ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC
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MDE - Weight Scales ADA Accessibility

A patient's weight is essential medical information used for diagnostics and treatment. Too often, individuals who use wheelchairs are not weighed at the doctor's office or hospital, even though patients without disabilities are routinely weighed, because the provider does not have medical diagnostic equipment (MDE) such as a scale that can accommodate a wheelchair. Medical providers should have an accessible scale with a platform large enough to fit a wheelchair, and with a high weight capacity for weighing an individual while seated in his or her wheelchair. Other options may include a scale integrated into a patient lift, hospital bed, or exam table.  See the diagram below for a representation of an accessible weight scale.

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  1. Sloped surface provides access to scale platform -- no abrupt level changes at floor or platform.  A change in level greater than ½ inch should be ramped with a running slope no steeper than 1:12 and cross slopes no steeper than 1:48.  Two inches (50 mm) high minimum edge protection on each side of the ramp slope is recommended for drop-offs exceeding ½ inch.

  2. Edge protection is recommended at the drop off (edge) for the scale platform.

  3. Large platform is recommended to accommodates various wheelchair sizes.  The platform should be 36 inches (915 mm) wide minimum and 48 inches (1220 mm) deep minimum for wheelchair space.  The scale platform wheelchair space surface should not slope more than 1:48 in any direction and the surface should be slip resistant.

  4. Provide maneuvering space to pull onto and off scale.  The width of the route leading to the scale should be at least 36 inches wide.

Also required for this installation is a turning space on the route to the scale so a person in a wheel chair can complete a 180 degree turn, if necessary.  The handrail installation standing support should be on each side of the standing surface, the horizontal component of the supports should have gripping surfaces 4 inches (100 mm) minimum long, the top of the handrail gripping surfaces for horizontal supports should be 34 inches (865 mm) high minimum and 38 inches (965 mm) high maximum above standing the platform surface, and the standing supports should not rotate within their fittings.

In summary, medical service providers must provide access for handicapped individuals to receive medical care similar to that provided for individuals without handicaps.  This access goes from the site arrival point (accessible parking spaces) to the medical diagnostic equipment in the medical service facility.  Failure to provide this access is a violation of ADA laws.