The work Safety and Health management (OSHA) normally requires employers to ensure the employees (and other inhabitants of your workplace) have actually adequate and safe paths to leaving work areas during fires and similar emergencies. OSHA gift these demands in its exit Routes standard (29 CFR 1910.36 – 1910.37), v tie-ins to its emergency action plan and fire prevention arrangement standards (29 CFR 1910.38 and also 1910.39). The following conversation summarizes the departure Routes Standard.

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How walk OSHA define “exit routes” and also their elements?

The departure Routes Standard specifies three important elements of these exit routes -- leave access, exit, and also exit discharge – and also provides technical standards for their construction and maintenance. OSHA specifies these terms as follows:

Exit access way that section of an exit route that leads come an exit. An example of an exit access is a corridor on the fifth floor of an office structure that leads to a two-hour fire resistance-rated fastened stairway (the Exit).

Exit means that section of an leave route the is usually separated from other locations to carry out a protected means of take trip to the leave discharge. An instance of an leave is a two-hour fire resistance-rated fastened stairway the leads from the 5th floor of an office structure to the external of the building.

Exit discharge method the component of the leave route that leads straight outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, publicly way, or open an are with accessibility to the outside. An instance of an exit discharge is a door in ~ the bottom that a two-hour fire resistance-rated enclosed stairway that discharges to a place of safety outside the building.

How countless exit paths are required?

OSHA typically requires the each structure or structure provide much more than one exit route, to enable prompt evacuation and also so that escape will certainly be feasible even if any solitary exit or safeguard is ineffective or unavailable, and no single fire or various other emergency is most likely to block all exits. Two departure routes might suffice, although some workplaces will require an ext than two because of the dimension and/or construction of the workplace. (OSHA acknowledges that some buildings and structures might be small enough or configured so the a single exit course is sufficient; check applicable fire code standards).

What design and also construction demands apply?

Design and construction demands to all leave routes:

All leave routes must be permanent.

Exits must be separated from various other parts the the rectal by fire-resistant materials, as follows:

Most exits must be separated by products with a one-hour fire resistance rating.

If the exit connects four or an ext stories, climate it have to be be separate by materials with a two-hour fire resistance rating.

Exits might only have actually openings crucial to allow access from populated areas and to reach the point of departure discharge.

Each opening right into an leave must be safeguarded by a rated self-closing fire door that remains closed or closes upon sound of a fire alarm or employee alert system.

Each exit discharge need to lead directly outside or come a street, walkway, refuge area, windy way, or open space with accessibility to the outside, which have to be big enough to accommodate the building occupants most likely to usage the route.

If departure stairs proceed past the leave discharge level, you have to interrupt the stair at that level utilizing doors, partitions or other effective means to channel people to the exit.

Exit doors should be unlocked from the within at every times; panic bars the lock just from the external are permissible. (Exception: exit doors may be locked at psychological or correctional facilities, if supervisory personnel are continuously on duty and the employer has actually a setup to relocate occupants throughout an emergency.)

Exit doors must meet design requirements:

doors need to be next hinged

doors need to swing the end in the direction of leave travel if the area gift evacuated is designed for an ext than 50 world or is a "high danger area" (based on materials, processes, and/or contents)

Exit route doors must not have any device or alarm that might restrict emergency usage if it fails.

The leave route must have actually adequate volume (measured by "occupant load"; OSHA ad employers come fire codes), and the capacity need to not diminish along the path of take trip to the leave discharge.

The exit route must fulfill minimum height and also width requirements:

Ceilings in leave routes need to be at least 7.5 feet high; any type of projection from the ceiling have to not with a allude less 보다 6 feet 8 inches indigenous the floor.

Exit access must be "at the very least 28 inches wide" at all points (Note: Americans v Disabilities plot (ADA) style Requirements usually require at the very least 32 inch wide).

If a single exit accessibility leads come an departure or exit discharge, the exit and exit discharge must be at the very least as broad as the access.

Exit routes need to be wide enough to accommodate the maximum permitted occupant load they serve, and any objects projecting right into the route should not mitigate its width listed below this minimum.

Outdoor leave routes must:

meet the exact same height and also width criter as indoor leave routes

incorporate guardrails top top unenclosed sides if a autumn hazard exists

be extended if snow or ice are most likely to accumulate, uneven the employer demonstrates that any buildup will it is in removed before it gift a slipping hazard

be fairly straight

have actually smooth, solid, substantially level walkways

not have a dead-end longer than 20 feet

What operations and maintenance needs apply?

Operations and also maintenance requirements to leave routes:

Minimize perils to evacuating employees, including at the very least the following:

maintain exit routes totally free and unobstructed

maintain exit routes totally free of explosive or highly flammable furnishings or decorations

arrange departure routes therefore employees will not need to travel toward a high danger area, uneven that area is shielded indigenous the departure route

exit access must not go v a lockable room, nor result in a dead-end corridor

provide stairs or ramps uneven the path is "substantially level"

Maintain employee protective safeguards such as sprinklers, alarms, lighting, and doors

Provide enough lighting and also markings:

each leave route have to be adequately lighted therefore an employee v normal vision deserve to see along the departure route

each departure must be plainly visible and significant with a sign analysis "EXIT"

the native "EXIT" must be in plainly legible letter not much less than 6 inches high, with principal strokes that the letter not less than ¾ customs wide

each exit sign have to be illuminated to a surface ar value that at the very least 5 foot-candles (54 lux) and be distinctive in shade (self-luminous or electroluminescent signs must have actually a minimum luminance surface ar value of 0.06 footlamberts)

each departure route door need to be totally free of decorations or indicators that obscure the visibility

if the appropriate direction of travel is not automatically apparent, carry out signs that plainly indicate it; the line of sight to all indicators must be plainly visible

each doorway or passage follow me an exit route the is not an exit and also could it is in mistaken for an exit must be plainly marked "NOT one EXIT" or comparable identification

Maintain fire retardant paints and solutions to ensure they retain your fire retardant properties.

Maintain adequate exit routes throughout constructions, repairs and alterations

Unless employees have the right to "promptly see or odor a fire or various other hazard gradually to carry out adequate warning," install and also maintain one operable employee alarm system.

What wake up now?

Employers should review their departure routes. This is particularly important if onsite personnel have reconfigured workspaces without explicit fist to these proceeding requirements, or if workplaces storage and hygiene requirements are not strictly implemented to ensure the all doors and also routes remain available and complimentary of recurring accumulations the materials.

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Self-Assessment Checklist

Does my organization incorporate indoor workplaces where employees may be topic to fires, or other cases (from chemical releases to workplace violence) that may require evacuations?

If so, has actually the organization evaluated each rectal for the number, construction, and also maintenance of departure routes?

Does the company have effective policies to train employee to identify and also use exit routes, and also how come recognize situations that might require evacuation?

Does the company have effective policies to keep the structure integrity, identification, and availability of all exit routes?

Where have the right to I walk For more Information?

• OSHA 1910 CFR subpart E (Exit Routes and Emergency Planning)

• OSHA etool “Design and Construction demands for exit Routes


About the Author

Jon Elliottis president ofTouchstone Environmentaland has actually been a major contributor to STP’s product range for end 30 years.Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In addition to his Juris doctor (University the California, Boalt Hall school of Law, 1981), he holds a master of Public plan (Goldman school of Public policy , UC Berkeley, 1980), and also a Bachelor of science in Mechanical design (Princeton University, 1977).Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, that is a previous chairman that the board of directors of the GSPP Alumni Association, and also past member the the executive Committee that the State Bar the California"s eco-friendly Law ar (including past chair of its legislative Committee).