The 2010 ADA Standards for pool access have significantly changed the requirements for municipal and private pools by requiring, for the first time, that they be equipped with independently useable pool lifts during all operating hours.
In October, 2010, the American Hotel & Lodging Association sought clarification of the pool lift requirements which become mandatory on March 15, 2012. The AH&LA noted that pool lifts, particularly fixed devices, are potentially dangerous to users and children playing around pools. Moreover, they can be quite costly to most pool operators. The industry’s concerns apparently fell on deaf ears as evidenced by the DOJ’s position issued this week.
The DOJ has officially confirmed that:
- The mandatory date for installation of pool lifts is March 15, 2012.
- Pool lifts need to be installed at each pool during all operating times and be independently operable by disabled persons.
- Pool lifts must be “fixed” unless the operator can prove that doing so would not be “readily achievable” as defined in the ADA, in which event, a portable lift meeting all of the ADA Guidelines could be deployed.
- Accessible lifts cannot be shared between a pool and a spa, each would seem to require a separate device.
- Pool lifts must be properly maintained and in good repair, with any battery components charged for use.
- Staff must be trained in the use and safety of pool lifts.