In this article, the team of qualified electricians at Powertec Electric explains the places where emergency lighting is required. Under 29 CFR (Code of Federal Regulation) 1910.34(c) OSHA defines ‘an exit route’ as, ‘an unobstructed and continuous exit travel path from any point inside a workplace to an area of safety (which includes refuge spaces).’ An exit route involves all horizontal and vertical areas alongside the route and is comprised of three parts:
- Exit Access signifies that part of an exit route that leads to an exit. One instance of an exit access includes a corridor on the 5th floor of an office building which leads to a 2-hour fire-resistance-rated enclosed stairway (Exit).
- Exit means part of the exit route that’s usually separated from additional spaces to offer a protected means of travel to an exit discharge. One instance of an exit is a 2-hour fire-resistance-rated enclosed Exit Discharge means the part of the exit route that directly leads outside or to a walkway, street, public way, refuge area, or open space that has access to the outside. One instance of an exit discharged stairway leading from the 5th floor of an office building to the building’s exterior.
- includes a door at the bottom of a 2-hour fire-resistance-rated enclosed stairway that discharges to an area of safety outside a building.
Requirements for marking and lighting exit routes from OSHA are covered underneath 1910.37(b). It says that every exit route has to be appropriately lighted in order that an employee who has normal vision may see alongside the exit route and every exit has to be visible and marked using a sign that reads “Exit.” Extra requirements involve these:
- Every exit route door has to be free from decorations or signs obscuring the exit route door’s visibility.
- If the travel direction to the exit or exit discharge isn’t readily apparent, signs have to be posted alongside the exit access which indicates the travel direction to the closest exit discharge and exit. Also, the line-of-sight to the exit sign has to be clearly visible at all times.
- Every passage or doorway alongside the exit access which might be mistaken for the exit has to be marked “Not an Exit” or likewise designation or be identified by a sign that indicates its actual use.
- Every exit sign has to be illuminated to a surface value of a minimum of 54 lux (5 foot-candles) by a reliable source of light and be distinctive in color. Electroluminescent or self-luminous signs with a minimum luminance surface value of .06-foot-lamberts are allowed.
- Every exit sign has to contain the term “Exit” in legible letters that aren’t less than 15.2 cm (6”) high, with the principal letter strokes in the term “Exit” not less than 1.9 cm (3/4”) in width.
OSHA makes reference to their acceptance of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) emergency exit requirements underneath 1910.35, in which it states that employers following the exit route provisions of National Fire Protection Association 101, Life Safety Code, meet requirements from OSHA.