Design and construction requirements for exit routes.
(a) Basic requirements.
Exit routes must meet the following design and construction requirements:
(1) An exit route must be permanent.
Each exit route must be a permanent part of the workplace.
(2) An exit must be separated by fire resistant materials.
Construction materials used to separate an exit from other parts of the workplace must have a one-hour fire resistance-rating if the exit connects three or fewer stories and a two-hour fire resistance-rating if the exit connects four or more stories.
(3) Openings into an exit must be limited.
An exit is permitted to have only those openings necessary to allow access to the exit from occupied areas of the workplace, or to the exit discharge. An opening into an exit must be protected by a self-closing fire door that remains closed or automatically closes in an emergency upon the sounding of a fire alarm or employee alarm system. Each fire door, including its frame and hardware, must be listed or approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Section 1910.155(c)(3)(iv)(A) of this part defines “listed” and § 1910.7 of this part defines a “nationally recognized testing laboratory.”
(b) The number of exit routes must be adequate—
(1) Two exit routes.
At least two exit routes must be available in a workplace to permit prompt evacuation of employees and other building occupants during an emergency, except as allowed in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. The exit routes must be located as far away as practical from each other so that if one exit route is blocked by fire or smoke, employees can evacuate using the second exit route.
(2) More than two exit routes.
More than two exit routes must be available in a workplace if the number of employees, the size of the building, its occupancy, or the arrangement of the workplace is such that all employees would not be able to evacuate safely during an emergency.
(3) A single exit route.
A single exit route is permitted where the number of employees, the size of the building, its occupancy, or the arrangement of the workplace is such that all employees would be able to evacuate safely during an emergency.
Note to paragraph 1910.36(b):
For assistance in determining the number of exit routes necessary for your workplace, consult NFPA 101-2000, Life Safety Code.
(c) Exit discharge.
Each exit discharge must lead directly outside or to a street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the outside.
The street, walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space to which an exit discharge leads must be large enough to accommodate the building occupants likely to use the exit route.
Exit stairs that continue beyond the level on which the exit discharge is located must be interrupted at that level by doors, partitions, or other effective means that clearly indicate the direction of travel leading to the exit discharge.
(d) An exit door must be unlocked.
Employees must be able to open an exit route door from the inside at all times without keys, tools, or special knowledge. A device such as a panic bar that locks only from the outside is permitted on exit discharge doors.
Exit route doors must be free of any device or alarm that could restrict emergency use of the exit route if the device or alarm fails.
An exit route door may be locked from the inside only in mental, penal, or correctional facilities and then only if supervisory personnel are continuously on duty and the employer has a plan to remove occupants from the facility during an emergency.
(e) A side-hinged exit door must be used.
A side-hinged door must be used to connect any room to an exit route.
The door that connects any room to an exit route must swing out in the direction of exit travel if the room is designed to be occupied by more than 50 people or if the room is a high hazard area (i.e., contains contents that are likely to burn with extreme rapidity or explode).
(f) The capacity of an exit route must be adequate.
Exit routes must support the maximum permitted occupant load for each floor served.
The capacity of an exit route may not decrease in the direction of exit route travel to the exit discharge.
Note to paragraph 1910.36(f):
Information regarding “Occupant load” is located in NFPA 101-2000, Life Safety Code.
(g) An exit route must meet minimum height and width requirements.
The ceiling of an exit route must be at least seven feet six inches (2.3 m) high. Any projection from the ceiling must not reach a point less than six feet eight inches (2.0 m) from the floor.
An exit access must be at least 28 inches (71.1 cm) wide at all points. Where there is only one exit access leading to an exit or exit discharge, the width of the exit and exit discharge must be at least equal to the width of the exit access.
The width of an exit route must be sufficient to accommodate the maximum permitted occupant load of each floor served by the exit route.
Objects that project into the exit route must not reduce the width of the exit route to less than the minimum width requirements for exit routes.
(h) An outdoor exit route is permitted.
Each outdoor exit route must meet the minimum height and width requirements for indoor exit routes and must also meet the following requirements:
The outdoor exit route must have guardrails to protect unenclosed sides if a fall hazard exists;
The outdoor exit route must be covered if snow or ice is likely to accumulate along the route, unless the employer can demonstrate that any snow or ice accumulation will be removed before it presents a slipping hazard;
The outdoor exit route must be reasonably straight and have smooth, solid, substantially level walkways; and
The outdoor exit route must not have a dead-end that is longer than 20 feet (6.2 m).
[67 FR 67961, Nov. 7, 2002]
Effective Date Note:
At 76 FR 33606, June 8, 2011, § 1910.36 was amended by revising the notes to paragraphs (b) and (f), effective July 8, 2011. For the convenience of the user, the revised text is set forth as follows:
Pt. 1910, Subpt. E, App.
Appendix to Subpart E of Part 1910
—Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans
This appendix serves as a nonmandatory guideline to assist employers in complying with the appropriate requirements of subpart E.
1. Emergency action plan elements. The emergency action plan should address emergencies that the employer may reasonably expect in the workplace. Examples are: fire; toxic chemical releases; hurricanes; tornadoes; blizzards; floods; and others. The elements of the emergency action plan presented in paragraph 1910.38(c) can be supplemented by the following to more effectively achieve employee safety and health in an emergency. The employer should list in detail the procedures to be taken by those employees who have been selected to remain behind to care for essential plant operations until their evacuation becomes absolutely necessary. Essential plant operations may include the monitoring of plant power supplies, water supplies, and other essential services which cannot be shut down for every emergency alarm. Essential plant operations may also include chemical or manufacturing processes which must be shut down in stages or steps where certain employees must be present to assure that safe shut down procedures are completed.
The use of floor plans or workplace maps which clearly show the emergency escape routes should be included in the emergency action plan. Color coding will aid employees in determining their route assignments.
The employer should also develop and explain in detail what rescue and medical first aid duties are to be performed and by whom. All employees are to be told what actions they are to take in these emergency situations that the employer anticipates may occur in the workplace.
2. Emergency evacuation. At the time of an emergency, employees should know what type of evacuation is necessary and what their role is in carrying out the plan. In some cases where the emergency is very grave, total and immediate evacuation of all employees is necessary. In other emergencies, a partial evacuation of nonessential employees with a delayed evacuation of others may be necessary for continued plant operation. In some cases, only those employees in the immediate area of the fire may be expected to evacuate or move to a safe area such as when a local application fire suppression system discharge employee alarm is sounded. Employees must be sure that they know what is expected of them in all such emergency possibilities which have been planned in order to provide assurance of their safety from fire or other emergency.
The designation of refuge or safe areas for evacuation should be determined and identified in the plan. In a building divided into fire zones by fire walls, the refuge area may still be within the same building but in a different zone from where the emergency occurs.
Exterior refuge or safe areas may include parking lots, open fields or streets which are located away from the site of the emergency and which provide sufficient space to accommodate the employees. Employees should be instructed to move away from the exit discharge doors of the building, and to avoid congregating close to the building where they may hamper emergency operations.
3. Emergency action plan training. The employer should assure that an adequate number of employees are available at all times during working hours to act as evacuation wardens so that employees can be swiftly moved from the danger location to the safe areas. Generally, one warden for each twenty employees in the workplace should be able to provide adequate guidance and instruction at the time of a fire emergency. The employees selected or who volunteer to serve as wardens should be trained in the complete workplace layout and the various alternative escape routes from the workplace. All wardens and fellow employees should be made aware of handicapped employees who may need extra assistance, such as using the buddy system, and of hazardous areas to be avoided during emergencies. Before leaving, wardens should check rooms and other enclosed spaces in the workplace for employees who may be trapped or otherwise unable to evacuate the area.
After the desired degree of evacuation is completed, the wardens should be able to account for or otherwise verify that all employees are in the safe areas.
In buildings with several places of employment, employers are encouraged to coordinate their plans with the other employers in the building. A building-wide or standardized plan for the whole building is acceptable provided that the employers inform their respective employees of their duties and responsibilities under the plan. The standardized plan need not be kept by each employer in the multi-employer building, provided there is an accessible location within the building where the plan can be reviewed by affected employees. When multi-employer building-wide plans are not feasible, employers should coordinate their plans with the other employers within the building to assure that conflicts and confusion are avoided during times of emergencies. In multi-story buildings where more than one employer is on a single floor, it is essential that these employers coordinate their plans with each other to avoid conflicts and confusion.
4. Fire prevention housekeeping. The standard calls for the control of accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials.
It is the intent of this standard to assure that hazardous accumulations of combustible waste materials are controlled so that a fast developing fire, rapid spread of toxic smoke, or an explosion will not occur. This does not necessarily mean that each room has to be swept each day. Employers and employees should be aware of the hazardous properties of materials in their workplaces, and the degree of hazard each poses. Certainly oil soaked rags have to be treated differently than general paper trash in office areas. However, large accumulations of waste paper or corrugated boxes, etc., can pose a significant fire hazard. Accumulations of materials which can cause large fires or generate dense smoke that are easily ignited or may start from spontaneous combustion, are the types of materials with which this standard is concerned. Such combustible materials may be easily ignited by matches, welder's sparks, cigarettes and similar low level energy ignition sources.
5. Maintenance of equipment under the fire prevention plan. Certain equipment is often installed in workplaces to control heat sources or to detect fuel leaks. An example is a temperature limit switch often found on deep-fat food fryers found in restaurants. There may be similar switches for high temperature dip tanks, or flame failure and flashback arrester devices on furnaces and similar heat producing equipment. If these devices are not properly maintained or if they become inoperative, a definite fire hazard exists. Again employees and supervisors should be aware of the specific type of control devices on equipment involved with combustible materials in the workplace and should make sure, through periodic inspection or testing, that these controls are operable. Manufacturers' recommendations should be followed to assure proper maintenance procedures.
[45 FR 60714, Sept. 12, 1980]
Code of Federal Regulations
- Page 155
Design and construction requirements for exit routes.
Note to paragraph (b) of this section:
For assistance in determining the number of exit routes necessary for your workplace, consult NFPA 101-2009, Life Safety Code, or IFC-2009, International Fire Code (incorporated by reference, see § 1910.6
Note to paragraph (f) of this section:
Information regarding the “Occupant load” is located in NFPA 101-2009, Life Safety Code, and in IFC-2009, International Fire Code (incorporated by reference, see § 1910.6