I have one last photo from my time in New Orleans, which relates to today’s Quick Question:

When are tactile warnings required for the hardware on rooms housing hazardous equipment, like electrical rooms?

Here’s the photo…it’s a knob on a door to an electrical room in a hotel, and an abrasive strip has been added to the hardware:

There was a reference to tactile warnings on hardware in the 1986 edition of ICC A117.1 – Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.  This edition of the standard required hardware on doors leading to hazardous areas to have a textured surface.  The intent was to mandate a way to warn people with vision impairments that they were entering a potentially dangerous room.  Although a few state accessibility standards and the UFAS standards still require the tactile warning for door hardware, it is not required by the current ADA standards or ICC A117.1.

Recent editions of the accessibility standards do include requirements for “detectable warnings”, but those are not the same as tactile warnings.  Detectable warnings are defined by the standards as: “A standardized surface feature built in or applied to walking surfaces or other elements to warn of hazards on a circulation path.”  They are raised “bumps” in the floor or sidewalk, and they are usually required at transportation platform edges and similar changes in level.

So the short answer to today’s Quick Question is…tactile warnings on hardware are required in very few jurisdictions, and only where required by the local accessibility standard or when the UFAS standards apply.  For more information on the current requirements for tactile warnings, refer to this Decoded article.

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