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ADA Compliant Vending Machines

If you are looking into owning or operating a vending machine, it’s important to understand the guidelines for ADA compliant vending machines. All vending machines in the US must comply with the U.S. Department of Justice regulations set forth by the American Disabilities Act. 

The ADA requires vending machines to be usable and accessible by any disabled person who uses a wheelchair. In 2010, the ADA updated these guidelines, which changed the reach range from 54 inches high and 9 inches low to 48 inches high and 15 inches low. The new guidelines were put into effect in 2012. 

The Federal ADA regulations were enacted to ensure that all people with disabilities have equal access to vending machine services. In order to comply, any federal, state, local government building, or private businesses that offer public accommodations including stores and shops, restaurants and bars, service establishments, theaters, hotels, recreation facilities, private museums, schools, and others must ensure that at least one of each type of vending machine — snack, food, beverage, or coffee — is ADA-compliant. (See 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design 228.1)

The ADA regulations were updated to make vending machines more accessible to people with disabilities. Here are some useful points for vending machine operators regarding ADA guidelines, including the required height of the machine’s coin mechanism and product delivery area.

What are the guidelines for ADA Compliant Vending Machines?

Any vending machine installed after March 15, 2012, must be accessible to anyone using a wheelchair.

  • Any vending machine’s bill, coin, and credit card accepted and product delivery opening must be no lower than 15 inches from the floor and no higher than 48 inches from the floor.
  • If there are multiple vending machines in one location, there must be at least one ADA compliant vending machine of each type (such as beverage, snack, coffee, etc)

Which businesses are required to have ADA Compliant Vending Machines?

  • Any public entity, including state, local, or federal government agencies or facilities.
  • A private business that provides any type of public accommodations including stores, hotels, hospitals, recreation facilities, museums, and others. 
  • Existing vending machines may be grandfathered in. However, vending machine owners must replace outdated machines with ones that are ADA compliant if the building undergoes a renovation, or when replacing or upgrading existing vending machines. 

What are the penalties for non-compliant vending machines?

You could be liable for monetary damages or penalties up to $55,00 for operating a non-compliant vending machine. To learn more, please consult an attorney for any specific ADA compliance questions that may apply to vending machines at locations you own or operate.

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