Knowing how and when to exit a building is critical in an emergency situation. All employees should be properly trained on emergency exit procedures, and evacuations should be routinely practiced.
A successful evacuation is dependent on having reliable exit routes. OSHA requires every workplace to have at least two emergency exits, or more depending on the size of the facility or workforce. Maintaining the safety of these exit routes should be of the utmost importance.
To keep exit routes safe, OSHA advises:
- Keep exit routes free of all clutter, equipment, locked doors and dead-end corridors.
- Be sure to keep highly flammable furnishings and decorations at a safe distance from emergency exits.
- Arrange exit routes so employees will not have to travel past high-hazard areas unless absolutely necessary.
- Post signs along the walls indicating safe evacuation routes and be sure paths are well-lit.
- Clearly label doors that can be mistaken for an exit with a sign reading “Not an exit” or indicating the room’s use, such as “Closet.”
- Renew fire-retardant paints and solutions when needed.
- Maintain safe exit routes during construction, maintenance and repairs.