Medical and dental offices must follow the Exit Routes Standard. OSHA established this standard to provide safe and accessible building exits in case of fire and emergencies.
Here is a sample checklist to help you comply with the Exit Routes Standard:
Exit Routes Standard Checklist
Exit routes and exits clearly marked
Exit signs illuminated
Used easy-to-read letters at least 6 inches high for exit signs
Used highly visible color and design for exit signs
Cleared all obstructions leading to exits
Removed mirrors, furnishings and decorations from all exits
Designed exit routes properly so people in all parts of the building easily see the direction of escape
Exit routes designed not to lead to a bathroom or any room capable of being locked
Exit routes designed not to lead to a hazardous area
Exit routes designed to open directly to the street, yard, court or other open space
Made sure exit routes are unlocked, and can be opened without using keys, tools or special knowledge (panic bar that locks on the outside is permitted on exit discharge doors)
Installed adequate lighting in exit routes
Installed side hinges and swinging panels on exit doors, designed to swing out in direction of exit travel
The space the exit discharges to is clear and free from obstruction to accommodate all people and make exiting safe
Ceiling of exit routes must be at least 7 feet 6 inches (2.3 meters) high
Projection from the ceiling does not reach a point less than six feet eight inches (2.0 m) from the floor
Exit access at least 28 inches (71.1 cm) wide at all points
Outdoor exit routes are constructed straight and have smooth, solid and level walkways
Guardrails to protect unenclosed sides of outdoor exit routes
According to OSHA, this guide only provides the minimum set of standards that address frequently found hazards in medical and dental offices. Many other standards still apply, and it is the employer’s responsibility to follow up and obtain full texts of OSHA standards. All workplaces must display the OSHA poster in places where workers will see it.
All standards are available on the OSHA website (www.osha.gov) or by calling toll-free number (800) 321-OSHA (6472).