The work Safety and also Health administration (OSHA) typically requires employers to ensure that employees (and other residents of her workplace) have actually adequate and safe courses to leave work areas during fires and comparable emergencies. OSHA gift these requirements in its exit Routes standard (29 CFR 1910.36 – 1910.37), v tie-ins come its emergency action plan and fire prevention setup standards (29 CFR 1910.38 and also 1910.39). The following discussion summarizes the exit Routes Standard.

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How does OSHA specify “exit routes” and also their elements?

The departure Routes Standard defines three important facets of these departure routes -- exit access, exit, and also exit discharge – and also provides technical criter for your construction and maintenance. OSHA specifies these terms together follows:

Exit access way that part of an leave route that leads come an exit. An instance of an exit accessibility is a corridor on the 5th floor of an office building that leads to a two-hour fire resistance-rated attached stairway (the Exit).

Exit way that part of an departure route that is generally separated indigenous other areas to carry out a protected method of travel to the exit discharge. An instance of an departure is a two-hour fire resistance-rated fastened stairway the leads from the fifth floor of one office building to the outside of the building.

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

How many exit routes are required?

OSHA generally requires the each structure or framework provide much more than one leave route, to enable prompt evacuation and also so the escape will be feasible even if any single exit or safeguard is ineffective or unavailable, and no solitary fire or other emergency is most likely to block all exits. Two exit routes may suffice, although part workplaces will require more than two due to the fact that of the size and/or construction of the workplace. (OSHA acknowledges that some buildings and structures might be little enough or configured so the a solitary exit route is sufficient; check applicable fire password standards).

What design and also construction demands apply?

Design and construction requirements to all leave routes:

All exit routes have to be permanent.

Exits should be be separate from other parts that the workplace by fire-resistant materials, as follows:

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

If the departure connects four or much more stories, then it have to be be separate by products with a two-hour fire resistance rating.

Exits may only have openings necessary to allow access from occupied areas and also to reach the point of leave discharge.

Each opening into an exit must be safeguarded by a rated self-closing fire door that continues to be closed or close the door upon sound of a fire alarm or employee alert system.

Each departure discharge have to lead straight outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open room with accessibility to the outside, which should be big enough come accommodate the building occupants likely to usage the route.

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

Exit doors have to be unlocked from the inside at every times; panic bars the lock only from the external are permissible. (Exception: leave doors may be locked at mental or correctional facilities, if supervisory personnel are consistently on duty and the employer has a setup to move occupants throughout an emergency.)

Exit doors must meet style requirements:

doors should be side hinged

doors have to swing the end in the direction of leave travel if the area being evacuated is design for more than 50 human being or is a "high danger area" (based on materials, processes, and/or contents)

Exit course doors must not have any machine or alert that can restrict emergency usage if it fails.

The exit route must have adequate capacity (measured by "occupant load"; OSHA advert employers come fire codes), and also the capacity must not diminish along the path of take trip to the departure discharge.

The departure route must accomplish minimum height and also width requirements:

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

Exit accessibility must be "at least 28 inches wide" at every points (Note: Americans through Disabilities plot (ADA) style Requirements usually require at least 32 customs wide).

If a single exit accessibility leads come an exit or departure discharge, the exit and also exit discharge have to be at least as vast as the access.

Exit routes need to be broad enough to accommodate the maximum permitted occupant pack they serve, and also any objects projecting into the route should not minimize its width below this minimum.

Outdoor leave routes must:

satisfy the very same height and also width requirements as indoor departure routes

incorporate guardrails top top unenclosed sides if a autumn hazard exists

be spanned if snow or ice cream are likely to accumulate, uneven the employer demonstrates the any buildup will it is in removed prior to it gift a slipping hazard

be fairly straight

have smooth, solid, significantly level walkways

not have actually a dead-end much longer than 20 feet

What operations and also maintenance requirements apply?

Operations and maintenance needs to departure routes:

Minimize perils to evacuating employees, consisting of at least the following:

maintain departure routes cost-free and unobstructed

maintain exit routes complimentary of explosive or highly flammable furnishings or decorations

arrange leave routes therefore employees will certainly not need to travel towards a high risk area, uneven that area is shielded from the departure route

exit accessibility must no go with a lockable room, nor bring about a dead-end corridor

provide stair or ramps uneven the route is "substantially level"

Maintain employee safety safeguards such as sprinklers, alarms, lighting, and also doors

Provide enough lighting and also markings:

each exit route must be adequately lighted therefore an employee through normal vision deserve to see follow me the leave 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 customs high, with primary strokes of the letters not less than ¾ customs wide

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

each leave route door need to be free of decorations or signs that obscure that is visibility

if the appropriate direction of take trip is not automatically apparent, provide signs that plainly indicate it; the heat of vision to all indications must be plainly visible

each doorway or passage along an exit route that is not an exit and also could it is in mistaken for an exit must be clearly marked "NOT one EXIT" or similar identification

Maintain fire retardant paints and solutions come ensure lock retain your fire retardant properties.

Maintain adequate leave routes during constructions, repairs and alterations

Unless employees can "promptly watch or smell a fire or various other hazard over time to provide adequate warning," install and also maintain one operable employee alarm system.

What happens now?

Employers have to review their departure routes. This is particularly important if onsite personnel have reconfigured workspaces there is no explicit fist to these continuing requirements, or if workplaces storage and also hygiene requirements are not strictly applied to ensure that all doors and also routes remain easily accessible and complimentary of continuous accumulations that materials.

See more: How Long Does It Take To Get An Accent, How Long Does It Take To Change Your Accent

Self-Assessment Checklist

Does my organization encompass indoor workplaces whereby employees may be subject to fires, or other events (from chemistry releases to rectal violence) that may require evacuations?

If so, has the organization evaluated each workplace for the number, construction, and also maintenance of exit routes?

Does the organization have reliable policies to train employees to identify and use leave routes, and also how to recognize situations that may require evacuation?

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

Where deserve to I go For much more Information?

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

• OSHA etool “Design and Construction needs for departure Routes


About the Author

Jon Elliottis president ofTouchstone Environmentaland has been a major contributor to STP’s product variety for end 30 years.Mr. Elliott has actually a diverse educational background. In enhancement to his Juris doctor (University that California, Boalt Hall college of Law, 1981), that holds a understand of Public policy (Goldman institution of Public plan , UC Berkeley, 1980), and also a Bachelor of scientific research in Mechanical engineering (Princeton University, 1977).Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, the is a previous chairman the the plank of directors of the GSPP Alumni Association, and past member the the executive, management Committee of the State Bar of California"s environmental Law section (including previous chair the its legislative Committee).