Exit routes: Where danger (and fines) lurk

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in Centerpiece,HR Management,Human Resources

exit signDuring a fire or other emergency, the difference between escape and injury or death can sometimes be measured in seconds. That’s why all employers must comply with OSHA’s requirement for exit routes in the workplace.

Recently, OSHA cited retailer HomeGoods for 16 alleged violations of workplace safety standards. The retailer faced a total of $233,500 in proposed fines, chiefly for exit access, fire and crushing hazards at its Commack, N.Y., store.

Here are some key areas to double-check in your workplace:

  • Keep the line-of-sight to exit signs always clearly visible, and remove decorations or signs that obscure visibility of exit route doors.
  • Ensure that exit routes are free and unobstructed by materials, equipment, locked doors or dead-end corridors.
  • Provide lighting for exit routes adequate for employees with normal vision.
  • Mark doors or passages that could be mistaken for an exit “Not an Exit” or with a sign identifying its use (e.g., “Closet.”)

A comprehensive OSHA fact sheet is available for free download.

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