Seeking a Solution to Pool Lift Concerns
5/3/2012 | Hotel Ruminating
On April 24, Minh Vu, AH&LA ADA counsel and a partner with Seyfarth Shaw, testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution in support of reasonable pool and spa entry requirements for travelers with disabilities and called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to work for sensible measures that provide access while protecting children from harm.
Following her testimony, I had the chance to discuss the ongoing issue of pool lift requirements with Vu. Much of her testimony centered on the fact that the original requirement issued by DOJ didn’t specify whether pool lifts had to be fixed to the pool permanently or whether less costly and perhaps safer portable units could be used by the original March 15 deadline. (The deadline has since been extended until May 15.)
“The problem is that in January the DOJ then said it had to be fixed to the pool, unless you can demonstrate that it’s not readily achievable,” Vu told me, pointing out the original deadline left only six weeks for hoteliers to install fixed pool lifts. “That requirement along with the one to leave a lift out all times next to the pool and spa when opened, and the fact that you can’t share a lift between two bodies of water that are in the same place are all new requirements that didn’t go through the proper rulemaking process.”
These requirements were not in the 2010 Final Rule, which set the original deadline. AH&LA issued a statement saying that, “Many lodging operators had purchased, or were in the process of purchasing, portable pools lifts that would provide access for travelers with disabilities under the 2010 Standards.”
“I explained [during testimony] that there is a reason why there is a legally required process for rulemaking. It’s to ensure that when an agency issues a rule that everyone’s had an opportunity to comment, therefore the agency has an opportunity to consider all of the relevant factors,” Vu said. “It just didn’t happen here. There were many concerns that were not considered.”
Among those, as Vu pointed out in testimony that “The DOJ did not consider the increased risk of injury to children who will play on and jump off the pool lift into the shallow end of the pool.” “They are out there all the time for children to jump on and play on,” Vu told me later. Meanwhile AH&LA submitted a report to DOJ from a national aquatic safety expert who opined that an unattended pool lift left beside the pool raises serious safety concerns that must be studied.
In addition, Vu also pointed out in testimony, “The DOJ did not consider the risk of individuals with disabilities being injured while using an unattended lift that they have not used before.” She also said, “The DOJ did not consider the liability that businesses will face when children and other people injure themselves using unattended lifts.”
Vu said she also detailed the process and costs of installing fixed lifts. Affixing a pool lift requires demolition of a pool deck to electrically ground, or bond, the lift to the deck.
She said there hasn’t been any consideration as to whether requiring fixed lifts will result in hotels and other businesses closing down pools and spas. “That would be bad for everyone,” she said. “That would be one of those unintended consequences.”
In its statement following Vu’s testimony, AH&LA said, “While the lodging industry fully supports the goals of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act and is committed to meeting the needs of all travelers, hoteliers are seeking a solution that achieves the dual purpose of accessibility and safety for all guests."
Monday, June 10, 2013 by social bookmarks
Iq8xvg wow, awesome blog article.Thanks Again. Fantastic. http://crork.com/
Thursday, June 06, 2013 by social bookmarking service
aDpn3M Major thankies for the blog post.Much thanks again. Much obliged.
Monday, May 27, 2013 by seo service
jNKblS I really like and appreciate your post.Much thanks again. Awesome.
Saturday, May 25, 2013 by good seo
ObOWTA Thanks a lot for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 by camera buying guide
Kruohy Great article.
Monday, March 04, 2013 by viagra online
3ssMDL Thanks-a-mundo for the post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.
Thursday, May 03, 2012 by John Cooke
This seams to leave more questions unanswered than answered. Is the any further discussion about delay or reversing the requirement? @cookecapemay