As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to stay on top of changes in regulations and laws related to door lock compliance—particularly when it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Depending on the specific industry in which you operate, you may be required to remain in compliance with one or both of these acts in order to avoid a lawsuit.
Unfortunately, when you run your own business, you’ve got a lot on your plate as it is; how are you supposed to find the time to make sure the door locks on your commercial property are up to ADA and/or HIPAA standards? We’ve taken some of the time and hassle out of the process by summarizing the basic components of each act’s compliance requirements as they relate to door locks. Ultimately, by ensuring that your property’s locks are in compliance, you can keep your clients and employees safer while reducing your own liability in the process.
Understanding ADA Door Lock Compliance
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and its main purpose is to protect disabled persons from being discriminated against, whether it be intentionally or unintentionally. So, how does this relate to door locks? In the event of an emergency, the ADA requires that disabled persons within your commercial building be able to escape the property without excessive inhabitance. This means that the door locks throughout your building need to be set up in a way that meets ADA compliance guidelines so that a disabled person can utilize the lock just as easily as as non-disabled person.
So, what are the specific requirements of the ADA as it pertains to commercial door locks? For starters, all locks, pulleys, and handles attached to your doors must be operable with one hand and not require any extreme grasping or twisting. Furthermore, any lock or handle hardware must be mounted no more than 48 inches above a finished floor; this ensures that even those in wheelchairs are able to reach door locks and pulleys as needed. Some of the most common lever and lock mechanisms to meet ADA compliance in commercial buildings include:
All commercial properties are required to maintain ADA compliance. Therefore, regardless of the type of business you may run or the specific industry you’re in, you must follow these door and lock requirements if you own a commercial property.
Understanding HIPAA Door Lock Compliance
Unlike with ADA compliance, your requirements to retain HIPAA compliance will depend on the industry in which you operate. Specifically, HIPAA was passed in 1996 and its main purpose is to protect and secure confidential health information for patients. Generally, if your business falls within the realm of healthcare or if you handle protected patient records for any reason, you’ll be required to follow HIPAA guidelines. If your business falls into this category, surely you’re already aware of this—but what you maynot know is what steps you need to take to ensure that your business’s door locks are within HIPAA compliance.
Staying in HIPAA compliance with your door locks is a little more complicated than it is with the ADA. First and foremost, any protected patient records need to be kept in secured areas; specifically, these secured areas should only be accessible by authorized personnel (such as management), which usually means that doors leading to these areas should have either brass keys or electronic control systems.
Ideally, doors leading to secured areas where patient records are kept should also not have their hinges exposed to the public side. Having hinges exposed to a public area doesn’t automatically disqualify your business from being HIPAA compliant, but you will need to demonstrate that the hinges are firmly secured and not able to be tampered with or removed. And of course, all door locks leading to and from these areas should be tested regularly to ensure they’re working properly; and issues should be repaired as soon as possible.
Need Help Getting Your Door Locks in Compliance?
As you can see, there’s a lot of information to take in when it comes to ADA and HIPAA door lock compliance. If you’re not sure whether or not your business’s locks are in compliance or if you know for a fact that your doors don’ currently meet compliance, it’s time to call a professional as soon as possible. Unfortunately, all it takes is one incident and you could have a lawsuit or other issues on your hand—all because of a door lock.
If you need assistance in making sure your commercial door locks are within compliance, turn to a team of locksmith professionals that has plenty of experience in this area. Great Valley Lockshop is your go-to commercial door lock expert proudly serving areas of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey. We’re even happy to provide free estimates so you can find out what it will cost you to get your door locks within the compliance guidelines that apply to your business. Simply contact us today to schedule your free estimate or give us a call at 610-644-5334; our friendly and knowledgeable staff would be happy to assist you in answering any questions you may have.