According to the latest government regulations it has become mandatory for all businesses to have appropriately worded and designed fire exit signs at all relevant points. Failure to comply with the legal norms shall result in heavy fines, legal action or confiscation of licenses. The rules are applicable to businesses falling under the micro sector that is home run businesses too. If you are a small business owner here are a few tips on the rules you are supposed to adhere to.
What do OSHA regulations say?
You would be better off if you follow the OSHA regulations as applicable to your local environment. Clear the exit area of all kinds of visual decorations which can interfere with the visibility of the fire exit signs. Make sure that all accesses to the exit points are marked with the words “fire exit”. Any door, passage, stair case or other connecting access area must be marked with unidirectional arrows and exit signs.
Any door or passage way which has the potential of being mistaken as an exit must be marked with the words “not an exit”. In fact it’s best to give proper names like “conference room”, “Control room”, “machine room” to all doors so that confusion can be minimised at times of emergency.
Requirements of appropriate signage
All the signage you use for fire exit signs cannot be chosen, designed and displaced at random. Check for the latest specifications but you can use following information as a broad guideline. The letters saying the words “fire exit” should be bigger than 6 inches. The strokes of the letter should be wider than ¾ inches.
If the exit point isn’t immediately obvious then the connecting passageway should be appropriately marked. As a small business owner you can take the initiative of training and sensitising your work force to the appropriate course of action required at the time of fire emergency.
The definition of an exit point
As a small business owner you must have experienced some confusion over what a fire exit point actually means. OSHA, NFPA and other leading international fire safety organisations have come together to present a three point definition of a fire exit point.
According to the specifications a fire exit point can be divided into three broad areas; access, exit and discharge. An access is the area of the fire exit that leads or connects up to it.
A good example is a door or a passageway. The “exit” is a path which offers some level of protection to the building occupants and leads straight up to the discharge. The “discharge” is the point which connects the building to the outside environment. The discharge is the last connection between the building and the outside world.
As a small business owner it’s important that you get a professional fire audit done in your business premises so that all exit points are identified. Remember that it’s your duty and responsibility to protect your employees and keep them safe from hazards like fires.