New ASTM Initiative: "Inclusive Fitness Equipment Standards"
|Associate Director, Amy Rauworth|
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) secures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Title III of the ADA applies to public accommodations in particular, which are private entities that are open to the public, including fitness centers. Thus, the intent of the ADA is that people of all abilities be able to access all public accommodations, including fitness centers, and engage in use of all membership benefits equally, including access to the fitness equipment. At this time, this legal approach addresses the built environment, but what good is it if a person with a disability can enter the building but cannot use any of the equipment? To address this barrier and to support universal design, a task group is being initiated to further develop standards for fitness equipment design through ASTM F08.30 Fitness Products (see F08.30 Fitness Products Scope below and at http://www.astm.org/COMMIT/COMMITTEE/F08.htm). The focus of this task group is to facilitate access to mainstream fitness equipment to a wider range of the population across all abilities (see WK19803 Scope below).
The foundation of this work is built upon the existing developments of Beneficial Designs in Minden, NV and the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) in the United Kingdom (UK). Beneficial Designs developed the draft Universal Design Fitness Equipment Guidelines for the United States through a National Institutes of Health Phase I grant (http://www.beneficialdesigns.com/udgfe/index.html), while the IFI developed the Inclusive Fitness Initiative Equipment Standards currently used throughout the UK (http://www.inclusivefitness.org/inclusive-fitness-initiative/background/). Beneficial Designs and the IFI have created a formal working relationship through the University of Illinois at Chicago's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Recreational Technologies and Exercise Physiology Benefiting Individuals with Disabilities (RERC RecTech, http://www.rectech.org), funded through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
Technical standards are developed by consensus. By working with persons with disabilities, equipment manufacturers, exercise professionals, fitness providers, and other interested organizations and technical experts, guidelines are developed that can be embraced by the industries that need them. These guidelines will enable fitness equipment manufacturers to more effectively design equipment that can be used by people of all abilities. Design standards are the most effective tool to impact the fitness industry. Manufacturers will be able to design their equipment according to the established standards. Fitness centers will be able to refer to the standards when selecting fitness equipment. People with disabilities will be able to identify which equipment meets their personal needs. The IFI has already made significant progress with the development of fitness standards for the UK and this acquired experience will be a substantial advantage in formulating a uniform set of standards for inclusive, accessible fitness equipment in the US and UK and a positive step toward creating global standards. As fitness equipment accessibility increases through the applications of universal design, all Americans will have the opportunity to achieve the benefits of physical activity.
To learn about the principles of universal design, go to: http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/about_ud/udprinciplestext.htm.
To become a member of the ASTM F08.30 Fitness Products task group (students are free), go to: http://www.astm.org/COMMIT/MEMBERAPP/index.html.
For more information about ASTM, go to: http://www.astm.org.
Title: F08 Sports Equipment and Facilities - F08.30 Fitness Products
Location: Renaissance Grand and Suite Hotel; St. Louis, MO
Dates: November 20-21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Fitness Products Main Meeting)
Friday, November 21, 2008
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Inclusive Fitness Equipment Standard Meeting)
F08.30 Fitness Products Scope
Standardization of specifications, test methods and practices for sports equipment, surfaces, and facilities to reduce inherent risk of injuries and promote knowledge as it relates to these standards. The committee shall coordinate this work with other ASTM technical committees and other organizations in this area.
WK19803 New Inclusive Fitness Equipment Design Scope
This guide provides recommendations for designers of fitness equipment to consider when they are designing fitness products to be utilized by individuals with disabilities. When applied in conjunction with applicable ASTM fitness equipment standards, the resultant fitness product will accommodate a wider range of users of all abilities while preserving the intent of the original standard. Fitness is not just for non-disabled individuals. Fitness products that are designed for use by all individuals need to be designed with specific parameters considered.
For comments and feedback, please feel free to contact Amy Rauworth at firstname.lastname@example.org.