What Requirements Must Exit Routes Meet



The Occupational Safety and Health Assistants (OSHA) generally requires employers to ensure that employees (and other occupants of your workplace) have acceptable and safe routes to leave work areas during fires and similar emergencies. OSHA presents these requirements in its Exit Routes Standard (29 CFR 1910.36 – 1910.37), with necktie-ins to its emergency action plan and fire prevention plan standards (29 CFR 1910.38 and 1910.39). The following give-and-take summarizes the Exit Routes Standard.






How does OSHA define “exit routes” and their elements?

The Get out Routes Standard defines 3 important elements of these go out routes — exit access, get out, and get out discharge – and provides technical standards for their structure and maintenance. OSHA defines these terms as follows:

  • Exit admission
    means that portion of an exit route that leads to an get out. An example of an leave admission is a corridor on the fifth flooring of an part building that leads to a two-hour fire resistance-rated enclosed stairway (the Leave).


  • Exit
    means that portion of an exit road that is generally separated from other areas to provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge. An instance of an exit is a 2-hour fire resistance-rated enclosed stairway that leads from the fifth floor of an office building to the exterior of the building.


  • Exit discharge
    means the part of the get out route that leads directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the exterior. An example of an exit belch is a door at the bottom of a two-hour burn resistance-rated enclosed stairway that discharges to a identify of safety outside the building.


How many get out routes are required?

OSHA generally requires that each building or structure provide more than one exit route, to allow prompt evacuation and and so that escape volition be possible even if any single exit or safeguard is ineffective or unavailable, and no single fire or other emergency is likely to block all exits. Two exit routes may suffice, although some workplaces volition require more than than two because of the size and/or configuration of the workplace. (OSHA acknowledges that some buildings and structures may be pocket-sized enough or configured and so that a single exit route is sufficient; check applicable burn code standards).


What blueprint and construction requirements apply?

Design and construction requirements to all go out routes:

  • All exit routes must exist permanent.

  • Exits must be separated from other parts of the workplace by fire-resistant materials, equally follows:

    • Most exits must be separated by materials with a 1-hour fire resistance rating.

    • If the exit connects four or more stories, then it must be separated by materials with a 2-hour burn resistance rating.

  • Exits may simply take openings necessary to allow access from occupied areas and to reach the point of go out discharge.

  • Each opening into an exit must exist protected by a rated self-closing fire door that remains airtight or closes upon sounding of a fire alarm or employee alarm organisation.

  • Each get out discharge must atomic number 82 directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge surface area, public way, or open space with access to the outside, which must be big enough to accommodate the building occupants probable to use the road.

  • If leave stairs proceed past the exit discharge level, you must interrupt the stairs at that level using doors, partitions or other effective means to channel people to the exit.

  • Exit doors must be unlocked from the within at all times; panic bars that lock only from the outside are permissible. (Exception: Go out doors may be locked at mental or correctional facilities, if supervisory personnel are continuously on duty and the employer has a plan to motility occupants during an emergency.)

  • Go out doors must see pattern requirements:


    • doors must be side hinged


    • doors must swing out in the management of exit travel if the area beingness evacuated is designed for more than 50 people or is a “high hazard expanse” (based on materials, processes, and/or contents)

  • Get out road doors must not accept any device or alarm that could restrict emergency use if information technology fails.

  • The exit road must have adequate capacity (measured by “occupant load”; OSHA refers employers to fire codes), and the chapters must not diminish forth the route of travel to the get out discharge.

  • The get out road must meet minimum height and width requirements:


    • Ceilings in exit routes must be at least 7.5 feet high; whatever projection from the ceiling must not reach a point less than 6 feet eight inches from the floor.


    • Exit admission must exist “at to the lowest degree 28 inches wide” at all points (Annotation: Americans with Disabilities Deed (ADA) Pattern Requirements by and large require at least 32 inches wide).


    • If a single leave access leads to an get out or exit belch, the exit and exit discharge must be at least as wide as the access.

    • Exit routes must be wide enough to accommodate the maximum permitted occupant load they serve, and any objects projecting into the route must not reduce its width below this minimum.

  • Outdoor exit routes must:


    • run into the aforementioned height and width standards as indoor exit routes


    • incorporate guardrails on unenclosed sides if a fall hazard exists


    • be covered if snowfall or ice are probable to accumulate, unless the employer demonstrates that whatever accumulation will exist removed earlier information technology presents a slipping risk


    • be reasonably straight


    • have shine, solid, substantially level walkways


    • non take a expressionless-finish longer than 20 anxiety

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What operations and maintenance requirements utilize?

Operations and maintenance requirements to leave routes:

  • Minimize hazards to evacuating employees, including at least the following:

    • maintain exit routes costless and unobstructed

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

    • arrange exit routes and then employees will not have to travel toward a loftier chance surface area, unless that area is shielded from the exit route

    • exit admission must not become through a lockable room, nor pb to a dead-end corridor

    • provide stairs or ramps unless the road is “substantially level”

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

  • Provide adequate lighting and markings:

    • each exit road must exist adequately lighted and so an employee with normal vision can run into along the go out route

    • each exit must be conspicuously visible and marked with a sign reading “EXIT”

    • the discussion “Go out” must exist in evidently legible letters not less than 6 inches loftier, with principal strokes of the letters not less than ¾ inch broad

    • each exit sign must be illuminated to a surface value of at to the lowest degree 5 foot-candles (54 lux) and be distinctive in colour (self-luminous or electroluminescent signs must have a minimum luminance surface value of 0.06 footlamberts)

    • each get out route door must be complimentary of decorations or signs that obscure its visibility

    • if the appropriate direction of travel is non immediately credible, provide signs that clearly indicate it; the line of sight to all signs must be conspicuously visible

    • each doorway or passage along an go out route that is non an exit and could be mistaken for an exit must be clearly marked “Non AN EXIT” or similar identification

  • Maintain fire retardant paints and solutions to ensure they retain their fire retardant backdrop.

  • Maintain acceptable go out routes during constructions, repairs and alterations

  • Unless employees can “promptly see or smell a burn or other hazard in time to provide adequate warning,” install and maintain an operable employee alarm system.

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What happens now?

Employers should review their leave routes. This is particularly of import if onsite personnel accept reconfigured workspaces without explicit attention to these continuing requirements, or if workplaces storage and hygiene requirements are not strictly enforced to ensure that all doors and routes remain accessible and free of ongoing accumulations of materials.


Self-Assessment Checklist

Does my organization include indoor workplaces where employees may be field of study to fires, or other incidents (from chemical releases to workplace violence) that may require evacuations?

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

Does the organization have constructive policies to train employees to identify and use get out routes, and how to recognize situations that may crave evacuation?

Does the arrangement have effective policies to maintain the structural integrity, identification, and accessibility of all exit routes?


Where Can I Go For More Information?

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

• OSHA etool “Blueprint and Construction Requirements for Exit Routes





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About the Writer

Jon Elliott is President ofTouchstone Environmental and has been a major correspondent to STP’s production range for over 30 years.

Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In add-on to his Juris Doctor (University of California, Boalt Hall School of Police force, 1981), he holds a Master of Public Policy (Goldman School of Public Policy [GSPP], UC Berkeley, 1980), and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Princeton University, 1977).

Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, he is a by chairman of the Board of Directors of the GSPP Alumni Clan, and past member of the Executive Commission of the State Bar of California’south Ecology Law Section (including by chair of its Legislative Committee).

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You may contact Mr. Elliott directly at: [email protected]

Tags: OSHA, ADA, Exit Routes Standard

What Requirements Must Exit Routes Meet

Source: https://blog.stpub.com/osha-requirements-for-workplaces-exit-routes