OSHA Citations Highlight Necessity of Evacuation Routes

Can residents escape your facility quickly?

June 13, 2019

As a facility manager, part of your responsibility in keeping building residents safe is to make sure emergency doors are operational and emergency routes are clear. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited an Omaha, Neb. Family Dollar Store for blocking an exit route, proposing fines of US$302,147.

“In an emergency, store employees and customers must be able to leave quickly without having to navigate through obstructed exit routes,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA area director in Omaha. “These safety hazards need to be corrected to save lives.”

The OSHA inspection also found the retailer failed to keep exit doors unlocked, did not secure compressed gas cylinders, and did not follow manufacturer’s instructions when using an electrical apparatus.

Training employees to recognized hazards, such as blocked routes, and teaching them to change their actions, such as not leaving equipment in a pathway, is an important part of instilling a safety culture in your organization. The nature of cleaning, maintenance, and restoration jobs can result in hazardous facility conditions, such as wet and slippery floors, collapsing ceilings, biological hazards, and electric shock risks. OSHA requires all employers to perform a hazard assessment by a qualified person.

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