Exits and Exit Routes

Exits and Exit Routes


An exit is: the part of the exit route that is a way out of the workplace. A workplace must have two or more exit routes, depending on the number of people involved and the layout and size of the work area. These exit routes must be permanent and always unobstructed.

The following are safety guidelines for exit and exit route safety:

  • Exit doors must open from inside without keys, tools, or special knowledge.
  • Exit doors must open outwards.
  • Exit doors must not be revolving or sliding.
  • Exit doors must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Exit routes must have adequate emergency lighting.
  • Line of sight to an exit sign must be clear.
  • Each exit must have a distinctive sign that says “Exit” marked in letters that are at least 6 inches height with a ¾ inch stroke width.
  • Exit doors must have no signs or furnishings that obscure their visibility.
  • Mark a door with a sign saying “Not an Exit” or other appropriate signs in case it may be mistaken for an exit door.
  • Every exit route must be free of highly flammable furnishings, decorations, and other materials.
  • An exit must lead directly outside or to a walkway, street, refuge area or open space with access outdoors. The space it leads to must be large enough to accommodate all building occupants.
  • Exit routes must not pass through or into dead ends or lockable rooms.
  • Every exit route must be able to handle the maximum occupant load for each floor it serves.
  • An exit route must not decrease in size toward the exit.
  • An exit route must be at least 6 feet, 8 inches high at all points and 28 inches wide at all points between handrails.

It’s important that you prepare emergency plans that show exit routes employees must use in different work areas. Plans must also give instructions about procedures that employees must follow during an emergency.


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