Emergency Exits, Plans and Routes: Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

Did you know that it’s illegal not to have an emergency exit plan for non-residential buildings? Also, there must be annual training on the plan if there are at least 10 workers at the site. Is your company prepared for the unexpected?

  • How would you escape from your workplace in an emergency?
  • Are you aware of the location of each exit from your building?
  • What if the main exit is too busy, blocked by debris or boasts other hazards?
  • Are you certain that the doors will be unlocked and that the exit isn’t blocked during an emergency?

OSHA requires that emergency exits are marked with a lighted sign, and that there’s an exit route map located at the main entrances to the structure. Of course there must be at least two exits and they should be located as far apart as possible in the case that one is blocked.

Here are some other important rules:

  • The line of sight to the emergency exits should be clearly visible at all times.
  • If the line of sight to the exit must be obscured, post clear signs that lead the way.
  • Exit routes should be free of explosives and flammable materials, including seasonal decorations.
  • Routes should be kept clear, even during construction work.
  • Doorways along the exit route that do not have exit ports should be clearly marked “Not an Exit”.
  • Provide emergency lighting for exit paths.
  • Be certain that all emergency fire equipment is in good, working order.

Construction requirements:

  • Exit routes must be a permanent part of the workplace.
  • Exit doors must lead directly outside.
  • The exit discharge area must be large enough to accommodate the number of people it would necessitate in an emergency.
  • Exit doors must allow instant escape from the inside. No locks, bolts or bars can be in place that would impede escape.
  • Exit routes from one room to another can occur only with side-hinged, outward-swinging doors if occupancy exceeds 50 people.
  • The capacity of an exit route cannot decrease in the direction of travel to the discharge area.
  • Exit route ceilings must be at least 7 feet 6 inches high;
    • The route must be a minimum of 28 feet wide, and the exit door must be at least 29 feet wide.
  • There can be no objects in the exit route that reduce pathway width.

Learn more: Evacuation Plans and Procedures, OSHA’s Interactive eTool

Horizon Solutions can help with emergency plan requirements, lighting and signage. We want to help you keep your employees safe.

#Safe4Life

Take a good look around at your facility. Do you have a plan, routes, doors and lighting to meet the standards? 

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About the author

Jim Lanz
Jim Lanz

Jim supports our sales team and helps our customers achieve a safe, healthy, and accident-free work environment in his role of Safety Specialist at Horizon Solutions. Jim has over 15 years experience in the field of safety which includes extensive OSHA compliance experience and executing safety programs for manufacturing facilities. Jim is an Authorized OSHA Outreach Instructor, and facilitates safety training classes that involve custom curriculum that meets the specific needs of our customers.