Source: ASTM International

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., August 5, 2013-Two new ASTM International standards will provide specifications for fitness equipment that will be accessible to users of all abilities, including those with disabilities. ASTM F3021, Specification for Universal Design of Fitness Equipment for Inclusive Use by Persons with Functional Limitations and Impairments, and ASTM F3022, Test Method for Evaluating the Universal Design of Fitness Equipment for Inclusive Use by Persons with Functional Limitations and Impairments, were developed by Subcommittee F08.30 on Fitness Products, part of ASTM International Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities, including physical, sensory and cognitive. ASTM F3021 and ASTM F3022 will be used to ensure the development and use of fitness equipment that meets the goals of the ADA.

"Equipment manufacturers and accessibility/usability researchers will rely on F3021 and F3022 for the universal design of fitness equipment," says Seanna Kringen, research associate, Beneficial Designs Inc., and an F08.30 member. "In addition, regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Access Board or the U.S. Department of Justice could potentially reference this standard as to comply with future Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines or Department of Justice rulings."

Kringen notes that having accessible fitness equipment in public fitness facilities creates a broad base of health and social benefits.

"Accessible mainstream fitness equipment decreases costs and facilitates compliance with the ADA," says Kringen. "Increase in activity level decreases secondary conditions and health costs often associated with disability. Affording people with disabilities the opportunity to exercise in public facilities, rather than specialized medical therapy settings, increases the social opportunity to interact with family and friends."

The task group that developed ASTM F3021 and ASTM F3022 welcomes participation from all interested parties. "As a research/development team, we are always looking for user feedback, specifically from people with disabilities," says Kringen, who notes that the task group is currently focusing on receiving input from people with vision impairment in order to further develop adequate specifications to meet their needs.

ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit www.astm.org/JOIN.

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Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.