Exit Routes At Work

Emergency Exit Sign

Exit route violations are very common in OSHA inspections. Make access to unobstructed, well marked workplace exit routes a priority. We detail the finer points of exit routes in this podcast.

We discuss the three parts to an exit route: exit access, the exit itself, and exit discharge.

Hear about OSHA’s requirements for adequate lighting, visual signage, certain height and width dimensions and much more for good safety housekeeping.


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Dan Clark: We’ve all seen the map of the exit routes on the back of a hotel room door. We need them at work too.


Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

OSHA throws the book at many employers for not doing one of the basics, maintaining proper exit routes. Company owners should understand the requirements of exit routes, but so should workers.

What’s an exit route?

OSHA says “A continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within the workplace to a place of safety.”

Exit routes have three parts:

  • Exit Access – such as a door.
  • The Exit itself – such as a hall way.
  • Exit Discharge – a safe area such as a street or parking lot.

Basic exit route design features:

  • They’re permanent. And in most workplaces there should be at least two of them in case one is blocked. More may be necessary depending on the size of your location
  • Doors to exits must be self-closing fire doors.
  • Exit doors must be unlocked so you can open them from the inside.
  • Exit routes must be 7 1/2 feet tall and an exit access must be at least 28 inches wide.

Safety features of exit routes:

  • Exit routes must be unobstructed. This is a very common violation.
Flammable things such as curtains or other decor should not be placed near exit routes.
  • Exit doors should not have decorations.
  • Exit routes should be well lit.
  • Exit doors must have exit signs.
  • Other signs should point people toward exits that aren’t easily visible.
  • Any doors that are located near exits, but are not exits, should be marked “Not An Exit”

If workers see these requirements aren’t being met, they should ask managers about them.

OSHA often cites employers for things such as obstructed exit routes, inadequate exit lighting, lack of signage, and others because these oversights create big safety hazards.

That’s it for this episode on Exit Routes At Work. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at creativesafetysupply.com


Click here to know how to check your doors looks.

See an OSHA exit route fact sheet.

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