Law firm Mason Hayes & Curran (MHC) has urged all businesses to consider the effects of new EU legislation aimed at improving accessibility to products and services for people with a disability.
It says the European Accessibility Act (EAA) will introduce new requirements that will apply from 28 June 2025.
In a note on its website, MHC lawyers describe the impact of the measure as “wide-ranging”, adding that the lengthy lead-in time is indicative of the significant changes the act will bring in.
Directive (EU) 2019/882 was adopted in April 2019, and will introduce harmonised rules on accessibility for private-sector products and services in the EU for the first time.
A previous directive required that the websites and mobile apps of public-sector bodies be accessible for people with disabilities.
Ireland is obliged to adopt the EAA’s implementing measures by 28 June 2022.
“Once the Irish requirements are published, it will be advisable for all companies who provide products and services to consider the effect that the EAA will have, to future-proof their products and services,” MHC states.
The firms explains that the EAA includes some broad requirements for products to fulfil design requirements to maximise their use for those with disabilities.
There are detailed rules on information and instructions, user-interface and functionality design, support services, and packaging.
Products must be accompanied, where possible, by accessible information on their functioning, and accessibility features.
ATMs, e-readers among products covered
MHC says that the EAA covers a range of products and services that have been identified as important for those with disabilities.
These will be covered if they are brought onto the market after 28 June 2025, but products and services on the market before this date are excluded. Excluded products and services must, however, be compliant by 28 June 2030.
Products covered by the directive include payment terminals, ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines, smartphones, and e-readers.
The services covered include communications, transport, banking, and e-commerce.