails: The ADA clearly outlines that ramps should have handrails on both sides, made at the correct height. The absence of proper handrails could leave users without any support should they need some assistance.
- A steep incline: Those using walkers or manual wheelchairs will have to work harder to ascend and descend ramps that are too steep. A ramp that is excessively high is also dangerous, as the force of gravity may pull users to fall or roll backward.
- Constructed using the wrong materials: Ramps made with the wrong material could become too slippery or weaken over time. To ensure the safety of users, ramps must be strong enough to bear the weight of heavy wheelchairs and if located outside, endure the elements.
The dangers of faulty handicap ramps
Ramps that do not prioritize the needs of individuals with disabilities or fail to adhere to ADA standards may pose a risk to users. Additionally, the presence of safety hazards, such as broken handrails or a slippery surface, could result in accidents.
Users could slip and fall, become stuck or have trouble calling for help. Many people who use ramps already have trouble getting around, and an accident might make their situation even more difficult. They could suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injuries or other serious harm from the accident.
Everyone, including individuals with disabilities, should have equal access to public spaces. Ramps often provide accessibility, allowing those with mobility issues to maintain their dignity and independence. However, faulty ramps can threaten their safety. Anyone who suffers harm due to such negligence may be eligible to seek compensation from the property owner.