Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Exits

| Jim Lanz

Plan 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 ten 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?

Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Exits

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.

Some 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.

Other useful resources:

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

Download our FREE DIY Safety Check Workbook