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OSHA Targets Exit Routes: Are You At Risk?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Ahern Employee

October is Fire Prevention Month, which sheds a welcome spotlight on fire safety in the media and throughout your community. Unfortunately, a recent tragedy has also brought attention to the importance of proper fire-related procedures. This past June, 120 employees in a poultry processing plant in China died when a fire broke out and they were unable to escape due to blocked or locked exits.

This incident drew attention from OSHA, which has since issued an enforcement memorandum that directs inspectors to scrutinize whether or not employers provide and sustain an adequate means for exiting a facility.

With this potential OSHA scrutiny in mind, take a good look at your facility’s means of egress and keep a few things in mind:

  • Are your paths of egress free from flammable or hazardous materials?
  • Are your pathways blocked with product or staged items that do not allow easy access?
  • Examine the entire path of egress. Are all paths and aisles free from potential obstructions?
  • Are your exit doors conspicuous?
  • Do you understand code requirements for locked doors that are considered an exit from your facility to the outside?
  • Do you have the proper labels to mark your exits and pathways?
  • Did you know that if you have a pathway or door that is NOT an exit you have to mark it as such “NOT AN EXIT?” These would be places like store rooms, closets, office, etc..
  • Do you realize that an employer must determine how many exit routes are in a building?
  • Did you know that OSHA fines can range from $2,000 all the way up to $70,000 if there are repeated violations?

Click here to request a copy of OSHA’s Fact Sheet regarding Exits & Egresses

It’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes a tragedy to bring attention to safety issues, but perhaps this OSHA initiative will avoid tragedy or fines down the road. And regardless of any OSHA mandate, having a safe means of egress is a crucial part of a fire safety plan for any building – whether it’s your business or your home.

Worried about your facility’s fire safety? Ahern can help!
Just within the last year, Ahern’s service technicians provided life safety inspections to over 16,000 facilities. These inspections included fire extinguishers, kitchen systems, dry chemical systems, emergency lighting, fire alarm testing, and fire/smoke damper testing.

We install, inspect, and service emergency lighting that meets NFPA 101 Life Safety and OSHA 29 requirements. Our service technicians average over 15 years of industry experience, and they are ready to go to work for you! For more information, please contact Ahern Sales Consultant Andy Mladenovich at amladenovich@jfahern.com.

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