The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established regulations concerning the Means of Egress in Part 1910, Subpart E of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards. These standards require employers to provide a safe working environment for their employees (OSHA, 2002).
In Standard Number 1910.38, employers are required to have a written emergency action plan in companies with more than ten employees and this plan must be kept available for review in the workplace. In companies with ten or less employees, an employer can have an oral emergency action plan. There are several requirements for the emergency action plan. It must have procedures on reporting of emergencies and fires, evacuation, method to account for all employees after an evacuation, medical and rescue instructions, and critical duties needed to be performed by employees before evacuation. This Standard also requires employers to maintain an employee alarm system with different signals for different types of emergencies. Employers must train employees on all of these aspects of the emergency action plan with new employees, employees with changes in job responsibilities, and anytime the plan changes (OSHA, 2002a).
In Standard Number 1910.39, employers are required to have a written fire prevention plan in companies with more than ten employees and an oral plan in companies with ten or less employees. The written fire prevention plan must be kept in the workplace and available for review by the employees at anytime. The minimum requirements of the fire prevention plan include a list of all major fire hazards and potential ignition sources as well as procedures for the proper handling of hazardous materials and fire protection equipment. The plan must also include maintenance of safeguards of heat-producing equipment and procedures for minimizing the accumulation of combustible and flammable materials. The employer must also have a list of employees responsible for the maintenance and control of fuel source hazards and fire prevention equipment. Employees must be informed of the fire hazards they will be exposed to upon initial assignment to that job. Employers must also review these with the employee as necessary for self-protection (OSHA, 2002b).
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2002a). Occupational Safety and Health Standards: Means of Egress – Emergency Action Plans (29 CFR, Subpart E, Standard Number 1910.38). Retrieved from http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=9726&p_table=STANDARDS
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2002b). Occupational Safety and Health Standards: Means of Egress – Fire Prevention Plans (29 CFR, Subpart E, Standard Number 1910.39). Retrieved from http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=12887