In the event of an emergency evacuation, it’s vitally important that you’re prepared. Your comprehensive plan must meet requirements for design and construction set by the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
Exit routes must be located as far away from each other as practical in case one is blocked by fire, smoke or another barrier. Generally, a workplace should have at least two exit routes, with more required based on the size of the facility and number of workers.
Emergency Exit Requirements
OSHA mandates that emergency exits:
- Are separated from work areas by fire-resistant materials. One-hour fire-resistance ratings are mandated if an exit connects three or fewer stories. If the exit connects more than three floors, a two-hour rating is required.
- Are clearly visible at all times. Line-of-sight must be kept open. Install “EXIT” signs using clearly legible letters.
Safety Features for Exit Routes
Be diligent in checking and maintaining your evacuation routes to:
- Keep them free of potential hazards. These include explosives, flammables, and any decorations or signs that that may obscure visibility of exit route doors.
- Arrange them so workers avoid high-hazard areas. Be sure employees don’t have to travel toward a hazardous area to reach an exit door.
- Maintain lighting and housekeeping. Exit areas must be free of clutter, materials or equipment. Lighting must be adequate or better for those of normal vision.
- Ensure they are clearly marked. Post signs along the exit access indicating the direction of travel to the nearest emergency exit. Mark doors or passages “Not an Exit” if they could be mistaken as such.
Proper Design and Construction
To meet OSHA design and construction requirements, exit routes must:
- Be permanent parts of your workplace.
- Lead directly outside or to a street, walkway or open space with access to the outside.
- Be large enough to accommodate those likely to use them.
- Have doors that unlock from the inside.
- Be free of alarms or devices that could restrict use of the route if they should fail.
- Be connected to rooms only by side-hinged doors, which must swing out in the direction of travel if a room may be occupied by more than 50 people.
- Have ceilings at least 7 feet 6 inches wide.
- Be at least 28 inches wide at all points. Objects that project into the exit must not reduce its width.
You don’t need to be reminded how important health and safety is to your business, your employees and your future. You do need to stay up-to-date on OSHA guidelines, requirements and recommendations to ensure your sterling safety record. Stay in touch by reading our related posts – or contact the workforce experts at Premium Staffing today.