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Understanding the importance of emergency exit routes

Posted by admin on April 25, 2013

One of the most effective ways to ensure that your workplace is safe is to have a well-thought out crisis management plan in place. Part of this means taking the time to identify all emergency exit routes. To help keep you and your workers out of harm's way, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created a fact sheet that will allow you to learn more about these important means of egress.

 What is an emergency exit route?

Sign of emergency exit in a Chinese airport

OSHA defines an emergency exit route as a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety.

What are the three parts of an exit route?

  1. Exit access - The portion of the route that leads to an exit. OSHA requires that an exit access must be at least 28 inches wide at all points.
  2. Exit - The exit is generally separated from other areas to provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge.
  3. Exit discharge - Leads directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the outside.

People escape to fire exit door

How many exit routes does a workplace need to have?

In most cases, OSHA mandates there be at least two emergency exit routes. However, more may be required depending on the number of employees and size of the building. The only exception to this rule applies to smaller businesses where individuals can exit safely in the event of an emergency. In these cases, one route may be acceptable. As an employer, it's your job to make sure that you adhere to federal regulations and base the number of routes in place on the size of your company.

Clipboard with Emergency Evacuation Plan beside Exit Door

What businesses are required to have emergency plans?

In the event that you have less than 10 workers, your plan may be conveyed orally to everyone. Businesses with more than 10 employees must have this plan in writing.

Don't put your workers in danger. Keep them out of harm's way by downloading IndustrySafe's mobile app. This safety software can help ensure compliance with OSHA by allowing you to easily conduct inspections on your emergency exit routes and is compatible with iOS and Android devices. For more information, contact us

Tags: Safety Management

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