Volume 42, Issue 10 - October 2007

Guest Book

Getting a Good Grasp 
How to Comply with ADA 
by Donn Harter
Persons with disabilities experience difficulty in using the “elephant ear” pull handle on commercial doors. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title 24 both clearly state that the pull-handle on a commercial door must be “graspable.” In other words, persons with limited hand and finger mobility can not grasp the smooth surface of the pull-handle pictured below in Figure A. 

The requirement for an accessible pull handle on a commercial door throughout the United States is one that requires no tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist to operate. The style of pull handle shown in Figure A offers no easy-to-grasp “hook.” 

Recently, there has been a rash of complaints by the disabled community and rejections by building inspectors due to the installation of pull hardware that is not in compliance. This type of handle requires finger strength to hold onto the handle and consequently is not accepted as accessible.

Ensuring “Graspability” 
The tube type handle shown in Figure B may be right angle offset or straight out from the door style. 

Other handle variations utilize an extruded shaped bar stock handle. 

Each of these styles offers ease of grasp for the elderly and persons with diminished upper body, arm or hand strength.

Make sure when you order your doors that they have the proper pull handles. 

Donn Harter is president and technical director of the Americas Glass Association. 

© Copyright 2007 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.