ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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International Standard Measures Climb and Descent Abilities of Electric Wheelchairs

New York, Feb 18, 2009

For millions of people who rely on wheelchairs to get around, uneven ground, curbs, doorways, and other obstructions can make it challenging and even dangerous to navigate many areas. A new International Standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) measures the ability of electric wheelchairs to safely climb and descend such obstacles.

ISO 7176-10:2008, Wheelchairs – Part 10: Determination of obstacle-climbing ability of electrically powered wheelchairs, is part of a series of standards that addresses many aspects of wheelchair safety and performance, including stability; brakes; energy consumption; dimensions; maneuverability; speed and acceleration; impact and fatigue strength; and control systems.

The newly developed document applies to wheelchairs and scooters intended to carry one person. It provides guidelines for test equipment, test procedures, and reporting test results that measure a device’s ability to ascend and descend commonly found obstacles in homes and public spaces.

With the information contained in the standard, users will be better able to select the most appropriate wheelchair for their individual needs, particularly when climbing is a vital function for their device. The information will also facilitate the comparison of wheelchairs manufactured and sold around the world.

ISO 7176-10 was developed by ISO technical committee (TC) 173, Assistive products for persons with disability, subcommittee (SC) 1, Wheelchairs. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to this committee and subcommittee is Beneficial Designs, Inc.

For more information on ISO 7176-10, see the ISO news item.

The ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) recently addressed emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities at a workshop held in Washington, DC. Individuals with disabilities and advocacy gave direct input to over 100 stakeholders – including representatives from standards development organizations (SDOs) and government agencies – as the group examined the needs of this community and explored standards-based solutions for more effective emergency preparedness. [see related article]

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